Graze Anatomy.

February 22, 2011 § 5 Comments

First of all,  I would like to apologize for my brief departure from this blog. It’s funny, this whole college thing keeps you busy, what with classes and homework and miscellaneous obligations. Don’t my professors know I have burgers to be eating?

And secondly, I would like to just tell those of you who read my blog and then mention it to me in person how much I appreciate you. Nothing makes my day like someone stopping me in class or around campus and telling me how much they enjoy this blog and how there’s an amazing burger somewhere that I simply must try. I don’t think I like hearing anything more than someone telling me they want to go on a “Bun Voyage” with me.

But without further ado, my fellow burger voyagers, let’s get down to business, shall we? And be prepared, this is a longer post than normal, but there was so much burger action going on this time, I had to include it all.

So I finally went to Graze.

Graze has received a lot of hype since it opened some time last year, and I had only heard good things about the restaurant before I went. For a restaurant that specializes in burgers, it only makes sense they would make a good one. Although to be honest, I had no idea what to expect, so like the good college student I am, I did my homework and went to their website.

Under the tab for Specialties, one can locate Graze’s full burger menu. And with the colorful pictures and thorough descriptions of each burger, I already knew what I would get at the restaurant before we even got in the car.

It was with a small entourage of five that I arrived to Graze one night for dinner. Walking into the restaurant, we sat ourselves at one of the long booths and waited for our waitress to hand us menus. The inside of Graze is minimally decorated, but with bright green walls that bring to mind a sort of fresh and clean atmosphere.

(Also, I would just to take a moment to credit my roommate Ashley, once again, for the title of this entry. Although this restaurant has nothing in common with Grey’s Anatomy whatsoever, I just can’t resist a good pun, and Ashley is the master of all things punny. So kudos to you, my clever friend.)

As we perused the very extensive menu at Graze, I couldn’t help but to be impressed with their variety, not just in toppings, but in types of burgers offered. Your everyday beef burger is available, but why get beef when you can get a burger made out of lamb, tuna, bison, fried mozzarella, duck or alligator? And you might be used to lettuce and tomato on your burger, but why not branch out and try crispy onions, golden raisins, goat cheese or fried plantains?

With that mentality, everyone at our table ordered something different, that way to have the full Graze “experience.” An important note about Graze’s burgers: the burgers are only about 3 oz., which is just bigger than your average slider, but smaller than a Krystal burger (although I wouldn’t know personally because I’ve never eaten one…they just look bigger than 3 oz. in advertisements). So since none of us would be full after one 3 oz. burger, we all got at least two, some of us three.

I got the Asian Ahi burger, with sesame-encrusted Ahi tuna, a tangy Asian slaw, creamy cucumber-wasabi dressing, and a splash of soy sauce. My other choice was the Go West burger, a bison burger piled high with cheddar cheese, bacon, fried onion rings and horseradish sauce.

Asian Ahi burger and Go West burger.

My burgers were both very good, although not quite as good as I was expecting. The toppings on the Asian Ahi burger were fantastic, with the Asian slaw giving a nice tang and a fresh crunch to the tuna, but the tuna itself was a little tough which made it difficult to eat in burger form. The bison burger was better, with the fried onion ring adding a great, salty crunch to this little burger. The bison was a little dry, but with a patty so small, and with bison being much leaner than beef anyway, it wouldn’t be hard to overcook it in only a few quick seconds.

My friend Aly went the non-meat route and ordered the Falafel of Arabia burger, a falafel burger served with sprouts, sliced cucumbers and red onions and a spread of tangy hummus. She also ordered the least burger-y “burger” on the menu, the Pepperoni Pizza burger, with fried mozzarella topped with marinara sauce, sliced pepperoni and a sprinkling of oregano.

Pepperoni Pizza burger and Falafel of Arabia burger.

To be honest, I was a little skeptical of these burgers before she ordered them, but I have to say, they were among two of my favorites that night. The falafel burger was wonderful, one of the best falafels I’ve ever had, with a smooth creaminess on the inside and a satisfying salty, crunchy exterior. The toppings were fresh and the perfect accompaniment to the falafel. And wouldn’t you know it, the Pepperoni Pizza burger was very tasty too. It was very much like eating a piece of cheesy bread, complete with marinara sauce and pepperoni. If a piece of pizza were to be combined with Sonic’s mozzarella sticks, this would be the result.

When it came to Courtney’s burger choices, she too chose the Asian Ahi burger, but she also chose to design her own fun-sized burger. She ordered a turkey burger with herbed goat cheese, sauteed mushrooms, lettuce and a fried onion ring. A little unusual, but that’s the best thing about Graze: you can finally have the toppings of your dreams that you couldn’t get on your burger anywhere else.

Courtney's "Masterpiece" burger and the Asian Ahi burger.

I’ve gotta give Courtney credit, because this particular combination of toppings seems a little strange, but was actually pretty tasty. Again, the turkey was a little dry, but this is common with turkey burgers across the board. Turkey, and poultry in general, is just much leaner than red meat, and thus doesn’t make for the juiciest of burgers. But overall, still a good burger.

Celeste helped to expand our coverage of the specialty burger menu, with her Taco burger and the Knuckle Sandwich. The Taco burger offers the choice of beef, chicken, turkey or pork (Celste got beef), and is topped with Mexican-style shredded cheese, salsa, taco sauce and shredded lettuce. The Knuckle Sandwich was a close contender when I was ordering my burgers, but Celeste promised I could try some of hers. The Knuckle Sandwich is a chicken burger doused in spicy buffalo sauce, topped with a ranch slaw and blue cheese crumbles.

The Knuckle Sandwich and the Taco burger.

The Taco burger wasn’t particularly special, with the meat being dry once again. However, the Knuckle Sandwich was delicious. The spicy buffalo sauce on the chicken burger was cooled down with the crunchy slaw tossed in Ranch dressing, and the blue cheese added the perfect buttery texture and salty tang.

Ethan, our token boy on this largely female burger excursion, stepped up to the plate and ordered three burgers: the Southwestern Black Bean burger, the Knuckle Sandwich, and the Gator Hater. The Southwestern Black Bean burger was served with a homemade black bean patty and topped with avocado, sprouts, fresh salsa and melted Pepper Jack cheese. You all remember the Knuckle Sandwich, but the real excitement came from the Gator Hater. That’s right, folks, a hamburger made out of Cajun-rubbed alligator meat and topped with crunchy onions, jalapeños, and ancho chipotle sauce.

The Southwestern Black Bean burger, the Gator Hater and the Knuckle Sandwich.

Ethan’s Knuckle Sandwich was just as delicious as Celeste’s, although the Southwestern Black Bean burger was a little disappointing. The black bean patty itself didn’t have much flavor, and fell apart within a few minutes. The most exciting burger was easily the Gator Hater, and if you have ever heard that alligator tastes a bit like chicken, you’re absolutely right. It has a mild flavor that easily picks up whatever is on it, which was the problem with this burger. Although it was really good, the strong flavors of the ancho chipotle sauce and the jalapeños dominated the flavor of the meat and you lost a little bit of what made this burger so unique.

After all of us finished our little burgers, we were much fuller than we thought we would be. Turns out two miniature burgers are just as filling as one regular sized one. And for my readers who have encouraged me to try burgers of all varieties, I’m glad I experienced so many non-beef burgers and found out just how good they are.

Quality of meat: 8.5
Although they had a wide variety of burgers, many of the ones made of meat were just a little too dry, which took a few points off.

Freshness of ingredients: 9.5
All of the vegetables served on the burgers were very fresh, and many of the toppings were homemade.

Presentation: 7
It’s hard to attractively present a little burger when you have such a small area to work with. Although they looked pretty without their buns on, some of them looked a little haphazard.

Creativity: 10
They won me over with the Gator Hater and the Pepperoni Pizza burger, not to mention the incredibly long list of unique toppings. They put things on burgers I didn’t even know were possible.

Overall rating: 9

If you would like to go on your own miniature burger excursion, you can find information for visiting or contacting Graze here:

Graze Burgers and Salads
Athens, GA 30601
(706) 543-5514
http://www.grazeburgers.com/

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