Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hubcap Grill - Handmade Burgers in Downtown Houston

Update: We visited Hubcap again, and now we understand what everyone's cheering about.

We'd heard outstanding things about the burger at Hubcap Grill, so we dropped by for lunch during the week. We'd seen the tiny little spot, with the outdoor seating area in a converted alley between two buildings, next door to the Alden (nee Sam Houston) Hotel. We parked across the street and went inside.

The place was busy but not packed. We ordered quickly at the counter and got a small surprise: Cash only. It's the 21st century, folks - if you're running a restaurant, get a credit card machine. Fortunately we had a bit of cash on hand, so the potential crisis was averted.

After a short wait, our burgers were delivered. The burger is a third pound beef patty, hand formed and griddled fairly flat. It was topped with a large slice of American cheese, about five strips of bacon, and fresh veggies. The bun was thoroughly toasted.

Our experience differs from most of the other reviews. The beef was fresh and flavorful, but it was cooked well done and was far too dry. The all-important ooze factor was absent. The generous amount of bacon was crisp to a fault; it was hard and crumbly, and the flavor had been cooked out of it.

There is potential for a great burger here, but it's going to require a more deft touch on the grill. We'll probably give Hubcap Grill another shot at some point, but we won't be rushing back.

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