Burgers and…well, Burgers in Sherman Oaks.
I have a natural suspicion about Foodies.
Riiight, you say. The Foodie Food Blogger has suspicions about his fellow Foodies. How does that work?
Bear with me.
For some reason, Foodies are out there to collect food experiences, to collect bragging rights on some invisible scorecard. That’s why they go to the Afghan Restaurant. That’s why they go order Tripe or Sheep’s head every damn chance they get.
You may have noticed that I’m…well….not like that. I try to give things a try (within the normal bounds of food allergies and whatnot), but for me, a good meal is about the pleasure of the damn thing, and writing about it is “Damn I’m having a good time. I want other people to have a good time too.”
Which is why I still like visiting places like your average great American burger joint. Places that have “Bar and Grill” or “Tavern” in their names? Not every meal has to be a culinary revelation. Sometimes just serving up a hot dose of comfort and familiarity is good enough.
I’m sure that’s one of the reasons Blue Dog Beer Tavern scored high on the popularity scale on Urbanspoon. I mean, popular’s good, right? If people like a place, that means it has to be at least halfway good, right?
Of course, there was the commenter on Urbanspoon who labeled it “disappointing” in their review. I mean…it’s just one opinion right? How big of a deal can that be?
Turns out, a pretty big deal. It’s not that Blue Dog sucks it’s just that it’s…
You guessed it. Disappointing.
C’mon, I’m sure you’re asking me at this point, how can the great American Burger joint be disappointing. Well, it’s mostly because the food is nothing special to write home about. It’s the magical difference between eating your meal, and wondering when is the next time you can have this…and wondering when you can get the doggie bag, and get on with your day.
Surprise surprise. My experience was the latter.
Let’s get a couple of things clear. The Waitstaff was on point and super friendly. I was in the mood for loose and comfortable, and the mood inside was just that. Pitch perfect.
But the Waitstaff, the mood, and the ambiance can’t save what’s coming out of the kitchen, which is tremendously, awfully, hideously average. Move on. You and I can both do better.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: I got the Hum Must appetizer to start with, and…calling this an appetizer is just an insult to the English language. First off, it’s size is big enough to be it’s own meal. Second…
I live in Glendale now, surrounded by Armenian-Americans, surrounded by Mediterranean restaurants were Hummus is served on a regular basis. After all these years, I know what good hummus tastes like. This…was not that. This was closer to carpet paste that it was to hummus.
That’s not to say it tasted terrible. It’s the fact that it didn’t taste like anything. Nearly flavorless. And sensation or fleeting memory of flavor I got was form the warm pita chip that came with. To say this was disappointing is an understatement.
My main course was the Squealer, a burger with Applewood smoked bacon and caramelized onions, allegedly mixed into the beef. Funny thing is, l didn’t taste any of it. I felt the sensation of perfectly toasted bread. I saw a Tomato and Lettuce, and…well…that was about it. You spend the first couple of bites just…well…not believing its as flavorless as this, but…soon enough you find it to be true.
Finally, you get toward the center, where the modicum of blue cheese they’ve spread hangs. Funny thing is, Blue Cheese…is a briny cheese, very strong, assertive flavor. After a
bite that’s all I was tasting. I now realize why Chefs usually grill up some caramelized onions to go with this burger. The sweetness of those onions melds perfectly with the blue cheese created a wonderful texture and flavor. Here I got neither.
I couldn’t finish it. I boxed it up and took it away.
There are a number of beers on sale here, and maybe they’ll make the meal better. Who knows. It was a bit early in the day for me, and I was heading for Doctor’s Appointment…
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Ehhh, nothing really to be concerned about, outside the parking. Places like this were made not to have safety tips, mind you.
PARKING: Parking is…well, borderline. Blue Dog shares a narrow, L shaped lot with a number of other businesses, and its a crowded mess in there. You should be able to find a spot. If not…I don’t know what to tell you. The side streets were so choked full of cars that it’s going to be hard to find a spot there.
The real hard part was getting out. So imagine a oddly shaped, narrow parking lot, chock full of cars, and those cars trying to get out while other cars are just as insistent on getting in? A real doozy. Enough of a reason to stay away? No. The Burgers will do that.
Blue Dog Beer Tavern
4524 Saugus Ave.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Tel: (818) 990-2583
Monday-Friday: 11:30 am – 11:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm