Uneeda Burger: Quality burgers with lots of embellishments in Fremont
Uneeda Burger, housed in a retro-chic former Fremont garage, is an easygoing, friendly place serving standout signature burgers and other classic American sandwiches, along with fries, shakes, floats and even beer and wine.
Special to The Seattle Times
|Emmer veggie burger||$6.25|
4302 Fremont Ave. N., Seattle
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday.
Prices: $ (Burgers $4-$12; soups, sandwiches, salads and sides $2.50-$9.)
Drinks: Ice-cream shakes and floats; classic and artisanal sodas; local microbrews, Belgian and classic beers; wines by the glass or half bottle.
Parking: Free lot two doors north of the restaurant, or on street.
Who should go: Burger fans looking for quality ingredients between the bun and something interesting in their glass.
Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard.
Access: No obstacles.
Chef Scott Staples established himself years ago as a deft interpreter of contemporary American cuisine, first at his classy Belltown bistro Restaurant Zoe, then at his stylish gastropub Quinn's on Capitol Hill. Now he's renovated a former Fremont auto-and-boat repair shop with zinc counters, reclaimed wood paneling and retro furnishings, and turned it into a shabby-chic burger-and-shake shack called Uneeda Burger.
Do we really need another burger joint? Staples answers that question in at least a dozen convincing ways, starting with a quarter-pound "classic" all-natural beef patty from Oregon's Painted Hills, and ending with an inventive veggie version fashioned from emmer wheat.
You can embellish that basic burger with bacon, cheddar or a fried egg. If you don't mind paying almost twice the price, you can substitute local Wagyu beef, delicious but really not necessary. The Painted Hills beef has great flavor. Every patty, griddled to a careful and consistent medium-rare, blushes a faint pink in the middle. Toasted, butter-slicked buns capture the gushing juice.
The signature burgers tempt me most. Built with a hefty one-third-pound patty, they include a truffle-salted mushroom burger heaped with cremini and porcini, and the "Philly Smash" buried under Gruyère and a pile of sautéed peppers and onions.
The "Madame" also wears Gruyère under ruffles of Black Forest ham and a fried egg. No seedy sesame bun for her: she's wrapped in buttered, toasted slices of potato bread. Too highfalutin for the house special sauce — an egg-rich mayo with a horseradish bite — she merits Dijon-spiked mayo and tucks a few crispy matchstick fries into her bodice just for kicks.
For sheer bravado on a brioche bun try the lamb burger. Zesty seasoned meat anchors a tower of bold flavors (manchego cheese, roasted peppers and onions, arugula and cilantro) interspersed with the salty crunch of "lemon tempura," preserved lemon slices that have been battered and deep-fried.
The veggie burger, though less flashy, has an equally alluring play of texture and taste. The sturdy ciabatta roll holding a crispy slab of ground and whole-grain emmer, marinated Portobello strips, red onion, chopped romaine, tomato and house special sauce mightily satisfied this confirmed carnivore.
What's worth eating beyond burgers? The classic BLT and the grilled cheddar cheese on sourdough won't disappoint. Rocky Mountain Chili is a robust stew of minced beef, pinto beans and onions in a tomato-rich sauce laced with gently explosive chili heat. Have it in a bowl, or piled on a hot dog or cheese fries. Frank's RedHot Sauce puts the pow in crunchy Buffalo-style chicken strips served on a sturdy roll with chopped lettuce, pickled onions and chunky blue-cheese sauce.
None of the sandwiches or burgers comes with fries, which are $2.50 extra and portioned generously enough for two to share provided you can agree on which cut you want. If you are in it for salt and crunch, get the skinny cut; if you really want to taste potato, get the waffle cut; both are terrific. So are the wide-cut onion rings.
What to wash it all down with? There are almost too many choices, from fresh lemonade to classic soft drinks like the Dublin Dr Pepper to artisanal sodas that are also used for ice-cream floats. Real hand-dipped milkshakes, thick with Seattle's own Empire ice cream, come with extra on the side. Taps dispense Thomas Kemper root beer as well as Belgian and local beers. Wine is available by the glass or half bottle. Pitchers of ice water are free at the service station, where you also pick up napkins, utensils and squeeze bottles of ketchup and mustard.
This is an easygoing, friendly place. Customers order at the counter; food is delivered to your table; bussing is up to you. The energetic young staff hustles to keep things moving, and mostly succeed, though one sunny Saturday when the inside was full and the picnic tables on the deck were at capacity, the line grew lengthy and food took a while to arrive. They'll want to work on that, because the crowds are likely to keep on coming.
Providence Cicero: email@example.com
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