As backyard barbecue season draws to a close, let us direct your attention to these 10 wild and wonderful burgers that might make you want to retire your charcoal for good—or at least put away your Kiss the Chef apron until spring.
Bistro Burger Banh Mi Style at Oakleys Bistro (1464 W. 86th St., 317-824-1231): A thick slice of cilantro sweet pickle brightens the succulent puck-style patty inside this elaborately garnished burger. Slivers of pickled carrot and a hunk of iceberg are dressed with kimchee aioli and Vietnamese ketchup. A bamboo pick stylishly keeps the components stacked high inside a toasted bun.
Deep Fried Cheeseburger at Indianapolis Colts Grille (110 W. Washington St., 317-631-2007): Imagine a cheeseburger that got dunked in tempura batter and took a trip to the Indiana State Fair. Be sure you have a refill on your Lipitor before ordering this knife-and-fork monster.
Twin Steer at The Steer-In (5130 E. 10th St., 317-356-0996): This thinly disguised take on the Big Mac (most tellingly) stacks a third bun between two thin burger patties. Then, the east side’s modern-day drive-in adds a sheet of cheese, shredded lettuce, pickle, and a tangy mayo sauce. We’re lovin’ it.
The Shewman Special at Scotty’s Brewhouse (three locations): A thick schmear of creamy peanut butter on the bottom bun plays off the juiciness of the thick, free-form burger and cuts the sharpness of the jalapeno—tell them easy on the jalapeno. Two slices of bacon crisscross the top with just a hint of melted cheddar. Amazingly, it works.
Mr. Big Stuff at Rock Cola Cafe (5730 Brookville Rd., 317-357-2233): Two fried eggs and two strips of hickory-smoked bacon top a 10-ounce burger in this breakfast-to-lunch hybrid.
Black & Bleu Burger at Fire by the Monon (6523 Ferguson St., 317-252-5920): A smoky open-fire flavor penetrates the juicy beef patty, which holds its own under crumbles of pungent cheese and thick-cut bacon. Add your own remoulade—like spicy ranch dressing—and pickle “shreddies.”
Whatever burger they are making at The Libertine (38 E. Washington St., 317-631-3333): The bar menu rotates almost nightly, but there is usually a burger in all its grass-fed Fischer Farms glory that’s as well dressed as the bartenders.
Kofta Burger at The Mediterranean Grill (10230 E. US highway 36, Avon, 317-273-8570): Using the ground meat spiced with onion, parsley, and herbs that is usually molded onto a kebab, this exotic burger has so much going on that it doesn’t even bother with garnish.
Double Cheeseburger at Workingman’s Friend (234 N. Belmont Ave., 317-636-2067): Smashing the patties onto a grill top seasoned by the years creates those crispy, salty jagged edges we have come to love.
The Max at Maxine’s Chicken & Waffles (132 N. East St., 317-423-3300): Somewhere under a pile of French fries and gravy, this poutine-like plate spanner uses a thick slab of Texas Toast as its launch pad. There’s a hand-patted 8-ounce burger and some sauteed onions and mushrooms down there as well.
What’s your favorite burger in town?