I’m a guy, and guys like burgers. This post will be a story about the best burger I’ve ever had. The Gainsbourger.
Serge Gainsbourg was a well known French pop star. Who he really was isn’t as important as what he means to the folks that opened Gainsbourg in Seattle. To them, “Serge was the perfect muse: a debauched, dry-witted raconteur revered around the world for his genre-surfing contributions to the pop music canon and his unfailing ability to seduce, enrage and inspire in equal measures.”
Art thrives in many mediums. And for a very brief moment on New Year’s Eve 2012, I chewed and swallowed on a beautifully composed burger.
Chapter One – The Find
We stayed at a cheap little motel north of Seattle. The neighbourhood reminded me of various parts of Kingsway—a little messy but non-threatening.
There weren’t a whole lot of restaurants in the surrounding area. We were able to narrow it down to a couple places, and Gainsbourg was among them. In the end, their $6 escargot won us over.
Even though it was a short drive, it was late, and we were very hungry. As we walked in the door, my heart dropped.
Chapter Two – Appies and Drinks
At 9:30pm on New Year’s Eve, this place was packed. There were no servers on the floor, just a couple bartenders hustling behind the bar. No seats were available except for a few by the bar. Hesitantly, we sat down, with no menus and a couple empty glasses in front of us.
We grabbed some menus from the couple next to us, and chatted about what’s good to order. A few minutes later, the bartender walked by and flashed us a smile. We seized the opportunity and put in our orders. The sautéed mushrooms were recommended to us by the couple, so we ordered that, and the escargot we were eyeing back at the motel. I also asked for a Duchesse de Bourgogne, a fruity, sour Belgium beer.
Then began the wait. Our drinks showed up in 10 minutes, but our food didn’t for nearly an hour. With the kitchen right beside the bar, the rich smell from the fryer and the grill made our already starving stomachs knotting up in protest. The beer is amazing—the perfect blend of sour, sweet and hop. Because the tap ran dry about 3/4 the way into the cup, I got it for free. That really made my day.
By the time our appies had arrived, we had ordered entrees in desperation. With hunger well set in, we got to devouring them pretty quick. The mushrooms were beautifully sautéed with shallots. Even now I can taste the buttery, earthy flavours in my mouth. The escargots were a bit on the salty side. And apparently they would burn your mouth if you eat them too fast. Who knew? Otherwise it’s not bad for $6. The portions were quite nice. We felt satisfied yet still hungered for the mains. Which is a good thing considering what was coming for me.
Chapter Three – The Gainsbourger
Let me start you off with a picture of the Gainsbourger.
Just looking at it makes my mouth water. The melted cheese that’s sliding off the thick, juicy, medium rare patty, the rich sweetness of the caramelized onions, and the chewy baguette come together to do a little dance on your taste buds. Delicious broth and meat juice dripped down my fingers as I sank my teeth into the burger. Bite after bite, my taste buds were lighting up like fireworks.
This was the best, and most satisfying burger I’ve ever had.
This was also my first time trying a blended beef and lamb patty. It’s less gamey than lamb, and richer than beef. The sour beer pairs it perfectly by cutting down the fattiness.
The fries weren’t too shabby either. They were crispy on the outside, yet soft and fluffy on the inside, and served with home made ketchup. And all these goodness cost me US$10.
As the night went on the burger got smaller and smaller. Soon all I had was just a memory and greasy fingers.
It’s been over a month now, and no other burger has been able to fill the hole left in my heart. I’ve never known such heartbreak.
But, if I ever end up north of Seattle, around 85th and Greenwood, my arteries will meet you again, Gainsbourger.
8550 Greenwood Avenue North