The burger: The chef responsible for one of the Twin Cities' great burgers is at it again. Adam Eaton, who helped launch the craze for the double-patty cheeseburger when he opened Saint Dinette in 2015, is revisiting — and revising — that gotta-have equation at Meyvn, his contemporary take on the deli that's drawing crowds to Lake and Bryant in Uptown. The results are spectacular.
This is a burger where the beef is front and center. It's a noticeably beefy blend of brisket, chuck and sirloin that’s dry-aged for 14 days, and all that attention to detail comes through, and then some. The lean meat is also indulgently rich, thanks to an over-the-top level of butter that’s expertly blended into the ground beef. “For every five pounds of meat, there’s one pound of butter,” said Eaton. "It's a ton of butter."
No kidding. It’s what Land O’Lakes has been telling us all along: butter really does make everything better. The trick to making it work? Eaton maintains a superhot flat top stove.
“We want a really good initial sear to keep all of that butter inside,” he said. “If it’s not hot enough, the butter will melt out.”
He’s only just starting, dairy-wise. The two well-seasoned, nicely caramelized patties are liberally coated in a cleverly doctored Emmenthaler cheese. It’s a formula Eaton adapted from “Modernist Cuisine,” one that uses Champagne and sodium citrate to enhance the cheese’s sharp qualities, and increase its emulsification, which is a fancy way of saying “meltiness,” if that’s a word.
“You get more flavor out of it,” said Eaton. “American cheese melts, sure, but it tastes like nothing at all. I wanted meltiness, but also flavor. I’m surprised that more places haven’t done this.” (For fans of Eaton’s spectacular burger at Saint Dinette — and if you’re not a fan, you should be — he follows the same recipe, but uses a Cheddar instead). Oh, and when I invoke “liberally coated,” it’s no exaggeration. When my burger arrived, the patties looked as if they had been dunked — and dunked a second time, and then dunked once again — in a kind of fabulously over-the-top cheese fondue.
“Cheese is my favorite food,” said Eaton. “If people had the nerve to ask for extra cheese, they would do it. So I give it to them without them having to ask. Besides, you want a wet sandwich. There’s nothing worse than a dry sandwich.”
The sesame-topped challah bun — it’s baked at PJ Murphy’s in St. Paul — contributes all kinds of goodness.
“It’s soft, and sweet, and I think it’s the perfect bun,” said Eaton. “It doesn’t need to be super-fancy, it just has to do the job and carry the meat.” Eaton improves upon a good thing by brushing the insides with clarified butter and giving the buns a gentle toast. Perfect.
Because the beef (and cheese) is so knock-your-socks-off special, add-ons are restrained: lettuce, tomato, raw onion.
“I like the crunch of raw vegetables,” said Eaton. “And I really like a Cali-style burger. And I wanted that classic deli feel.”
No doubt about it, Eaton has another instant-classic burger on his hands.
Fries: Included, and spot-on. “It’s the La Belle Vie fry,” said Eaton, referring to the former four-star food palace where he cut his culinary teeth. “People give frozen fries a bad rap, but I like really like them, they’re a very consistent product, and they have a ‘deli’ feel to them. Hand-cut fries tend to be not very consistent, and they’re hard to pull off.” This commercially prepared version coats the cut potatoes in potato starch. “They stay crisper,” said Eaton. “It’s a mix between the Burger King fry and the McDonald’s fry.”
Where he burgers: “I think Red Cow has the best burger in town,” he said. The burger joint has a long list of varieties; Eaton’s favorite is the Double Barrel Burger. “It’s a smash burger like everyone else is doing, but it’s really good,” he said. “I’m not a big smash burger fan, I like the meat to be medium-rare. But this is the most enjoyable smash burger in town. It’s got flavor to it, it’s juicy and I think it’s perfect. It has caramelized onions, which I love. And it comes with fries, which is important. A lot of places in town are doing that now, for the value. Which I think is really smart. People are looking for value, and they’ll tell you what they want. It’s about listening to them, about giving people the meal that they want, and charging them a fair price for it.” (That's Eaton, above, with spouse and business partner Laurel Elm, in a provided photo).
Address book: 901 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-315-4608. Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
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