The whiffs of beef and wood smoke will grab you from three blocks away like an olfactory GPS. You’ll circle the county for a parking space. You’ll wait, standing—what’s a little pocking rain—a half-hour to get your food. Maybe. And then you will do something seriously unconsidered, something potentially really painful—sprint across four lanes of speeding traffic, say—just to get inside that grease-flecked brown takeout box already.
Anticipation: It’s the secret sauce on every Skillet BURGER, $9.
Well, anticipation and cambozola cheese and bacon jam. Skillet is the Airstream trailer that trundles to a different neighborhood each day, and this rock star of a burger is why it gets away with such nonsense. Because honestly, here’s what we’re talking about: A golden baseball of a bun, soft with sweet brioche pastry. A half-inch-thick patty of grass-fed beef, smoky and blush-pink in the middle and flapping out the sides. A sheen of bacon jam lending the faintest hoofprint of wickedness. Bits of cambozola cheese for nutty intrigue; arugula just for push-back. A mess of wizened, herb-speckled fries on the side.
It’s not big, it’s just uncommonly tasty. And as the cambozola melts and the brioche goes to butter—the whole burger becomes…I’m not kidding… creamy. It ain’t worth becoming road-splatter for. But worth waiting for? Just ask the 82 people ahead of you in line. Skillet Street Food, www.skilletstreetfood.com
Some people insist that if it didn’t come from a cow, it isn’t a hamburger. Well, some people are still fighting the range wars and they need to call a truce and try Café Campagne’s BURGER D’AGNEAU, $14. Lamb suits a burger at least as well as beef; it has richer flavor and more tongue-coating, chin-dripping saturated fat. Campagne exploits fat and flavor to the fullest with a generous puck of ground lamb cooked to specs (“medium rare” really is) in an oversize, crusty French bun. The toppings, as chichi as Campagne’s elegant bistro decor, will be a revelation to pickle-and-lettuce purists: roasted red peppers, organic baby salad greens, and grilled onions pickled in balsamic vinegar. At heart a straight-ahead burger in classier garb; that irrepressible sheep fat soaks even the organic salad greens. Snag one of the Post Alley tables and passersby will sniff avidly and stare enviously as you dig in. Café Campagne, 1600 Post Alley, Pike Place Market, 206-728-2233; www.campagnerestaurant.com