Versus: Huskies Win the Burger Cup, Too

Marco Polo's Coug Supreme doesn't measure up to the Ram's puppy chow.

The Dish: The Apple Cup was last Saturday. We all know the Huskies prevailed on the field, but which team has the better burger named in their honor? The Rivals: The Ram, 2650 N.E. University Village, 525-3565, U DISTRICT. We expected big things from the Husky Burger ($12.99), seeing as how it's on the menu of a restaurant that has positioned itself as "Husky headquarters" for ravenous UW fans. We were happy to find it was well-executed and well-made, and certainly a little more highbrow than your average pub burger. In fact, there's really nothing we didn't like about the Husky's solid ingredient lineup: cheddar, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and a fire-grilled, hand-forged patty atop an enormous bun. In other words, it's a pretty standard cheeseburger, but where was the UW representation? We want to know what makes this Husky burger a Husky, besides its one-pound girth. The Ram has an impressive list of burgers with a lot of flair; the Husky Burger just isn't one of them. It's a great choice if you're craving a cheeseburger, but when will you ever crave a $13 cheeseburger, especially when there are way more interesting and cheaper burgers on the menu? We liked the Husky Burger, but would have liked it more if it had been spruced up a bit. In other words, more Jake Locker and less Ronnie Fouch. Marco Polo Bar & Grill, 5613 Fourth Ave. S., 762-3964, GEORGETOWN. The Coug Supreme ($8.95) is Marco Polo's pride and joy. It's one-third of a pound of beef, grilled ham, and Cougar Gold cheese on a toasted sesame bun. And yes, it is possible to mess up a burger with those ingredients. Marco Polo is run and owned by WSU alumni. In fact, the night we ate there, our burger was cooked by the general manager, who told us they slap a big piece of ham on their burgers as an homage to the Pullman pubs where pork is standard on many a patty. The ham, while in theory a fantastic addition to any burger (are you listening, Ram?), stuck out as a cheap grocery-store brand with a little too much synthetic taste. And while our patty was well-done, the ham wasn't done enough. We appreciate a singed edge on our pork, a slight char around the exterior. However, this ham was flaccid and pale, reminding us of a school lunch. The cheese, on the other hand, saved the day. If you've never had Cougar Gold, it's a sharp white cheddar that's really satisfying on a burger. If the ham had been of that caliber, we might have been able to overlook a bun that had spent a little too much time on the grill and a lack of mayo that made for a pretty dry burger. Fortunately, these are small fixes to an otherwise winning sandwich. The Champ: The Coug Supreme was the more interesting burger, scoring extra points for bringing a bit of Pullman into the mix with the Cougar Gold. As for the Husky, we were hugely disappointed by its complete irrelevance to UW, but it was the better tasting and more consistent of the two—which is why we are crowning it, along with the Ram, the victor of this Versus Cup. jperry@seattleweekly.com

 
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