slimsburger.jpg

What: Cheeseburger, brisket and bean chili, classic meat chili, and smoked jalapeno mac 'n cheese (yes, I had help).

Where: Slim's Last Chance Chili Shack

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Slim's Last Chance

slimsburger.jpg

What: Cheeseburger, brisket and bean chili, classic meat chili, and smoked jalapeno mac 'n cheese (yes, I had help).

Where: Slim's Last Chance Chili Shack & Watering Hole, 5606 1st Ave S, Georgetown 762-7900.

Cost: $41.73 (with fries and 2 Diet Cokes)

Official Tasting Notes:

Last Chance co-owner Michael Lucas is the thinking carnivore's hero. While some burger purveyors are content to brag about the fact that their meat has never been frozen, Lucas cuts straight to the matter of what really makes the difference: freshly ground meat. Freshly ground means gently hand-formed patties that are butter-tender on the inside, but with a perfectly seared crust on the outside, and a loose construction that results in both seasonings and smoke permeating the meat beautifully. Such gorgeous architecture is not to be fucked with, and accordingly, cheese is thoroughly melted, shredded iceberg lettuce is uniformly crisp, the bun is toasted just ever-so-slightly, and the rich, signature smokey sauce miraculously doesn't conflict with the star ingredient. I'm a complete burger snob, and this blew me away.

In a wise bilateral use of ingredients, Lucas also makes an excellent classic ground beef chili, smoothly textured, with a strong, straightforward flavor profile that's ideally suited for either gracing one of their grilled Kobe beef hot dogs or just nestling in a cup with a contrasting dollop of sour cream and generous pinch of fresh chives.

There's beauty in all that gracefully executed simplicity, but the complexity of both the brisket and bean chili and the smoked jalapeno mac 'n cheese will clamor for your attention. Brisket is the star of the menu at the Lucas' neighboring Pig Iron BBQ, so it's no surprise that marrying it with dense tomato sauce and thoughtfully chosen spices would result in multi-layered ecstasy. And those pinto beans? Well, they seem just happy to be there, absorbing every nuance of the brisket's slow-cooked flavor and retaining an impressive degree of firmness. Accessories are unnecessary, but I couldn't resist dressing mine up with cheddar cheese, sour cream, fried tortilla strips, and diced tomato. The mac 'n cheese unfolds in unexpected ways, with a creaminess that is never cloying, a nicely sharp dose of what appears to be white cheddar, and that deceptively slow-burning end note of smoked jalapeno.

Addictive and potentially dangerous (both to one's arteries and hearing: a jukebox loud enough to drown out conversation at happy hour can be a bit much), Slim's far-flung Georgetown locale and unimpeachable quality earns it a slap with that classic cliche of restaurant criticism: it's well-worth the trip.

 
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