Apple Cup is this weekend, so we thought we'd throw a precursor tourney out there by pitting a Husky burger against a Cougar>"/>
Apple Cup is this weekend, so we thought we'd throw a precursor tourney out there by pitting a Husky burger against a Cougar burger. We're not calling ourselves oracles just yet, but if our burger prediction turns out to be Saturday's champ, we'll let each one of you touch us. Who's the big winner now?
2650 N.E. University Village, 525-3565
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 a burger that was well-executed and well-made, and certainly a little more high-brow than your average pub burger. In fact, there's really nothing we didn't like about the Husky's solid ingredient line-up: cheddar, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and a fire-grilled, hand-forged patty atop a ginormous bun. In other words, it's a pretty standard cheeseburger. BORING! Where was the UW representation? We want to know what makes this Husky burger 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 we would have liked it more if it had been spruced up a bit. We want more Jake Locker and less Ronnie Fouch.
Marco Polo Bar & Grill
Photo by Julien Perry
5613 Fourth Ave. S., 762-3964
The Coug Supreme ($8.95) is Marco Polo's pride and joy. It's one-third 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. A little back story: 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 a fantastic addition to any burger (are you listening, Ram?), stuck out as a cheap grocery store brand that carried a little too much synthetic ham taste. And while our patty was well-done, the ham wasn't done enough. We appreciate a singed edge to our pork, a slight char around the exterior. This ham was flaccid and pale and reminded 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 is really satisfying on a burger. If the ham was as high quality as the cheese, we might have been able to overlook a bun that spent a little too much time on the grill and a lack of mayo that created a pretty dry burger. Fortunately, these are small fixes to an otherwise winning meal.
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 over its complete irrelevance to UW, but it was the better tasting and more consistent burger of the two. Even though no flavors stood out, The Husky was a technically superior cheeseburger, which is why we are crowning it, along with The Ram, the victor of this Versus Cup.