Bent Burger occupies this weird angular building near Seward Park. I'm assuming this building is what puts the "Bent" in Bent Burger because the dining room does, in fact, bend obtusely around the kitchen.
Here is an order of yam fries. Not pictured: the Ugandan UPS delivery driver.
Once inside you'll notice all the comic book-related junk: The logos of Superman and Spiderman and other heroic men adorn the walls; the tables are inlaid with X- Men covers, and every table is stocked with comics for the customer's entertainment--stacked right there next to the menu and the bucket of ketchup and mustard.
There's lots of original art, too. It's very cool--drawn in the loose jangly line favored by taggers. This is the kind of art that would be described by white people as being "urban." It looks like the hamsters from the Kia commercial painted it.The food itself is pretty standard: a small fry is $1.88 but you get a shitload of them, piled up into one of those red plastic mesh baskets pull tabs are usually served in. They're greasy and obviously come frozen in a plastic bag, but fuck it: sometimes you want fries that have a Master's in French literature, but sometimes you want fries that dropped out of cosmetology school.
Yam fries ($1.98) are sometimes good, and by "sometimes" I mean "exactly 50% of the time." I got two orders of them. One was perfectly cooked: sweet and creamy and as orange as a bad spray-on tan, with a light, crispy batter and lightly salted. The other order was overcooked--they were WAY too brown. You know how brown they were? Imagine the brownest possible thing you've ever seen. Imagine a UPS truck. It's driven by a guy from Uganda. The truck is covered in mud and shit because the driver just took it through a cow pasture to make a delivery to a redneck's house. The driver was delivering mahogany furniture. With him is his faithful chocolate lab. They're eating Lindt 90% cocoa bars.
Pretty goddamned brown, you'd say? Well guess what: that other order of yam fries was so brown it made the scene I just described look off-white.
The onion rings weren't quite as brown as the yam fries, but they were still pretty close. The rings were cloaked in a foamy parka of beer batter which had been burnished to a glowing taupe by too much time spent in the hot oil. These were generally good, if a bit greasy. I think something may have been wrong with Bent Burger's oil that day.
The burgers were WAY better than the sides. A bacon cheeseburger costs an oddly specific $6.48. The patty was probably too thin, but they still somehow managed to leave a little sliver of pink in the center. It was dressed with the usual hamburger stuff: shredded iceberg lettuce, slivered onions, pickles, mustard, mayonnaise, and ketchup. The main problem was the washed- out slice of anemic tomato. The bacon was crispy and perfectly cooked.
For $1 extra, you can get any burger topped with a hot link. I went for it. At first I was offended by the idea of putting sausage AND bacon on a hamburger. It seemed wildly offensive and gastronomically oafish. But the hot link on the bacon cheeseburger was AWESOME: the link was split in half and spread out like your mom on the bun. It had been grilled to a sturdy char, but was still juicy and gave the burger a much-needed shot of spice. Fucking masterful.
Veggie burgers are available. They're $5.78, but don't expect a handmade patty. Zippy's bean burger has set the bar pretty fucking high for vegetarian burgers. Bent Burger just goes with a Gardenburger, which is fine, if a bit thin. Milk shakes are $3.78. They come in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and mint, and you get about a pint for this price. The strawberry was very smooth and obviously contained real strawberry, but I still don't get the appeal of drinking a milkshake with a burger. Who decided that a milkshake is a beverage? It's melted ice cream! It's technically food. You might as well chug a can of soup.
Bent Burger is pretty tasty. It's not quite as delicious as burger scion Zippy's, but this is mostly because the patties aren't juicy enough. Still, it's good. Business seems brisk. Bent Burger is generally packed with lots of children. Unfortunately, there's enough room inside for the kids to run around, yelling and cocking their fingers at each other going "Pew, pew, pewwwww!" and doing other things kids do. At least inside Zippy's, space is tight, so there's no room to run, and kids must stand politely next to one another as if they were Chinese children.
Still, Bent Burger does what it's supposed to: dispel hangovers. You could demand more, but if you did that you'd be a total dick.
Rating: 7 shades of brown out of 10
Bent Burger is located at 5100 S Dawson St
To place an order call 206-760-0291