An adult milkshake seemed apropos to toast Douglas Keane’s victory in Top Chef Masters. Regular milkshakes are $5, and grown-ups can add another fiver for a spike of spirits. The Mudslide combines Bailey’s Irish Cream, Kahlua, chocolate shavings, and Humboldt Creamery vanilla ice cream. Served with a spoon, cocktail straw and a regular straw, this concoction stayed thick to the last alcoholic and frosty spoonful.
Alongside, the HBG Burger, $9, cooked “medium” by default. Ordered as is with no additions, this was a hamburger stripped down to just the essentials. The beef’s sourced from a ranch in Petaluma and ground in-house with a 70:30 lean-to-fat ratio. Beautiful crusting, and “medium” with a red center as promised, the patty exactly matched the circumference of the bread. The juices were still bubbling up out of the hot beef patty, so I did not cut the burger in half as I normally would. With each mouthful, a stream of bloody, fatty juices dribbled onto my plate. The grind felt coarser than typical with the very flavorful meat offering more resistance to the bite.
The perfectly toasted Costeaux Bakery bun had a buttery sheen to which I added the roasted garlic mayo provided on the side. The sourdough bun’s on the firm side, but necessarily so. While I didn’t love the bun, its density and the added backbone provided by toasting and moisture barriers kept it from falling apart when challenged by extreme juiciness. Sonoma Brinery (FKA Alexander Valley Gourmet Pickles) supplies the pickle chips. Besides the red leaf lettuce and sweet red onion, the tomato is now included in the price of the burger and not an add-on. The slice of tomato was too small, and I noticed that other tables had larger. Still this was the most luscious tomato I’ve seen on a burger in ages.
A basket on each table holds napkins, flatware, and condiments. The HBG Burger turned out to be a three-napkin event and I was glad to have as many as I wanted at the ready.
Healdsburg Bar & Grill
245 Healdsburg Ave
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Food & Wine magazine, Top 25 Burgers
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Chef Keane will be autographing photos today, Sunday September 29, from 2pm to 5pm at HBG for a $10 donation to his chosen charity, Green Dog Rescue.