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Variations on a Burger: Questions About Doneness

kelly5612 | Sep 18, 2011 04:29 PM

Recently we had dinner at a well-respected DC restaurant that is known, in part, for its burgers. We both ordered our $12 burgers medium. Mine arrived more on the medium-well side (no pink inside at all), which was okay-ish. My partner cut into his with knife & fork and it was decidedly medium rare, so we returned it to the kitchen. It came back 5 minutes later -- minus the third that he had cut off.

WTF? I've had this happen before, and I think it's a sign of low standards.

So we sent it back. Again. Ten minutes later (by this time, I've polished off mine), the replacement arrives...and it's also pretty red inside. Whatever... They took it off the bill, which was about the best anyone could to at that point. (Really, you'd be shocked -- shocked!! -- if I mentioned which restaurant this was.)

But this leads me to ask: what's a restaurant to do when a patron cuts into his burger (which was, with a mile-high brioche bun, the only way to learn its doneness) and finds out it's not cooked to his request? I think they should start over -- it's a burger, right? not a kobe steak -- but is this too much to ask? And how how hard is it to gauge a burger's doneness? Isn't this what either culinary school or experience is for?

What do you think?

(In hindsight, we should have just traded, since I don't mind a medium rare burger. Oh well, 20:20 and all that...)

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