Sunday, January 24, 2021

Shark Bite Update: Two Hungry Law Students in Search of Oxford’s Best Burger

By Wes Brown and Charles Matranga contributors

Over the past year, we have reviewed the food at a variety of restaurants to answer the following question: “If your friend came into town and asked, ‘what place has the best (insert food item)’, what would you recommend?” food reviewers Charles Matranga and Wes Brown are excited to analyze Oxford’s burger scene this semester. Photo submitted.

This has been the main purpose of our reviews: to explore Oxford and to have the ability to immediately and confidently recommend a handful of amazing options to visiting friends and family. This semester we are following the same mission. After finding the best Oxford has to offer for Buffalo wings and pizza, we’re excited to begin our search for the best hamburger.

Hamburgers are as American as baseball and apple pie, so everyone and their dog has an opinion about who does it best. In order to be objective as possible, we have been in the lab working out new categories to rate each bite we take. Our categories are as follows:

• Patty: Flavor, size, bun to meat ratio, sear/grill marks, under/overcooked
• Bun: firmness/softness, notable flavor, soggy/dry/greasy
• Toppings: Combined flavor, quality, amount, and cohesion. Includes condiments and sauces.
• Sides: quality and quantity; we may also make a note of any unique sides breaking the mold of the usual side of fries.
• Temp: How well does it balance the necessity of a warm patty and cooler toppings?
• Belly Feel: Does this burger make you feel like you ate a brick? Are you bogged down? Is heartburn imminent?

In the past, we tried to maintain objectivity by getting the same order at every establishment (e.g. only their Buffalo wings or a plain cheese pizza). We decided to change it up this year. While a plain cheese pizza is a fair gauge when reviewing a restaurant’s pizza, simply ordering a plain hamburger does not serve the same purpose. When a place is confident enough in their burger to name it after their restaurant, it would be an injustice for us to not try it out. Some restaurants pride themselves on their unique hamburger, whether it’s through the burger’s size, their choice of toppings, or a “secret sauce.” So this year, our decision on what burger to order will be guided from the input of the restaurant itself by asking for their most popular/best-selling hamburger item.

From the very beginning we have caused anger in the hearts of some die-hard foodies by giving their favorite restaurant “just a 7?!” As always, this semester we are stomping through kitchens and stepping on toes picking out the best and the worst of the Oxford food scene. In the movie “The Incredibles,” Syndrome said it best: “When everyone’s super, no one is.” We intend to find the “super” burgers out there.

Grading scale:
• 9.0-9.9: A very rare burger, excels in every category.
• 7.0-8.9: A great burger, a place you actively recommend to friends and family, a go-to spot.
• 5.0-6.9: A decent burger, but something wasn’t just quite “right,” you might order it again if you just happen to be at the restaurant.
• 2.0-4.9: Yikes, probably heavily overpriced, an absolute disaster during and after the meal.
• 0-1.9: Maybe results in violent food poisoning.

Again, we always appreciate any reader feedback, whether they are positive comments or constructive criticism. We also welcome your suggestions in case we have missed any noteworthy locations on our list so far.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.