In the hallowed world of gourmet fare, the hamburger largely remains a lowly non-contender. That is except on May 28 when National Burger Day spotlights the beef patty on a bun in its most glorious incarnations. With Houston’s upper tier restaurants pulling out the stops for some truly decadent burgers, these high-end burgers are guaranteed to tempt your tastebuds and challenge your financial sensibilities.
A Houston hamburger for $1,600? That’s nothing compared to the ridiculously sublime offering that Las Vegas’ Fleur restaurant in the Mandalay Bay Resort Grand. The FleurBurger 5000, the creation of French chef Hubert Keller, will set a diner back $5,000.
But it’s not the Waygu beef, the slab of foie gras or the ample layering of black truffles that shoot the cost through the stratosphere. It’s the bottle of 1995 Chateau Petrus that comes with the burger. Houston’s gourmet burgers are not quite that crazy, but they’re plenty memorable.
Here’s your high-end Houston burger rundown:
Post Oak Hotel
Leave it to billionaire hospitality mogul Tilman Fertitta to have a burger that ranks as the priciest in Houston. Two restaurants in his swank Post Oak hotel — Craft F&B and Bloom & Bee — offer the $1,600 24-karat Black Gold Burger. The hotel introduced the extravagant beef patty on a bun in October of 2019 in the swank H Bar but has since moved its availability to the other two feeding troughs.
The burger, its name an homage to the city’s oil industry, is made with a pound of A5 wagyu beef shipped in from Japan, slabs of seared foie gras, black truffles and truffle aioli. The burger’s bun is equally decadent, made with caviar and infused with 24-karat gold. This budget-buster is regularly available, upon request
B&B Butchers & Restaurant
Executive Chef Robert Del Grande created a beauty for Turner’s, the romantic boîte beneath The Annie Cafe & Bar on Post Oak Boulevard. But the recent fire in the exhaust system of the kitchen closed both restaurants. As a result the ultra special National Burger Day 24K Tournedos burger will be served this Friday only at Berg Hospitality’s B&B Butchers & Restaurant from 4 pm to 10 pm.
It’s a dreamy 8-ounce Kobe beef patty topped with seared foie gras, black truffles, raclette cheese and tomato marmalade on a brioche bun wrapped in 24k gold flakes. It will be served with a side of potato skins topped with crème fraiche and caviar. Bottom line: $285.
Who would expect anything less from Houston’s pinnacle of fine dining than the ultimate, truffle-laden cheeseburger. Say hello to Tony’s Wagyu Truffle Cheeseburger. This gourmet’s delight is made of Wagyu beef, Gruyere cheese, fresh shaved Norcia black truffles, black truffle aioli and is served with truffle Kennebec French fries.
This is a hamburger to savor with a glass of fine Bordeaux or perhaps a Malbec while soaking up the sophisticated surroundings of the Greenway Plaza haunt. The bottomline: $75.
The GJ French Onion Burger was inspired by the restaurant’s classic French onion soup and is made with 44 Farms ground chuck, drenched in caramelized onions, dressed with gruyere cheese and finished off with horseradish dijonnaise. Add house-made steak fries and the tab is $26.
As Georgia James executive chef Greg Peters explains, “The French onion soup is a great example of proper technique and execution. Perfectly caramelized onions and proper veal stock — both of which take time and attention to detail — are what set our soup apart from others.”
While the soup isn’t on the menu until the weather turns cooler, the burger is a year-round treat.
Mariposa at Neiman Marcus
From early on, Neiman Marcus tickled shoppers’ tastebuds with offerings with its in-house restaurants, the names and focus of which have changed over the decades. In Houston, Mariposa, the chic third floor cafe, boasts a delicious cheese burger year-round, one worth seeking out.
The black Angus patty holds court atop a brioche bun, with sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and the element that sends this burger soaring — chipotle mayonnaise. Served with a choice of French fries the burger with bacon or avocado prices out at $20.
The Original Ninfa’s
Not what you might expect in burger world but surely to be savored is The Original Ninfa’s Fajita Burger. How to describe the marvel that is the fajita burger?” José R. Ralat waxed ecstatic in a Texas Monthly article last fall. “It’s a mixture of smoky, grilled, and chopped outside skirt fajita meat stuffed inside a ground fajita patty. These two mingling textures are seasoned simply with salt and pepper, then topped with imported quesillo (called queso Oaxaca in the U.S.) and Monterey Jack. ”
Chipolte aioli adds a special flavor to the dish that is served with roasted potato wedges. Tariff: $20.
Both The Woodlands and the Shops at Arrive outposts of CRU Food & Wine Bar are celebrating National Burger Day with a tasty special. With every purchase of a glass of Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon ($35), you get the Wine Country Wagyu Burger as a bonus. It’s a 6 ounce wagyu patty with spicy tomato jam, humboldt fog cheese, caramelized onions, baby romaine, rosemary grain mustard and a side of truffle paremesan fries.
If looking for something less pricey but nonetheless interesting in Houston gourmet burgers, we recommend B.B. Lemon‘s $16 burger dream. The tastebud ride begins with the house-made waffle bun which encloses the towering concoction (you’ll need a knife and fork) that includes an 8-ounce Texas Wagyu beef potato hash, sharp white cheddar cheese, a fried egg, hot truffle sauce, lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions.