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September 29, 2008

Flying Saucer, 4600 Guadalupe (in the Triangle)

The titular spacecraft, er, pub franchise landed early in the Triangle, advertising "please don't call us a chain" funkiness, zaftig barmaids in skimpy schoolgirl attire, and a card-swiping club that encourages premature liver damage through excessive alcohol consumption, rewarded with prizes of dubious value. In other words, my kind of place. You know the rest: Dark wood, fall-in deep chairs, boisterous patio clouded with smoke, flat screen televisions, trivia night, the sonorous lull of overserved retching in the men's room – it's a beer bar, by god, and it's nearly within stumbling distance of home. Time to get my name on a plaque.

Burgers, brats and (exceptionally good) pretzels complement the extensive beer selection, but the menu has aspirations beyond simple pub grub. Beer and cheese pairings round out a small selection of charcuterie including smoked salmon and sopressata, all of which come in generous portions in any combination you wish. There are salads (yes, salads) and the omnipresent wraps. Pizza, sandwiches, nachos and a bewildering variety of fried and sometimes drenched potatoes provide the remainder of the alcohol-absorption duties. Sorry, no fish and chips.

I admire any kitchen that is willing to decorate a plate of cheese-drenched nachos with sausage – I mean, why the hell not? The Beer Brat Nachos are a perfect over-the-top accompaniment to a 12% Belgian abbey ale and a couple of shots of Irish whiskey after you've just gotten the bad news from your broker. Caramelized onions are a welcome – but oddly panty-waisted – addition to a dish that needs no further accoutrement. Toss the aioli over your shoulder at the 12-top of giggling Chi-Omegas and just pour the rest of your buddy's Guinness on the damn plate. That's about the only thing that could improve it.

Most everything else here is what you would expect: reasonably greasy, filling, and designed to be consumed with substantially impaired manual dexterity. What I didn't expect from a pub with culinary designs on surpassing the traditional role of booze co-pilot was the only true disappointment on the menu: the burger. The Flying Saucer serves quite possibly the Worst Burger I have Ever Eaten.

That's a bold statement, to be sure. I've suffered through years of public school lunches; eaten dried up, shrink-wrapped burger-like things from a gas station microwave; hell, I've even been to Jack in the Box. In most of those cases, though, you have an expectation that the meal will stink. The relative level of disappointment is thus much lower.

At the Flying Saucer, I galloped through juicy bratwurst, creative sandwiches, the aforementioned nachos and a few other dishes before trying the signal dish of the American beer bar: the cheeseburger. For whatever reason, the kitchen sent me a desiccated disc of cardboard so dry and flavorless that it made me long for the virtuoso gourmet stylings of the Plano Independent School District. This burger was, truly, a piece of shit.

I'm not sure where it came from, or whether it was even made from actual flesh of an animal, but the server verified that the wispy, arid patty was not the veggie burger. Whatever it was, it was thin and worthless and indistinguishable from simply eating a dressed hamburger bun. Avoid it at all costs. Even better, order one from Galaxy Cafe next door and have them deliver it to your table. Think of it as a public protest. A burger like this one is a true American tragedy, and a black mark on an otherwise respectable drinking, eating and retching establishment.

Recommended, except for the burger.

Posted by brentbuford at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)