I tend to kill the surprise and hesitate to write any sort of lengthy review when I eat a burger that sucks, and this is probably going to be no exception. Finding myself on the south end of the strip with an hour to kill in between meetings the other day, I went to my phone to check for anything nearby that might be new and different. Sadly the only thing close by was American Burger Works at the lovely Excalibur, as I had been to pretty much everything else directly around me. No cliffhanger here, but read on if you want to know why it sucked so badly.
The restaurant is pretty utilitarian and simple from the garage doors at the entry, to the minimal amount of treatment to their open ceiling, to the simple furniture. The menu is equally as simple: make your own burger from a small list of meat, bun and topping choices and 15 different sauces. Hasn’t the whole ‘design your own burger’ thing been played out? Regardless of the restaurant, if they offer a burger I can probably order it however I want so this isn’t really so unique of a concept is it? The fact that their website mentions they bring “a new twist to the classic burger and fries combo” is laughable.
Going with the theme, I decided to keep my burger nice and simple so that I could taste a basic sample of what they offer. My burger with lettuce, tomato, pickles, Jack Daniel’s ketchup and Swiss cheese came out looking as boring as I had imagined. The bun was dry and difficult to eat. The meat was also very dry; the whole assembly was a vacuum of moisture in my mouth. How’s that for a nice mental picture? The meat didn’t really have great flavor so that didn’t help much either. Between the meat and measly melted cheese something was very salty at random points throughout as well. The tomatoes were unnoticeable, the lettuce was ok, and the pickles were decent. Notice I didn’t mention anything about my fancy ketchup; more on that in a minute.
The thick cut Belgium French fries were flavorless and almost hollow inside as they can sometimes be when overcooked. If these were cooked right they might have been ok, but I can’t promise much. And now a note about their special sauces and horrible service. As I mentioned they have 15 sauces to choose from, I chose the Jack Daniel’s ketchup for something a bit neutral as to not take over my burger. When I ordered I was informed it would be on the side which was fine, but when I got my burger there was no sauce on the side, so I went back to counter to ask for it. The man behind the counter pointed to the condiment ketchup in the corner next to the soda machine. I told him if that’s my one free sauce then I would like a different sauce and was told I’d have to pay extra for a second variety. Either this guy that spoke no English didn’t understand me at all or this place is a total rip off with their sauces. At $15.12 for a burger, fries and drink on the strip isn’t the end of the world, but for the quality and service it’s about $15.12 too much. All I can say is, this place is horrible.