The Pickle Region
(2) Pappas Burger, 2700 West Freeway, Fort Worth vs. (7) H2 Burger Co., 306 Houston St., Fort Worth
Typical David vs. Goliath matchup here: Upstart H2 Burger Co., hidden away in the Red Goose Saloon in downtown Fort Worth, was pitted against powerhouse Pappas Burger, part of the Pappas dynasty off Interstate 30 near Forest Park Boulevard. Not many people know about H2's gourmet burgers. When we visited on a Friday night, the only other person in there was a dude watching the Rangers game. Meanwhile, Pappas -- which made it all the way to our Final Four in 2009 -- was packed. Judging by the burgers we ordered, though, it shoulda been the other way around. H2's self-named signature burger was not what you'd expect to get in a dank bar. Loved the soft ciabatta bread, the thickly cut tomato, the fresh arugula, the caramelized onions and, finally, the red-hot tarragon mustard. The burger was neatly, carefully put together, too, and not obnoxiously huge. The patty itself was perfectly cooked and dripping with flavor and juice. At Pappas, we ordered another burger with a bite, the peppercorn ranch burger, which arrived less than five minutes after we ordered and was overcooked way beyond the medium-well promise the menu made. Couldn't detect the peppercorn ranch dressing, maybe because the A1-ish steak sauce was so strong. The toasted white bun was no match for the mammoth piece of meat, and the burger quickly fell apart. The meat was dry, and even though you could see pepper on it, you couldn't taste it, or any seasoning, for that matter; what a bore. Hey, Pappas, who's your daddy?
The winner: H2 Burger Co.