(3) Love Shack, 110 E. Exchange Ave., vs. (2) Dutch's, 3009 S. University Drive, Fort Worth
In this chef burger-against-chef-burger face-off, Tim Love's wildly popular Love Shack went up against Dutch's, the unsinkable TCU hot spot overseen by another golden-spatula Fort Worth chef, Lou Lambert. At Love Shack, we had the signature Dirty Love Burger. Made of brisket and sirloin, the thin patty was perfectly cooked medium, seasoned well and topped with fresh, crunchy iceberg lettuce, two strips of peppery bacon and the burger's two trademarks: a fried quail egg and lightly spicy "love sauce." Such a perfect, smart blend of flavors and seasonings. Over at Dutch's, we went with the award-winning Bacon Bleu burger, comprised of a thick, all-natural beef patty, cooked medium well, topped with smoky bacon, romaine lettuce, tomato slices, onions and tangy house-made chipotle mayo. Just loved the sweet, soft bun from Sweet Mesquite Bakery in Houston. But there was too much of the very strong blue cheese, and it dominated each bite. A minor slip-up, no doubt, but one that cost Dutch's. Love Shack wins. Note to Dutch's: Take it easy on the blue cheese. Note to Love Shack: Don't get gloaty; you haven't won this thing yet.
The winner: Love Shack