First up was the Jakes mushroom-Swiss burger, and it was love at first sight. A towering two-patty behemoth, piping hot, oozing cheese and ’shrooms, smeared with mustard, topped with tomato slices and pickle chips — even underneath that confounded poppy-seed bun, it nearly incited a foodgasm. The first bite was nearly as good as it looked, solid seasoning in the beef melding with the sunny tang of yellow mustard. But the next few bites seemed strangely devoid of flavor. A breakdown of the components revealed a gloriously juicy but inconsistently seasoned patty. Mushrooms were lackluster, and the temperature of the burger caused the lettuce to wilt early on.
At Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House, we ordered the whimsically named A Fungus Among Us — basically its mushroom-Swiss, only this Swiss has a fancy-pants name, Emmental. The sandwich was surprisingly simple-looking. The bun was hearty and glistening, but sitting beneath it were two slices of unimpressively unmelted Swiss (er, Emmental). Hmmm. Cheese infraction? But a few bites in, all was forgiven. The plump patty intoxicated with a smoky grilled flavor and peppery seasoning, all mingling together inside this pink, juicy marvel. To boot, a few of the edges delivered a delectable, crispy sear. The forest mushrooms burst with a nearly meaty flavor, and the bun was good, too — sweet, sturdy and grilled. Sorry, Jakes. Sometimes love at first sight burns out fast. Met somebody new, and it might be true love.
The winner: Goodfriend