Chop House vs. Goodfriend
(1) Chop House Burgers, 1700 W. Park Row Drive, Arlington, vs. (6) Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House, 1154 Peavy Road, Dallas
Goodfriend had its chance.
For one moment, in the dimly lit beer garden at this divey burger pub across from a coin laundry, a tattoo shop and Garcia Discount Furniture, Goodfriend looked like a good prospect to upset vaunted Chop House Burgers and move into the Final Four.
For two weeks in a row, Goodfriend had ousted better-known burgers from traditional, brightly lit grills (Jakes and Maple & Motor). There was something in Goodfriend’s burger that proved irresistible to judges: the beef.
A simple Goodfriend burger (“P.L.O.T.” — pickles, lettuce, onion, tomato) compared equally to Arlington’s vaunted Chop House Burger, even though the CHB was as good as ever, with a fall-apart brisket-beef blend and the special Chop House sauce. But the pepper burger was Goodfriend’s downfall.
Goodfriend’s Pepper Bomb is made with tomatoes, lettuce, chipotle-cheddar and a house-made harissa, a red-hot, smoky Tunisian chili sauce. The server wisely offered to bring the sauce on the side. But this is not the Battle of the Ingredients, so we told her to serve it the usual way.
Sure enough, the Pepper Bomb was delivered as a smeary, too-spicy mess that tasted almost solely of chipotle and hot chili sauce instead of beef, bun or other ingredients.
So the decisive stroke in this matchup came from Chop House’s 10 Pepper Burger, emerging as a worthy cousin to the Chop House Burger. The 10 Pepper is made with a combination of nine finely crushed peppers, then topped with pepper jack and a Tabasco mayo.
Spicy burgers have been big winners in the Battle of the Burgers, from the Fred’s Diablo to Charley’s Project X. Some are just a flimsy premise for eating hot peppers. But the Chop House 10 Pepper Burger delivered a well-balanced combination of flavors, with the crushed hot-pepper blend pushed gently into the soft beef. The pepper jack cheese was draped nicely over the burger, and unlike the slip-and-slide harissa at Goodfriend, the 10 Pepper’s Tabasco mayo brought a subtle extra flavor.
Chop House has typically advanced on the strength of its signature burger. This time, it prevailed on depth.
Winner: Chop House