First off, lets set the scene – it’s the day after my birthday celebrations, I’m incredibly hung-over thanks to several steins of German beer – PROST – and having spent the night with cats my allergies are in full swing, but nothing was going to stop me from jumping on the next train from Ponty and experiencing my first night in the Smoke Haus.
I love burgers, simple as that, and word of mouth had all been of the positive variety when it came to the Smoke Haus so I’m thinking there’ll be nothing better than a big ‘ol burger to cure my hangover blues.
Not only that, I love American stuff, because MERICA – so it was a pleasant surprise to see some college football on the TVs; here’s hoping for some Super Bowl festivities this coming February, although a lack of response to my tweet to date isn’t giving much confidence.
Anyway, after much deliberation and 2 people asking me if I wanted a drink (before the 3rd person finally delivered) I opted for a Baby Bertha – the ‘small’ version of the burger used for one of their food challenges with the description of, “A Haus cheeseburger topped with jalapeños, smoked streaky bacon, fried onions and coated in burger sauce” coming straight off their menu!
*side note – I came very close to ordering one of their hotdogs, as it was a legitimate foot long dog that arrived on another diner’s table, accompanied with a roll that was on a par with my size 10 Nikes, but I digress…
So, like any good natured man with a jean bursting 40+ inch waistline I doubled up on patties and opted for 2 sides (onion rings and the Smoke Haus Ranch Beans) and upgraded my fries (with skin on – this seemed important) to chilli cheese fries. Let the wait commence…
Like many eateries now-a-days the novelty of a plate seems to have worn thin, so along came a paper covered tray with a burger sat on top and three mini-troughs of sides. My initial concern was the amount of liquid cheese (one American thing I’m not so keen on) my fries were swimming in, but the concern soon dispersed having realised just how much chilli was hidden throughout. As for the burger, it looks fab as I’m sure the pictures show…
I’m halfway through my fries, beans and onion rings and remember what I’m actually here for and take a rest bite from the starch-filled goodness. I’m not a messy eater and hate getting food juice in my beard, so I dissect my burger (it’s standing about 7-8 inches high) and I’m actually glad at this point to have the full space of the tray. My initial mouthful is that of a juicy burger smothered in plenty of cheese (some kind of American cheddar I think?) and a wedge of bacon and all is good, but the more I go through the burger it just seems like an overly processed slab of meat – finely diced, very very dense and as moist as the Brecon Beacons in November; unfortunately, not what I’m expecting having been promised the finest Welsh beef *sad face*
I’m pretty full at this point and I haven’t even taken a bite from the burger as God had intended so I delve into a brioche roll that’s over flowing with burger sauce, mounds of bacon, cheese, jalapenos (lots and lots of jalapenos) and another average burger patty – and it’s a fairly pleasant experience, but nothing overwhelming as the power of the peppers take over. In the end I lose the roll, and go at it like a steak smothered in peppercorn sauce and finally call it quits with half a burger and a few onion rings remaining.
To sums things up, the Smoke Haus comes with a lot of hype and the amount of food is reasonable for the prices charged, but much like Manchester United this season, it is just hype and having a few fancy side dishes (Di Maria & Falcao) doesn’t make it complete.
This time, it’s a 2.5/5 as my expectation level was very high and not met. But despite my average mark I do look forward to going back; I’d prefer a flame grilled burger if I’m honest, but perhaps a clearer head and a lower expectation will prove to be the catalyst of their improvement, if you catch my drift?