I used to be an honorary guest of a burger club (honorary and not a member because the club usually met at all hours, when I was working). Time Out magazine comes out with an issue every year that talks about the Top 100 burgers in NYC. Some friends of mine decided to put that list to the test, creating their own scorecards and everything. They met at least 3-4 times a week. While I love burgers, I can feel my arteries clogging every time I think of eating that many burgers in one week. I did manage to sit in on some pretty spectacular and a few very craptacular burgers. Things we judged: quality of meat and flavor, texture and juiciness, how appropriately cooked it was, the bun, the size, and the garnishes.
Either way, I was shocked at all of the seafood burgers. Brian admittedly took the same ingredients from the BBQ challenge and transformed his sausage into a burger. I always find it strange when contestants can't let go of a certain ingredient or dish, and repeat themselves. Just because there's a different judge doesn't mean you should make it again (small repertoire). I got to sample all of the camera plates, and I have to say that Howie's burger was delicious. Big gooey flavors, though the strength of the Taleggio did linger, but he was one of the only ones who made a real beef burger. Dale's tuna burger was also tasty (I love fried eggs on anything), but I found the truffle oil all over it overpowered the tuna. CJ had a very tasty shrimp burger. The wheel of citrus he added as garnish added not on moisture to each bite, but refreshing acidity.
We considered what sort of prize the quickfire winner should get for a while. When we decided that the winner should be able to pick his/her own team for Restaurant Wars, I thought it would throw an interesting dynamic into the rest of the contestants. It's like dodge ball....now you know where you stand with certain individuals. I remember "Restaurant Wars" like it was yesterday. One very entertaining episode. This time around, the contestants got a lot more money for food and decoration, and most importantly, they got to cook out of the Top Chef kitchen.