The burgers all arrived almost simultaneously- impressive for a group of 20+. Of course, this means that there were probably a few mix-ups and a few overdone burgers, but that's pretty much par for the course. The burger is described as topped with crispy bacon, cheddar, herb sauce and onion marmalade, and is a hefty serving living up to it's $15 price tag.
In examining the burger upon it's arrival, it's clear there are a few changes from the menu description. Shredded lettuce and tomato are little extras (fine by me but not by all others) and the "onion marmalade" clearly had raisins within. I don't like raisins, and I definitely don't want them on my burger next to lettuce and bacon. That's just weird. Thankfully, the mix consists primarily of caramelized onions which were easy to remove.
The bun was a good fit for the meat, with a floury surface and a light texture. The bacon and cheddar added the necessary salt and grease to the well seasoned lean beef. The patty isn't monstrously thick, making it that much harder for the chef to reach the requested medium-rare. The lack of pink didn't kill this burger, though- a definite sign of a well prepared sandwich made with quality ingredients.
Other club members decided the onion marmalade really made the burger- a hint of cinnamon and sweetness was reminiscent of an empanada. I'm still not convinced that either cinnamon or raisins belong in a burger, but to each their own- and again, a nod to the chef for making such an odd topping a hit with many in our group. The crispy fries lightly coated in shaved pepper jack cheese were a good complement to the meal - a special touch to an otherwise normal side. Since we never actually perused the rest of the menu at the restaurant, I'm not convinced I'll make it back here for a regular meal. But if you're in the neighborhood and need a solid burger in a lively atmosphere, Red Owl could be your spot.
Red Owl Tavern
433 Chestnut Street