Dining Review: A damn fine burger

There is almost something spiritual about biting into a great burger, so Tel Aviv's Homeburger felt like the kotel.

burger 88 (photo credit: )
burger 88
(photo credit: )
My roommates and I love to debate. And, aside from the upcoming American elections and the finer points of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the most often discussed topic is: What makes a good burger? Philosophies range from the importance of a fresh homemade bun to the quality of the meat, and even includes side debates over seasoning and toppings, and location and atmosphere of the burger joint itself. Whatever it is, there is almost something spiritual about biting into a great burger and our quest to find the best burger in Israel has become something of a religious pursuit. As such, on my recent visit to the second branch of Homeburger, located along a newly renovated section of Tel Aviv's Ibn Gvirol Street, I felt like I was donning a black hat and visiting the kotel. We started the meal with a side salad that was light and refreshing, well dressed and very tasty, but in the immortal words of Homer J. Simpson, "You don't win friends with salad." Alas, it would be the meat that won this spectacular burger joint my eternal regards. My dining partner and I shared two of Homeburger's special burgers. The first was topped with bacon, cheese and an egg over-easy, and the second with fried onions and mushrooms. Both burgers were perfectly cooked to order, seasoned well and served on a tasty home-cooked bun - the fabled triple play. The first bite brought me back to the diner in my New Jersey hometown - and I can't think of a higher compliment than that to give a burger. Offered in three different sizes, you can have your burger if you're a kid (160g), for a snack (220g), for a meal (330g) or to quell an ostentatious appetite (400g). You can choose from a large variety of toppings; however, if the choice is too daunting, a tasting meal is offered of three small burgers, each of which may be topped as you choose. We also shared an order of wings in a spicy chili sauce. The wings were well-cooked, crispy on the outside and succulent and juicy on the inside. For Israel, this means they were great wings, though I'm still waiting to find actual buffalo wings with blue cheese for dippin'. Despite the sauce being tasty, in typical Israeli fashion it was the standard Asian-infused sauce, something of which I have grown a bit tired. Also, we sampled the BBQ sauce, which was easily passable. Our meal continued with a roast beef sandwich served on a ciabatta. The sandwich was simple yet satisfying, and offers a nice alternative to a burger (though I'm not sure why an alternative is needed). For those who don't care for red meat, a chicken sandwich is also available. The french fries and onion rings were crisp and tasty, and helped round out a great meal. Since eating at Homeburger, I have taken advantage of their delivery service on several occasions. One point stressed repeatedly by co-owner Niso Danny is the strong emphasis placed on quality ingredients. Though, he points out, one can not forget the actual gastronomical experience. For this reason, Homeburger's free delivery service was strategically planned to service a radius in which the burger's integrity is maintained even after the delay in its consumption. There is nothing fancy about this place and that is part of its charm. The battle for best burger in Tel Aviv is a tough one with a lot of fierce competition. I do say that Homeburger deserves one of the top slots - especially to break-up the current Agadir/Moses duopoly. My roommates and I all agree, that this is a burger worth inviting into your own home or making the pilgrimage to eat at theirs.