Located in Narragansett but away from the hustle and bustle of Narragansett Beach is Crazy Burger. The name might be a little deceiving, because it's more than just a burger joint. It has the feel of a hippie diner, and just like a diner, they serve breakfast every morning. Dinner entrees are more ambitious and more international than you might think, and there are far more vegetarian options than you'd ever think would come out of a burger joint.
Seating is mostly in roomy booths, even in the center of the dining room. There are a few stools at a counter and a heated gazebo in the back. Surprisingly, the gazebo is your best option in the colder months, because the heat lamps actually make it warmer than the inside. A bonus is that you get to walk through the kitchen for a backstage view of the action. As I walked through, they were grinding the beef.
I was a little reluctant to try Crazy Burger. I'd seen their burgers featured on Boston restaurant show Phantom Gourmet and national restaurant show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. They looked good on both shows, but I've been to too many restaurants featured on these shows only to find that the quality is nowhere near what was featured on camera. So I understandably went in with some skepticism.
There's no single standard vessel here. Instead, the various preconfigured options have their own bread type. These include a house bun, a whole wheat bun, rye bread and a grilled bolo (Portuguese bun).
It was almost as if I were on TV myself in that slow-motion magical moment where skepticism dissolved with my very first bite of the Moo Moo Melt (basically a patty melt). Man, this was no ordinary beef. Drenched in beefy moisture and impossibly gentle of grind, it had a feel unlike any I'd tried before. Flavor was very simple and natural. Although there might not have been any hifalutin cuts, the beefiness and freshness still came through. As I took more bites, it was the texture that grabbed me most of all. Sure, it's ground in house, but a lot of burger meat is ground in house. This beef had a grind that was exquisite.
I'm a contrast guy, so I enjoyed the extremities of the hard shell crust on the outside and the more luscious (on most examples) texture within.
Looking at the photos, you'll notice that doneness varied, but that's because I shared burgers with someone who likes them more done than I do. For the most part, Crazy Burger got the doneness right. One exception was the second visit's Whassupy burger, which was dry.
Seasoning varied too, but that seemed to be less a matter of inconsistency and more a matter of different approaches with different burgers. The Whassupy's dryness was somewhat mitigated by a liberal and potent sesame-fennel-wasabi rub.
I'll go burger by burger, and comment more on bun specifics while I'm at it, because it seems to make more sense here than above.
Moo Moo Melt: This one gets richness not only from the beef, cheese and expected butter quotient of the grilled rye, but unexpected Mayo as well. It's not that identifiable, really, but it's noticeable in that it elevates the overall package. I'm tempted to say the same of the cheese, which got a decent melt both times and is clearly visible, but it's the beef that's out in front, and that's how I like it. The rye bread came out perfect the first time, a little too done the second time, and buttered both times as much as you can without getting greasy. This is the burger I'd recommend first.
Plain and Simple Burger: Tried both times as a bacon cheeseburger, this showcased the beef well, just like the patty melt. Cheese was solid and light on the first go-round, then liquid and completely engulfing the patty on the second. Bacon was decent both times, with a crisper effort more recently. But the Portuguese bun was the big attraction both times. If you've never had one, think English muffin, only bigger, softer, sweeter and more pliable.
Whassupy Burger: Easily my least favorite of the three burgers I've tried. This one had the most seasoning, which was a plus, but with the exception of that and the namesake wasabi mayo on the side (great for fry dipping too), the rest of the cast—partially melted brie, unnecessary onion rings, dry whole wheat bun—just didn't do it for me. Again, that's me; your mileage may vary.
So three burgers, two very good to great, one not so great. I'd say that's good.
The Fries (and Such)
Fries: Crisp, not at all dry, well seasoned and homemade tasting, these might not make the fry pantheon but they certainly got the job done.
Sweet potato fries: Same deal, only darker. For whatever reason, getting homemade sweet potato fries is a rarer feat than homemade regular fries, and these were even more homemade tasting.
Asian slaw: Crisp and flavor packed (with ginger leading the way) the first time, this might have been too recently made to deliver much flavor the second time.
This joint was rocking and rolling both times, and the staff could not have been more patient, professional and joyful. It's obvious just from watching them in action that they have a passion for both their jobs and the restaurant.
There may only be a handful of beef burger choices, but there are also several different vegetarian burger options (nuts, tempeh, soy, mushroom) as well as chicken, lamb, salmon and turkey burgers. If you have a vegerarian in tow, this is the place you can have a burger without feeling like you're eating alone.
The Bottom Line
Friendly service and a departure from the same ol' grind. Not every burger was a hit, but there were more hits than misses and some of the hits were home runs. The constant was the luxurious beef grind that tasted right and felt right. I consider myself a fan and I'll certainly be back.
Other Opinion/ Info
Yelp reviews of Crazy Burger
Urbanspoon reviews of Crazy Burger
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