Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: The Hubcap Grill and Beer Yard in the Heights

I have been told repeatedly by many, many locals that I aboslutely MUST go and try The Hubcap Grill, as they have some unique and awesome burgers.  So during 4th of July weekend, I drove downtown to go try them only to find them CLOSED.  UGH!  Well, they opened a 2nd location in the heights near TC Jester and W 20th Avenue, and decided to go there and hit them up, but getting out there from Westchase, when you're working a full time job and occupied with family activities is not always easy.  However, I finally made some time and got myself out there recently and boy was I glad that I did. 

The Hubcap Grill has a large number of specialty burgers.  Examples include the Triple Heart Clogger (Beef Patty, grilled weiner, bacon and cheese), the Quadrouple Heart Clogger (same as triple, plus includes Chili), A Greek Burger (similar to NikoNiko's and Tornado Burger: beef patty, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, onions, green bell peppers, lettuce, tomato & Hubcap mayo sauce) and a unique Sticky Monkey Burger (Beef patty with crunchy peanut butter, bacon, American cheese and grilled bananas).  When I visit a new place for the first time, I usually go with a Bacon Cheeseburger with grilled onions.  I added a fried egg since I like them on a burger where available.  I also enjoyed some of their Bacon-Cheese Fries with it and a Dr. Pepper.  So without further ado, here is your:

Hubcap Grill Bacon Cheeseburger
And Bacon Cheese Fries
Hubcap Grill Bacon Cheeseburger Blueprint:
1/3 lb Grilled all-beef patty
American Cheese
Thick Slices of Hickory Smoked Bacon
Grilled Yellow Onions
Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle
Fried Egg, Sunny-side up
Easy Mayo
on a Locally Sourced Bun

The patty is thick, fairly juicy and has some ooze which mixed in with the ooze from the toppings.  The architecture was mixed--mayo, grilled onions and cheese on top, lettuce, tomato, pickle on bottom.  The burger tasted like is was seasoned with a mixture of black pepper, paprika, salt and a touch of garlic powder.  The meat was properly cooked--hot throughout, not bloody or cold, but not burned either.  The veggies were very fresh and crispy--nothing limp or mushy.  The bun was able to hold most of the ingredients together very well.  The bacon was sweet with hickory smoked taste, not too thin or hard crunchy, not too thick or fatty.  Overall a good combination of flavours.  The only criticism I'd have is that the grilled onions weren't as thoroughly grilled as I'd have liked them, but it's more a personal taste than anything else.  They were very generous with the amount of onions as well. 

Their fries are natural cut and are seasoned with a blend that is savoury and salty, but not excessively so.  The cheese sauce and crumbled bacon blend well with those potatoes for a wonderful snack/side dish that is bad for you but tastes oh so good!  They have other fries such as their Stinky Fries (splashed with malt vinegar and garlic salt) and their Hell Fries (topped with cayenne & chili powder with Siracha mayo sauce and jalapenos).  Those sound pretty good, but they also have regular fries and sweet potato fries too if that is your preference. 

One heads up:  on the counter at the Hubcap Grill is a sign that says something to the following effect: "This is NOT a Fast-Food Place.  You could wait between 20 and 35 minutes depending upon how busy it is.  Please be patient."  I consider this a good thing as setting the wait time expectations with the customer is important--especially if they have only a half hour for lunch.  Not all restaurants are proactive like this, so kudos to Hubcap Grill's management for that.

Since The Hubcap Grill is a very rustic place, I won't be grading them on atmosphere.  Most of the spaces to eat are on a Patio, which means that you have to deal with patio issues that can happen there.  It's no skin off my nose, but this is a heads up that this is NOT some FANCY Burger Joint where you can eat in a Tuxedo or Evening Gown. 

The Foodie Professor's Report Card for The Hubcap Grill and Beer Yard:
Bacon Cheeseburger: A-
Bacon Cheese Fries: A+
Cleanliness: A-
     Speed:  B
     Friendliness: A

Overall Grade: A-

The Hubcap Grill also has a location in Downtown Houston on Prairie Street.  I went to the Heights location at:

1133 W 19th St.
Houston, TX  77008

And Remember:
Eat Happy!!!
Zao an, Y'all!!!

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