If any adorable raccoons or waterfowl are reading this, take a moment to heave a furry or feathery sigh of relief. Unlike every other bar, eatery, cafeteria, boutique, nail salon, RadioShack, locksmithery, and baseball diamond recently constructed in the greater Seattle area, there is ZERO taxidermy at Fremont's Uneeda Burger. Unless ground-up cow stuffed into a sesame seed bun and reclining on a plate in a pose of edibility counts as taxidermy. Which it DOESN'T. It counts as delicious.
Housed in a converted garage (the name is reportedly a holdover from Uneeda Get Your Engine Fixed Engine Repair or whatever), Uneeda Burger's decor is quietly stylish without being overthunk. No crouching beasts, no splintery reclaimed lumber, no twee Dewey decimal drawers. Just chairs, tables, the occasional rusted auto parts sign (authentic, you see!), garage doors to be thrown open in summertime, and an appealing be-picnic-tabled outdoor patio. On a recent 40-degree Tuesday afternoon, the outdoor tables were occupied despite the frigidness, with patrons shoving burger chunks through cinched-up hood holes. Which brings me to the burger chunks. Let us discuss.
The menu at Uneeda Burger (the latest in the Zoe/Quinn's family) opens with a brief novella: "Our burgers are made with all-natural Painted Hills beef. Sub out Whidbey Island Crescent Harbor 100% Wagyu (Kobe) Grass-Fed beef for an additional $3.00/$4.00." Whidbey Island Crescent Harbor 100% Wagyu (Kobe) Grass-Fed beef!? That's ten extra words fancying up that patty! It's saying: This cow ate only sweet grasses and sunshine. This cow was massaged daily by sexy cow concubines. This cow slept each night on a feather bed, spooning with the emperor of Whidbey Island himself. This cow moos rainbows. But could this cow really taste a whole $3 better than your average upper-middle-class suburban cow? This was the perfect opportunity to combine my three main interests in life: blindness, taste tests, and hamburgers. SCORE.
We ordered two burgers, sticking with the basics: the Classic, an absurdly reasonable $4—with the heavily-adjectivally-modified super-patty surcharge bringing burger number two to $7—plus bacon ($1.50) and cheddar cheese (75¢). When the burgers came out, the obliging cashier placed a secret slip of paper beneath each plate, denoting which was made with the regular Painted Hills beef and which was the magical rainbow-mooing royal beef of the gods. Would we be able to tell?
Now, either I'm totally good at being blind or OH MY FUCKING GOD IT WAS SO OBVIOUS. First of all, let me say that both burgers were excellent. Nothing wrong with relatively well-off suburban cows. Painted Hills, A+. HOWEVER. The Wagyu burger was a revelation. I mean literally like the book of Revelation, like eight flaming man-goats descended on fiery Segways and beat me in the face with their righteous swords of deliciousness. Luckily, I left before they turned all the milk shakes (local Empire Ice Cream, hand dipped, $5, with lots of extra in the tin cup) to blood. Jerks.
The Wagyu patty was soft without being insubstantial, drippier, darker, and beefier than its counterpart. The Wagyu burger made you forget that ketchup exists. Seriously, it was so good. If my mother were a cow, I would still eat this hamburger. If I were a hamburger, I would eat this hamburger. If I were this hamburger, I would eat myself. (I would also like to take a moment to thank Uneeda Burger for recognizing the perfect simplicity of a sesame seed bun. Dear every restaurant in the world ever: I am not a pit bull. Please stop forcing me to break my jaw on a leathery ciabatta roll when all I want is a fucking BUN.)
That said, there are reasons (beyond the extra charge) not to upgrade your patty. Specifically, Uneeda Burger's cray-cray menu of one-third-pound "Signature" burgers. It would be foolish to smother such platonic beef beneath the Philly Smash (charred peppers and onions, Gruyère, special sauce, $7.75), the BBQ Smash (charred onions, bacon, cheddar, barbecue sauce, $8.50), the Sonora (roasted chili relish, jack cheese, cilantro, $8), or—god-for-fucking-bid—the Madame (Black Forest ham, Gruyère, Dijon-mayo, truffled shoestring potatoes, AND A FUCKING FRIED-ASS EGG, $9). Why a person who is not caught up in some Jason Statham–esque Crank-type situation (wherein they have to keep their calorie count above 50,000 per day or else their heart will implode—don't steal that, Hollywood) would EVER need to eat a hamburger with actual ham on it, I will never understand. I have never been eating a ham-and-egg breakfast sandwich and thought to myself, "You know what would really make my morning meal complete? If there were a great big dripping ground-beef puck stuck in here, too!" But one thing I do know—piling all that stuff on top of a Wagyu magic patty should be against the law. When I'm in charge, it will be (2012, you guys—write me in).
Oh, and also, aside from the chocolate milk shake (AWESOME, even though it was technically a black-and-white, which I usually do NOT condone), everything else was kind of legit gross. Onion rings ($4) were battered so thickly they resembled Krispy Kreme doughnuts with a fryer-fat glaze of visible grease. And a small Cobb salad ($5)—despite a promising abundance of hard-boiled egg—was weirdly both sweet and bitter, with a dressing reminiscent of frozen Minute Maid lemonade concentrate. We picked out the bacon and left the rest. But you know what? Guess how much I cared? Zero. Zero much. I am smitten with another.
Whidbey Island Crescent Harbor 100% Wagyu (Kobe) Grass-Fed Beef, will you accept this rose?