Friday, July 6, 2012

The Petrol Station

The Petrol Station isn't really a burger joint. It's a beer bar. One of Houston's finest if you are a fan of really bitter beer. It just so happens that they take their burgers seriously enough to merit a little attention. Let's go get a burger.

The bar itself is an old converted gas station in the middle of a neighborhood. There is a patio that wraps all the way around the building and the inside features a few picnic style tables, but generally you should be prepared to deal with being outside with nothing but umbrellas for shade. Murphy's Law states that you're going to be stuck in direct sunlight because the umbrellas are never in the right spot. I seriously carry sunblock when I go here to keep my bald head from catching fire. In the colder seasons they do have patio heaters that really help keep it comfortable outside.

The beer selection is a constantly rotating selection of thirty-plus beers that will be different just about every time you go in unless you go in more than once every week or so. Keg pops, they put a new one on that's generally completely different, and then they write it up on the chalkboards that act as a menu. No light beer. You can get your hands on a few entry-level dark beers but 95% of their selection is weapons-grade brew that's going to try, and often succeed, at donkey kicking you in the teeth.

We aren't here to talk too much about the beers though. We're here for burgers. On this day, the kitchen had just finished a major remodeling that had them not cooking in the back for over a month and they were cranking out a menu of just burgers to get back into the swing of things. I went up with @codyhaskell and we ordered a couple of standard pub burgers. The only difference between our orders was that I ordered mine with fries covered in rosemary and feta cheese. The kitchen has always been a little slow. I've never seen food in under a half an hour, and I've had it take a full hour, but there's beer to be had. Patience is a necessity here. You generally start losing track of time after your second >8% ABV beer anyways.

This time the wait was about forty-five minutes, but there it is. As you can see, the burgers are not very large in diameter, but they are tall. You have to squeeze it down a little to get the whole thing in your mouth unless you were gene-spliced with some kind of reptile in a government experiment and can unhinge your jaw. Toppings? You get the standard loadout of tomato, pickle, lettuce and onion as well as a rather generous helping of mayonnaise and your choice of the standard cheese types that include American, Swiss, cheddar... or you could just blow everyone's mind and not get cheese at all. That's a real power move. (I got Swiss).

One cool thing about this trip is that we literally saw a local bakery deliver the buns for these burgers about twenty minutes before we ordered and you could definitely tell the difference that having fresh bread right off of a delivery makes. Of all the ingredients where freshness matters, bread is always the most important, as it can lose its character fast. The grease factor on this sandwich is not very high. The mayonnaise does get a little drippy on the hot sandwich but eating it, even with squeezing it to fit it in your mouth, is a relatively clean experience. I especially like that the chef has the juevos to crank out a solid medium burger unless you order it otherwise. It leaves that meat with some serious flavor in it.

Getting the garlic and grated parmesean or the feta and rosemary fries should be required. It's an extra two bucks but to miss out is a mistake that could doom your future children to having soft heads and weak spines. The regular fries are good already. They are hand cut and fried hard so that they are really crispy on the outside and the larger ones are still nice and fluffy on the inside. Those extra toppings you can get? They'll have you crying tears of joy.

Does this burger make it into our top three in Houston? No. Even with something this good, there's only so much space on the leaderboard. Are you some kind of idiot if you like beer and ignore this burger? Pretty much. It's a delectable burger and writing this up has me thinking about how I want another one right now. That statement alone should say everything. Find The Petrol Station at 985 Wakefield Dr, or just check out the burger map.

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