I am a fan of Alden and Harlow in general, however I put this under the category of a fool and their money are soon parted. On New Years Eve they are offering a special “baller” burger. According to chef Scelfo’s Instagram it features kobe tartar (the burger appears to be their standard beef, the tartar is a topping), Rush Creek reserve cheese, seared foie gras, shaved white truffle, and Feather Brook pullet egg.
That’s not a burger. That’s a bunch of expensive ingredients on a homemade bun.
I’m always wary of restaurants that try to make vanity food around gold leaf, truffles, foie gras, kobe beef…
I’d rather have an expensive burger centered around expensive sourced aged beef (i.e.: lets pay the price it takes to have the best variant of it… like the famous black label burger). In Montreal you can have a foie gras burger but its 39$ and its made by a guy who wants to put foie gras in everything and tries to get better at it in an iterative way:
I like Alden & Harlow a lot, but grinding up Wagyu entirely obviates what is wonderful about it. Not a flattering reflection on Scelfo’s sensibilities as a chef. I know he knows better.
This kind of self-congratulatory wretched-excess awfulness crops up periodically. The most recent local example I can recall is Wink & Nod’s idiotic $100 “Black Card Cocktail”, promoted by an opening bar manager who was swiftly, mercifully shown the door. (Pretty decent bar program these days by South End standards, though that is still woefully faint praise. Where is our Hawthorne, goddamnit?!)
This kind of gimmicky promo always reads like a patently cynical way to separate hapless, well-heeled rubes from their money. If you’re going to do it, I suppose that New Year’s Eve, the original Amateur Night, is the right moment for it. But it always stinks of exploitation of naive vanity, like pushing Cristal when a hundred other Champagnes at that price are far superior. Strip by Strega? This is their wheelhouse. Alden? I feel a little ashamed for them.
Curious what grade of kobe beef he uses, and how many ounces one gets. To MC’s point, Japanese A5 wagyu is already so marbled and tender that it doesn’t need to be ground up to be put in or on a burger, a single piece can just be seared and put between the buns. At a typical restaurant price (at least in San Francisco) of roughly $100 for 3 oz of A5 wagyu, one can judge whether the Alden & Harlow burger exceeds market price or not. Ps. Picture of Iberico ham slider for $8 at Jaleo in vegas
I am not going to get into what non beef ingredients are added on top or into the grind but as for the beef itself its a total waste of money to grind extremely expensive highly marbled beef, be it high US Prime, Kobe or Wagyu. Additional kidney fat can be added @ .50 cents lb to any grade of beef to increase the fat %.
Different cut combinations have different flavor profiles and as Captcrunch said dry aged beef adds yet another flavor profile. Additionally adding grass fed/finished beef will also change the “beef” flavor profile as will things like adding Bison to the grind.
There are some well-respected bar programs who offered that gin (the Nolet’s Family Reserve) on their menu for $100/pour (like Eastern Standard) though. I believe the bottle is ~$700 store cost. Promoting your bar with a cocktail using that and using valuable real estate on a cocktail menu with that are two other issues.