Monday, April 24, 2017

Café 440 Cheeseburger Review

If you look closely, you can see people dining al fresco on a gloomy Spring night.
I can assure you in the eight months between posts, Jerome and I have been packing away the cheeseburgers. We’ve just been too lethargic afterward to write about it…until now. For our first review after our hiatus, we decided to see what Café 440 was packing. I’d been there once before to have their BBQ Pork Nachos, and they were darn good. I knew they were the kind of place that took pride in everything they made. So, I had to drag Jerome there. Here is what happened:

Jerome’s Review
Cafe 440 was an exceptional dining experience with mindful staff and a pleasant, homey feeling. The décor appeared to be somewhat music themed. I enjoyed the food immensely and frankly was surprised with the burst of flavor when I first took a bite of my burger. I eyed my burger cautiously but was pleasantly surprised when I tasted the local beef and bacon. The burger was perfectly cooked and left me begging for more. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone who hasn’t previously attended. Even if you are just in town for a visit, it is well worth the detour.
Just look at those juices!

James’s Review
Cheeseburger 23/25
Café 440 offers a boilerplate Knee Deep Burger that is six ounces of hand-pressed, local, grass-fed ground beef from Knee Deep Cattle Company. Instead of asking how I wanted it cooked, they just asked if medium was okay. Usually, with fresh local beef, I prefer medium rare, but I figured when in Rome, eat a medium burger. Well, it ended up coming out medium well. Judging from the juices that collected on Jerome’s plate, his was closer to medium.

You essentially build your own burger and are given a number of specialty topping options for an additional charge. I chose a fat slice of Tillamook cheddar. The cheeseburger was served on a sweet brioche bun. The flavors were great. They even seasoned the patty well.
The meal has arrived.

Fries 24/25
One of the popular appetizers at Café 440 is their Poutine. I really wanted to try it, but the $11 price tag was a bit much for me, and I didn’t want to be too full to eat my burger. So, I asked the server if I could get my side of fries “poutinized.” He said it was not possible and that the chef refused to do this. I was heartbroken, to say the least.

Fortunately, the fries they serve are breaded to perfection. They clearly make their own with great care. And, they brought me plenty of mayonnaise and ketchup to dip them in. Bucky was also a fan. He ate most of Jerome’s fries.
Bucky reviewing the fries.

Cost 19/25
Café 440 is a bit pricey for Eugene. My cheeseburger and fries cost $12, but it was more than enough food for me. Nonetheless, I ate it all anyway. For a family of four (including two alcohol drinkers), you’re looking at $60 or more with tip. This makes Café 440 more of a “nice night out” kind of place.

Ambiance 10/15
We went at a little after 7 on a Friday evening, and the place was packed with upper-

middle-class schmoes smelling like cologne and perfume. We had to raise our voices to hear each other. There was a 25-minute wait (which was accurately predicted by the hostess), so I had plenty of time to sit in the waiting area and judge people. There were the upper management-type guys trying out their manly posturing. There was the lady who was several sheets to the wind trying to walk to the bathroom in stilettos. It didn’t go well.

At one point, there was a dude yelling quite loudly. I noticed everyone turned to look in his direction. My back was to him, so I didn’t know what was going on, but I’d assume Erin would tell me if he was a danger to anyone.

Service 6/10
First of all, the entire six goes to our waiter who did a great job, but the service is not all about the waiter. I’m just pissed and going to hold a grudge about the chef not letting me get a side of poutine with my burger. I’m sure I’ll be back to Café 440 specifically for the poutine, and maybe then, I’ll have a change of heart. But, until then, I am full of spite.

Café 440’s Overall Score: 82/100

Their burgers and fries were on point. They just lost points in the other areas. For the best experience, I would recommend not going on a Friday night unless you like waiting and rowdiness. Also, go when you have some change to spend and a huge appetite. Maybe share a full order of poutine with some friends…if the chef even lets you share.