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Restaurant Sat Jan 17 2009
Last weekend, Merge scribe and local blog diva Jasmine Davila and I headed to the Macy's State Street seventh-floor food court to sample the popular-but-pricey Marc Burger (Yelp link) that recently set up shop there. After two Angus burgers, two frozen custards, and fleeing for our lives before a phalanx of fast-approaching snow plows later that afternoon, we concur: the burgers are alarmingly expensive. But oh, so nom-nommy good.
First off, yes I get that Marcus Samuelsson is a famous chef and all that. But we're in a food court, people. Even America's top Mexican culinary expert Rick Bayless understood that when he opened the marvelous-but-modestly-priced Frontera Fresco counter sitting immediately next door to Samuelsson's. But the star here is the extra-love-added Angus Burger, and at $13 a pop, it's eye-poppingly pricey for a limited-hours lunch cafeteria.
JDav I and I ended up dropping about $20 each for individual Angus burgers, vanilla frozen custards (also on order behind the counter), and refillable pops. It's a shame our food cost as much as it did, because those burgers were good enough to roll around naked in, much less come back a second time for.
And what burgers they are. Half a pound of premium "grass-fed" Angus beef with house steak sauce, grilled medium and juicy (they made mine rare on request), topped with cheddar and a fried egg (almost the best part). JDav and I bathed in the abundant drippings and didn't much come up for air thanks to sides of pleasantly mayonnaise-bereft cole slaw, crunchy garlic fries that seemed almost to be infused with starch (a la Burger King but far better), and a container of I-wish-I'd-thought-of-this cayenne-infused ketchup.
Seriously, all we did was smile and eat, every now and again eyeing our empty custard cups (they give you the cup and you return to the counter to fill it up when you're done with your burger). The custard was alright but uninspiring; in this town, my heart belongs to Lakeview's seasonal Scooter's. But the whole experience was enough to regress us into 12-year-olds--after our meal, we sat there giggling and having a bubble-blowing contest into our refilled pops.
Samuelsson's Angus Burger easily ties Muskie's meat sandwich as my favorite hamburger in Chicago. If I could only afford to eat there as regularly as I eat at Frontera Fresco, the place would be perfect.
Long story short, Marcus, your food-court burger is phenomenal. But Marcus, your food-court burger is in a food court. However long it actually lasts there given the ridiculous prices you're charging for charred protein is anybody's guess.
But I've got my fried-egg timer out, just in case.
Macy's State Street--7th Floor Food Court
111 N. State Street, Chicago