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Restaurant Fri Jan 15 2010
There's a newish burger joint in Evanston called, Edzo's (1571 Sherman Ave.). It actually opened a few months ago, but I decided to give it some time to get the kinks worked out before writing a review. It's gotten a lot of glowing and informative articles extolling the virtues of a regular burger joint where the owner cared enough to grind the meat daily and cut french fries daily.
See, I was just as excited as many other people working in downtown Evanston that there was a new place to eat. So I went during the first week it was open. The food was great, exactly what I'd hoped it would be, but the overall experience was less than impressive. But I understood that the restaurant had only been open for a few days, there were dozens of people wanting exactly what I did exactly when I did and consequently, it took a long time to get my PBB sandwich and fries. That's a Peanut Butter Bacon sandwich. And it was great, as were the fries. And Ed himself came out to deliver my sandwich and apologize for the delay.
A few weeks later I went back and had a fantastically perfect Single Cheeseburger with Pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. The burger was cripsy along the edges, the bun was lightly toasted but still soft enough to soak up the juices from the burger, and the vegetables were cold and crisp and fresh.
I decided to splurge and get the Buffalo fries since I'd already had the plain fries and found them tasty but pretty plain in comparison to some of their other offerings. The Buffalo fries were cooked extra crispy. A shot of warmed Buffalo sauce was placed into a metal bowl, my fries were added, some tossing happened, and then it was served with crumbled blue cheese on top and a few sticks of celery. The extra crispy fries that are then tossed with sauce is a great idea because it prevents the fries from getting soggy. And I'm a huge fan of fries that are crunchy and headed toward crispy. The Buffalo sauce was lightly spicy and the occasional bit of blue cheese balanced it out.
Altogether it was a great lunch. But a burger, fries, and a soft drink set me back more than $10 which makes this a "treat" lunch instead of an everyday lunch. Which is fine, since I don't need to eat those fries everyday, even though I would like to.
So I had one great experience under my belt and one that had some understandable issues. So a few weeks later I went back with someone else. He got the Char Burger done Medium Rare and I got a Single with Merkt's Cheddar. It was admittedly a day that Ed expected to be incredibly slow but ended up being a very busy day. He'd even had to have his busser grind more meat so he could keep making burgers to fill the orders that wouldn't stop. He was obviously short-staffed but doing his best to keep out of the weeds and keep the people in line laughing.
We ordered the Truffle Fries to share. They came with truffle salt on them instead of truffle oil, which meant that they taste delicious and weren't soggy and were therefore something I found myself thinking about frequently the rest of the day. My dining partner's Char Burger was cooked a little closer to Medium than Medium Rare but since it was still juicy and flavorful, he felt that it was a quibbling difference and commenced to enjoying it instead. My single came perfectly cooked again. Still juicy and tender but crispy along the edges, perfectly salted and the bun was great. In fact, the burger was so great that I was halfway through eating it before I realized that I didn't have all of the toppings I'd asked for. The line was still 10 people long, the busser was hauling tubs of meat to the line, Ed was sweating, and frankly the burger was tasty enough that I didn't miss my tomato. But, I knew I'd have to go back one more time. You know. Just to be sure.
On that visit, a coworker got the extra spicy Angry Fries. Her assessment "Oh, they're delightful! Spicy but still flavorful. And hey! They're still crunchy. That's fantastic!" She got the Sheboygan Brat and said that it tasted like summer so she was happy. I got the hand-dipped corndog which was the best I'd had in years. The corn coating was light but flavorful. Dense enough to provide chew, but not so dense that it tasted gummy. Made me want to do a taste test between Edzo's and Hot Doug's to see how they compare. And I got one of their $5 milkshakes that actually only costs $4. I got it with Nutella. I'd seen someone send a Nutella shake back because it tasted too strong. I didn't think it was possible, but I'm a fan of hazlenut spread. One slurp into it and there was no way I was going to send it back. The texture of the shake was creamy but not too thick for a straw, and the ratio of ice cream to Nutella was perfect in my opinion.
So despite some understandable service snafus, my experience with the food at Edzo's has been continuously top-notch and delicious. It's now one of my favorite lunch places (I may actually go back tomorrow). And you really can taste the difference in the fries and the burgers since they're made fresh every day and to order. This means it is going to take a little more time, especially when they're busy, but Edzo's is worth the wait and the cost. And if you like Doug Sohn, you'll like Ed. They both make you feel like you're visiting an extension of their personal kitchen when you eat with them. And that just isn't something you get at the average fast food joint.