Chef Jason’s Signature Burger
After a brief creative hiatus, I have returned once again to my dais at Heliopolis! I come bearing news of another wonderful hamburger that I’ve eaten in our beloved Arklatex.
Many years ago, I worked in the Ashley Ridge Business Park off of Ellerbe in South Shreveport, and hidden away in this hive of medical clinics and industry is Zocolo Neighborhood Eatery & Drinkery. Though their menu offers plenty that I will always be adventurous enough to try, including delicious pizza, we all know that I’m here strictly for the burgers.
Their selection of hamburgers was diverse, a frustrating charm that is always a good sign. Back in my days of being very much the regular, my favorite was the Cowboy Burger, which had battered and fried jalapeno chips, and a number of other Southwestern-style ingredients and flavors. Unfortunately this specific burger has only very recently been cut from their new menu, making way for many new and exciting options.
It was a hard choice between the Caprese — with its fresh mozzarella, tomato, and balsamic reduction; not to even consider my love for a crisp pesto. The lemon and caper aioli that the menu boasted to include on the Salmon Burger was enough to make me curious.
There are keywords that I use when I scan a menu for a good burger to try. Words like “in-house,” “specialty,” and in my choice selection for this meal, Chef Jason’s Signature. Caramelized onion, bacon jam, pepper aioli, dill pickled zucchini, arugula, and my choice of cheese?
An amazing combination of ingredients, even from the sound of it! It met all of my requirements, but it did seem familiar in a way that I had not expected to have to deal with in this series. In writing this deposition, I am conflicted. Despite my own indulgent perspicacity that would have me so fervently defy any compulsion to rate or compare any one burger to another — my nearly inexpressible creed that no two burgers are in any way alike and absolutely cannot be compared by any reasonable metric — Chef Jason’s Signature does what Blue Southern Comfort Foods seemed to be trying to do with their Blue Burger, which you can read about here.
My comparison stops there, as I would not dare allow any inference among our readership that I would say that either burger is better than the other. I can only encourage you to try them both and arrive at your own conclusion.
The arugula was the first thing to capture my attention; crunchy and bitter, counting a two-step inseparable with a surprisingly sweet peppered aioli. I could scarcely dare what either would bring to this sandwich without the other. These two, with the sharply-flavored pickled zucchini slice would have made an amazing salad on their own. I would have actually preferred more zucchini, even on the side. I could have eaten them right out of the jar.
I had chosen blue cheese from my options, which not only came in a very generous portion (to my excitement), and summarily turned out to be an excellent transition stratum between the stark vegetables and the softly savory meats.
The bacon jam was a surprisingly small player, though certainly not lacking in its own distinguished flair. The subtle hint of smoky pork was not overcomplicated by any extreme flavor. It tasted of pork in a sweet rendering of its own fat and spices. Though it did not trounce the existing balance of character, it did contribute to its falling apart. I ended up having to eat the messy latter half of my sandwich with a knife and fork.
On the side I had a basket of potato chips, which I neglected for most of my meal. When I finally did remember that they were there, I couldn’t stop eating them. They had a curious flavor, very heavy on garlic and strongly of onion and chives. It was impossible to place until I asked my server how in the world they got such a dense impression of flavor into each chip.
Ranch dressing mix. A simple solution to make an elegant, arguably healthy side dish of home-cut potato chips taste like delicious junk food. I think we can all take a page out of the Zocolo book on this one; I know I’ll be trying that with my next batch of homemade potato chips.
I shook Chef Jason’s hand myself and thanked him for the excellent experience. Zocolo Neighborhood Eatery & Drinkery, I look forward to coming back and trying another burger soon. You can find their hours, specials, and full menu on their Facebook page.