50 NW Louisiana Burgers with Zach Bührer – Week Nine: Zocolo Neighborhood Eatery & Drinkery

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.

zocolos_06162016_001Their 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?

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#DreamofBurgerBifurcation

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.

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Epic blue cheese shot.

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.

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A basket of potato chips.

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.