Yes, the Great Burger Chase kicked off quickly, with a classically trained tasting panel scrutinizing two of Manito's burgers just a few days ago. The «Chef's Burger» and the «Tap House Burger» were to be vetted, and vetted they were.
As far as burgers go, these aren't cheap thrills, with the latter clocking in at $14; the former at $15. Once upon a time you could upgrade the patties to the grass-fed variety, but we were not offered that luxury. It makes me wonder if it's now just part of the package by default. Or that the upgrade simply isn't an option anymore. Seeing that it's not mentioned on the menu, it seems sort of unlikely that the server forgot about it, at least.
Either way, I can live with the higher prices. Quality ingredients don't come cheap, and there's a bit more to these burgers than there is to your common garden variety.
One thing is that they actually nail the doneness. Ordering my «Chef's» medium-rare, I didn't really have hopes of it coming out perfectly cooked, yet that's exactly what happened. Impressive.
I'm a fan of eggs on almost everything, and having one on the burger, yolk running all over it, is something I also approve of.
The aioli adds a little bit of a zesty zing to the palette, and goes well with the Jack cheese. Really, all in all, the toppings are about as good as one can expect.
Perhaps most importantly, though, is the bun, which is exactly what it should be here. Flavorful; one that you could eat by itself. Far off from the baseline Franz's standard so many go by.
As you've probably figured by now, we're talking some good burgers here. Manito has it down pretty dang well. It's not a cheap thrill, but it's a thrill nonetheless, and I can't see a situation where Manito wouldn't finish this chase way close to the top.
Photo courtesy of the Great Burger Chase's official photography studio, Erick Doxey Photography.