Big’z Burger Joint, where you can “Make it Dirty”

13 11 2007

bigz-burger.jpgI haven’t had the opportunity to eat at Andrew Weissman’s nationally acclaimed French restaurant, le Reve (praised by the NY Times and Texas Monthly), but I have eaten at his burger joint, Big’z. You can’t miss the barn-looking red metal building on Loop 1604 on the NW side of San Antonio. This is a great location and the building has been designed to accommodate a large number of people with indoor and outdoor seating and a safe and large open area out back for kids to play, although I did not see any kids playing there (nor anything for them to play with had they chosen to do so, mind you). The interior is clean and the seating is well-spaced, although the ceiling height is a little out of scale. The earthy ochre and terracotta paint scheme blends well with the corrugated sheet metal wainscot.

But, enough of the building and decor, and on to the food. The menu is pretty simple, though burgers and fries are the main event here. The burgers can be ordered as singles (1/2 lb.), doubles (1 lb.), or a gut-busting triple (1-1/2 lbs.). There are also three sizes of fries that are ordered and served in “cones.” Beer and wine are available, which is a must if this place is to see the likes of people like my dad, who enjoys a beer with practically any food he eats.

Reviewing burgers is a very subjective task. Ask ten people where they get their favorite burger and you are likely to get ten different answers (“my own backyard” being one of them). My personal opinion is that the burgers at Big’z are nothing special. The one thing I appreciate is to be able to get full, and that I did with a single burger and a regular order of fries to split with my wife and son. However, I felt that the burger was under-seasoned, and thus, lacked flavor. Signs at the register and on the menu indicate that the patties will be cooked with a little pink inside unless requested otherwise. I decided to let it be, since I wanted to taste the burger as the chef designed it. Many burger aficionados say that the bun should never detract from the meat. However, as I already mentioned the meat was fairly tasteless. This bun was plain and didn’t even appear to be grilled. In fact, the bottom bun was already soggy when I got it, which is a pretty funky texture on any sandwich. I asked for cheddar on my burger and it, too, lacked flavor. This joint uses Roma tomatoes and Romaine lettuce on their burgers. I found the Romas to be small, few, and a little too ripe for my taste, and the lettuce lacked the crisp texture of iceberg that most people are looking for in their sandwich. You can “Make it Dirty” by adding a fried sunny side up egg on your burger. It enhances the flavor of the angus beef.

In addition to the burgers you can order a Chicken or Veggie sandwich, or a Cobb salad.

I believe the high point here are the fries. They are thick cut, crisp, well-seasoned, and plentiful. There are a number of dipping sauces you can ask for to complement the fries. I chose the chipotle mayonnaise and the basil garlic mayonnaise. I think this is a great idea and unique. However, I found both dips (again) bland and unexciting. The flavors were too subtle, and I think that these dips should really be developed to be made more memorable.

In an interview I read with Weissman, he claims to “believe in minimal manipulation…to coax out the essential excellence” of ingredients. While this may be true of le Reve, my opinion is that this restaurant misses the boat here. Overall, the restaurant is a good place for family gatherings with decent food. However, if you are looking for a great burger, there are much better places to go.

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8 responses

13 11 2007
joel

I find the backyard to be packed with kids on my frequent weekend visits to Big’z. They all seem to be enjoying their playtime with balls of all sorts. I enjoy sitting on the open deck taking in their boundless energy.

As for the burgers, the buns are definately toasted, as I order mine toasted twice. The angus meat is delicious and seasoned very well with just salt and pepper. I guess it is a matter of taste.

The dipping sauces for the fries are great too – my favorite is the chipotle mayo. The chili garlic ketchup is also delicious if you enjoy a little heat with your fries.

14 11 2007
ieat

Thanks for your input, joel. The more comments posted, the more informative this site will be.

21 11 2007
Big’z Burger Joint · The hamburger blog

[…] acclaimed chef Andrew Weissman’s burger joint in San Antonio.read more | digg […]

4 12 2007
ieat

Because of all the interest in Big’z since I’ve posted, I decided to give it a 2nd try for lunch. Ordered just the burger. Much better taste and (see pic) a toasted bun. My only complaint is that the bottom bun still seems to get soggy.

17 03 2009
Paul Scurka

I don’t know what day you went to Bigz, but when my wife and I go (usually on the week ends) the play area is packed with kids. I know there’s nothing to play on, but the kids still run around like crazy having fun. In regards to the food, I would consider myself a hamburger fanatic. Usually, I eat burgers 3-4 times per week. I’ve had a LOT of them. And I think Bigz are one the best if not the best. The food is always hot, consistent and served fast no matter how busy they are.

Paul S.

11 04 2011
melissa b.

I am not familiar with the person who did the critique of this restaurant (my husband an I are new to san antonio) however we did go to bigz two weekends ago on the recomendation of someone in his office. We found the hamburgers overwhelmingly huge and tasty, the crisscut fries delicious, and the chicago dogs wonderful. The play area for the kids was packed and I would recomend that you bring some outdoor toys from home especially if you have toddlers. The one thing that was a little bit of a pain was the parking, there was a local police officer directing traffic in the large but crowded parking lot. I’m certain that this speaks to the popularity of this place.

23 05 2011
ieat

Your comment is not unusual. The parking situation at Big’z attests to the fact that many people like to go there. It is a great place to hang out, eat & drink, and provides a safe environment for kids to play. It is only my opinion that I expected more out of the burger from such a renown chef.

31 07 2011
Savannah

My new favorite for a veggie burger. It’s a Portabello Mushroom burger with grilled onions, fresh avocado and whole wheat bun and it was fantabulous! The flavor was awesome. I am the condiment queen but didn’t need to add a thing! Great job as most places do some frozen grain patty with no flavor as their throw-away vegetarian option.

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