This week's visit to Quatman's was certainly an improvement over Sammy's (cumulative score 26/50), but I'm thinking that we still have a ways to go before we find the best burger in town.
Let's get right to it since this post has been languishing for like three weeks now.
First off, The Girl and I disagree about the burgers at Quatman's, so a number of the scores below are going to be given twice. We'll come to an overall total at the bottom, but there'll probably be a couple of those, too.
- No choices of how to cook the burger. You ask for a burger, you get a burger. Burgers were well sized (probably a 6-oz burger, if I were guessing) but not over-sized (stay tuned the next few days for what over-sized means) and well cooked - fried in this case and still a little greasy around the edges. Things here are about as simple as simple could be - burger with pretty much no spice, just good quality meat fried and slapped on a bun. Burger - 6 (The Girl gives it a 7.5)
- You can add cheese - and they have a decent selection of cheeses including some rather rarer choices like horseradish cheddar which The Girl went for - and your standard pickle, onion, mayo but nothing else. I asked if there was any chance of getting bacon on the burger and was told politely that there wasn't any chance. No joke, no snark, no messing with me like I was at Ed Denevic's or anything, they just didn't go for bacon. Everything was fresh but not special or anything. Toppings - 4
- Here's actually where I think Quatman's gets a lot of its credit around Cincinnati - including being named best burger in Cincy from AOL's CityBest. Quatman's is old school, like I would believe that nothing inside has been touched in decades. At most places, saying something like this means that the place is crowded and maybe has some sort of gimmick like people writing on the walls or nailing their dollar bills to the ceiling or hanging up license plates or something - not so at Quatman's. This means Quatman's is an incredible simple bar, a bunch of tables, a deli counter, and a window air conditioner for the summer. It's simple, old school, plain. To lots of people, this means it's just like it was when they were kids and probably when their parents were kids, too. I dig the place, but I knew places like this back home in The Hometown. There's pretty much no decoration - a few beer signs and posters, a couple of flyers for local charities but not much else. There's one tv - a flat screen in probably the only concession to modernity. There's even an old ice box door that I'm guessing used to have ice brought in from a horse-drawn carriage long ago. Ambiance - 7
- Fries were fries here. Not wide plank fries, not quite thin enough to be shoestring (like the old Steak & Shake specials). They're fries coked well, served hot. The Girl asked for hers to be well done, and she did get that - not burned, just fried a little longer. They get an extra point for hitting the special request. Fries - 6 (The Girl gives 'em a 7)
- On Mondays, Thursday, and Saturdays, Quatman's runs a special (they run different special each day - Ham & Cheese on Tuesday, BBQ on Wednesday, and good Catholic fish on Friday) of cheeseburger, fries, and a drink for $6.19. On the other days of the week, you're looking at $4.50 for the cheeseburger plus $1.65 for fries plus whatever your drink is. My can of coke - cans only, no fountain which seems really odd for a place with a bar but it was pretty much a bar serving beer - was a buck or so (sadly, the receipt has gone a drifting at this point). I didn't see any Manhattans or martinis around the place. That's dirt cheap, especially when The Girl's beer (draft, 10- or 12oz Christian Morelein) counted as her drink. Cost - 8
- Seriously, The Girl's beer counted as her drink in the special. I'm not a beer drinker, but I'm giving them a bonus point for that...+1
- They've opened a second Quatman's now, this one out in Mason. The Girl ate there like three days later than we ate at the one in Norwood and reports that it's the same place. Any time you can take a neighborhood staple and clone it without losing anything, that's impressive...+1
- They don't offer bacon on the burger...-1
This puts Quatman's into the lead, a place that they won't be holding for long as we've visited two places since then that I'm thinking are going to finish a little ahead: Terry's Turf Club and Kuma's Corner in Chicago, both residing on the Food Network's 50 States, 50 Burgers list.