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Best New Burgers

The best new burgers in Houston: They're all damn pricey and worth it

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Fielding's Wood Grill smoke burger with fried egg
Fielding's knows how to highlight classic burger flavors. Fielding's Wood Grill/Facebook
Grace's on Kirby burger
Grace's burger already impresses. Grace's/Facebook
Vallone's Houston people at bar
Vallone's may not look like your typical burger haven, but this upscale restaurant delivers with an innovative approach to cooking pricey patties. Vallone's Houston/Facebook
4 Bradley's Fine Diner April 2014 oak-grilled chuck burger
Bradley's Fine Dinner doesn't ignore the burger on its pricey new menu. Photo courtesy of © The Epicurean Publicist
Lowbrow Houston Juicy Lucy hamburger burger with french fries November 2013
Lowbrow knows a good Houston burger. Photo by Andrea Afra
El Big Bad hamburger burger April 2014
El Big Bad continues a burger tradition. Photo by Eric Sandler
Coltivare hamburger burger April 2014
At Coltivare, things are kept simple — and tasty. Photo by Eric Sandler
60 Degrees Mastercrafted hamburger burger
60 Degrees Mastercrafted hamburger burger Photo by Eric Sandler
Fielding's Wood Grill smoke burger with fried egg
Grace's on Kirby burger
Vallone's Houston people at bar
4 Bradley's Fine Diner April 2014 oak-grilled chuck burger
Lowbrow Houston Juicy Lucy hamburger burger with french fries November 2013
El Big Bad hamburger burger April 2014
Coltivare hamburger burger April 2014
60 Degrees Mastercrafted hamburger burger
Hubbell & Hudson hamburger cheesburger classic burger
Eric Sandler head shot column mug March 2014

Houston may not be the only burger obsessed city in America, but it has to rank pretty highly on the scale. It seems like every new restaurant that opens has one on the menu, and they are, mostly, pretty excellent. After all, they have to compete with our existing options. 

Of course, standing out involves uses fancy ingredients like Wagyu style beef, and that ups the cost. With all this in mind, I set out to find the Best New Burgers in Houston.

None of the winners cost less than $10, and some run more than $15. Great burgers, like most other foods, come at a cost. Try these and decide whether they're worth it.

Hubbell & Hudson Bistro

Admittedly, H&H has been serving a great burger for awhile now, but, after being criminally overlooked in the Houston Press "underrated" burger poll (hint: when your winner has been featured on national TV and a magazine cover, the process is flawed), this is an opportunity to state unequivocally that chef Austin Simmons makes one of Houston's best burgers.

It's certainly my pick to replace the Burger Guys on CultureMap's Top 10 Burgers list.

 None of the winners cost less than $10, and some run more than $15. Great burgers, like most other foods, come at a cost. 

What makes it so good? Just the simple combination of a high quality beef and good ingredients (Bibb lettuce, Vermont cheddar) that combine on house-baked bun to lift the combo. Also, it's served properly medium rare. Make the drive. It's worth it.

Bradley's Fine Diner

Celebrity chef Bradley Ogden finally brings his critically lauded burger to Houston at this newly opened restaurant. Described on the menu as an "oak-grilled chuck burger," the patty's a mix of different kinds of meat, giving it a fatty richness that doesn't come from any one cut.

Served on a house-baked bun, the burger is only topped with grilled onions. Pickles and lettuce are available on the side, but don't let anything get in the way of the pure pleasure of eating this burger straight.     

Coltivare

As a restaurant dedicated to showcasing great ingredients with a minimum of fuss, Coltivare's burger is pretty simple. Locally raised Augustus ranch beef gets topped with Fontina cheese, pickled onions, lettuce and tomato and served on a thick, slightly doughy bun. It came out rare when I ordered it, which I happily devoured.

If that's problematic, just ensure that it's medium rare or medium when ordered. 

Vallone's

On the one hand, Vallone's wants to serve a burger made with American Kobe beef, because that fits with its image as a luxurious steakhouse. On the other hand, a half pound Kobe patty can be difficult to cook properly, because getting the proper sear on the outside will leave the middle underdone.

 Set on a homemade sesame bun, it's pretty much the best Big Mac ever. 

Vallone's solves the conundrum by making two smaller patties that get a hard, fast sear and come out beautifully medium rare. The result is a moist, flavorful burger that will require an extra cloth napkin to accommodate all the spectacular juices that oozes out of it. Set on a homemade sesame bun, it's pretty much the best Big Mac ever. 

60 Degrees Mastercrafted

Order the $200 Bistro Burger if you must. I recently met a man who really enjoyed it, although he conceded that no burger is ever "worth" that price.

Everyone else should stick to the regular burgers on 60 Degrees' bar and lunch menu, which aren't exactly cheap at $12 to 19 depending on toppings, but are worth trying due to the high quality, house ground Akaushi beef used to make the patty.

Since it's hard to say no to meat topped with more meat, try the Korean burger topped with Korean barbecue beef short ribs, Asian slaw, satay sauce, a fried egg, scallions and crisp pepper bacon. The contrast of the barbecue beef with the more mild Akaushi means each bite is different. The egg takes the whole thing over the top.  

Fielding's Wood Grill

This Woodlands restaurant from Hubbell & Hudson founder Cary Attar may have only opened in the Fall, but it's already become a neighborhood staple. Credit the house-ground patties, house-baked buns and top-notch craft beer selection.

 It's a little messy, as all good burgers should be, but the classic combination of flavors is hard to resist. 

Since every burger starts with the same 44 Farms beef, making a choice comes down to personal taste. I'll take the smoke burger, which is topped with bacon, provolone and a fried egg. It's a little messy, as all good burgers should be, but the classic combination of flavors is hard to resist.  

Lowbrow

This Montrose bar's menu has undergone some changes since Jason Kerr took over the kitchen, but the burger created by Matt Marcus of the Eatsie Boys isn't one of them. The Juicy Lucy style burger starts with locally raised Longhorn beef that's stuffed with jalapenos and Fontina cheese. Topped with two kinds of shallots (pickled and fried), it's a gooey, spicy, beefy wonder that's not to be missed.

That Lowbrow is open late and has a solid craft beer selection only enhances the experience.  

El Big Bad

El Gran Malo always served an underrated burger, and El Big Bad continues that legacy. While it seems like the days of getting pork belly as a burger topping are gone, the half pound patty that's topped with pepperjack cheese, crema fresca and creamy cilantro has enough flavor that it doesn't need enhancement.

Try it on the lunch menu available Mondays through Fridays. 

Grace's

Johnny Carrabba's new Kirby restaurant serves a broad mix of comfort classics, which obviously means a burger is a mandatory component. Like some of the other entries on this list, Grace's uses house-ground Wagyu beef to deliver big beef flavor. The thick patty comes topped with high quality cheddar cheese and is served on a toasted challah bun.

Toppings are standard "LTO," which really allows the beef's natural goodness to shine through. Beer-battered house fries complete the meal.   

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