It was Spike Mendelsohn's night. Of four available prizes at Thursday night's Burger Bash, his Good Stuff Eatery took home three, including the coveted People's Choice Award. His sliders -- dressed with applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings, and a chipotle barbecue sauce -- won by a slim margin over the burgers from Bobby Flay and last year's winner, Radius.
Mendelsohn, who was handing out "Vote for Spike" buttons all night, also won the Best Dressed Burger award and the Golden Grill prize, bestowed by the judges for the best burger that used sponsor Allen Brothers' beef. The only category he didn't win? The one in which he didn't compete -- a potato contest that went to Chicago's Sola for its truffle fries.
The lines were almost nonexistent at Ubuntu, which offered the event's first vegan burger. The patty, made of black rice, was thin, crispy, and flavorful, although it was easy for it to get overshadowed by the slabs of meat everywhere else. "Some people, when they found out it was vegan, said "No thank you," I'll pass."Others were pleasantly surprised," said Ubuntu chef Jeremy Fox.
But why eat vegan when you could sample 21 other burgers? In the name of research, we gamely tried half before our stomach began to plead for mercy. Had we strategized a bit better, we would have left room for Bobby Flay's burger or one of the Wagyu-beef offerings from Morimoto and Kobe Club, and Sola -- all three booths had some of the longer lines of the night. As for Spike's winner, the chipotle barbecue sauce was great. But there was so much of it that it's all we tasted. Maybe the buttons did their trick.