In this series, we’ll be hiking the burger trail to find the latest, greatest and most delicious burgers in Milwaukee. Click here for an explanation of the criteria used to rate each burger. Where have we been? Check out the complete catalog of burger reviews here.
Crawdaddy's on Greenfield
9427 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 778-2228
If I’m brutally honest, a burger is likely the last thing I’d order at a cajun/creole restaurant. After all, there are so many other delicious dishes from which to choose. I also know that – in some cases – restaurants will often throw a burger (or a steak) on the menu to appease diners who are less adventurous and prefer to order something familiar.
However, for the purpose of this series, eating burgers is the whole point. So, I decided to give the lone burger on the Crawdaddy’s menu a go. And while it might be a burger that ended up on the menu to appease the burger-loving public, it also turned out to be one that was as thoughtfully designed as any other option on the menu.
The Cajun Burger features a half-pound beef patty, Becher Meats andouille sausage, arugula, caramelized onions and chipotle remoulade ($13). Served with guests’ choice of rough cut fries, onion straws, red beans & rice, potato salad, or house made chips. I opted for onion strings; but if you want a choice that transports a bit better for carry-out, go with the house chips.
The burger was neatly (and smartly) packaged in a recyclable container. The delicate arugula was tucked away with the topside of the bun on one side of the container, with the burger, andouille and onions on the other. In the end, that kept the arugula from wilting, a small but not insignificant detail.
Unpackaged (and with little effort on my part) the Cajun Burger looked pretty beautiful, and it stood impressively tall on the plate, with all of its layers on full display. Its bun was shiny and shapely. The plentiful caramelized onions spilled over the sides of the visually charred burger and its craggy edges. Meanwhile, the andouille offered a beautiful red hue to the burger while the green arugula kept things looking fresh.
The brioche bun was soft and fresh. It had a fairly good (if somewhat uneven) toasting on both of the cut sides, and its flavor was lightly sweet, a good contrast to all the meat it swaddled. Speaking of that meat, the bun was well-sized for the burger, and it didn’t concede to sogginess.
The more meat you put on a burger, the better that meat needs to be. Fortunately, this was a fine example of a half-pounder done right. A good deal has to do with the burger blend. In this case it’s a blend of U.S.D.A prime brisket, chuck and short rib, a good combination that checks all the boxes in terms of flavor and fat content. But even the best blend needs to be prepared well. Again, no complaints here.
The burger was beautifully cooked with a nice visible char on the exterior and a perfectly mid-rare center (both burgers I ordered were cooked equally well). Even better, the meat was juicy and buttery with a robustly beefy flavor. The burger boasted a clean, char-grilled flavor; it was also nicely seasoned, an element that only underscored its overall beefiness.
It was pretty tough to find fault with any of the toppings. Like the burger, each item was prepared well. The andouille was as beautifully grilled as the burger; its casing was a bit snappy, but not so much so that it made the burger difficult to eat; and (most importantly) it brought beautiful savory spices to the table, along with an additional pop of salty meatiness.
The onions were caramelized (not just fried) with even coloration and both the sweet and savory notes that result. Meanwhile, the arugula wasn’t just a fine window dressing; it’s peppery bite added interest, along with the fresh vegetal flavor the burger would have been missing without it.
Last, but not least, was the chipotle remoulade, which skewed sweeter than I expected, but also offered a gentle smoke flavor, a very subtle heat and – most importantly – a bit of acid that pulled everything together.
The burger was admittedly meaty; but it was also balanced. And – something I didn’t pay much attention to until after the fact – it didn’t rely on cheese to get it there.
This burger offered quality ingredients, expertise in preparation and a balanced flavor profile. At the end of the day, $13 for 12 ounces of meat that’s been well-prepared is a pretty good deal.
Looking for a meaty burger? The Cajun Burger brings it.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.