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.
6715 W. North Ave.
Red Dot might be famous for its poutine (which is a worthy reason to visit). But there are a variety of additional reasons to visit this neighborhood joint, not the least of which is its spacious patio.
In addition to a comfort food menu featuring items like wings, housemade soup, sandwiches, burgers and barbecue, Red Dot boasts a pretty impressive beer list. Even more impressive is its list of hard ciders, which includes at least eight more options. For those who would prefer to branch out from the classics, there’s also a nice selection of specialty cocktails.
Better yet, it seems there are always specials going on, whether it be for food or drinks. It’s a plus for a spot that maintains a neighborhood bar feel, while also offering up spiffs like regular live music offerings, including an acoustic jam with local singer songwriters on Wednesday nights.
But, how about those burgers?
Red Dot offers a selection of eight burgers, including the Black & Bleu (with peppercorns and blue cheese), a southwestern-style Arizona and the Lawn Boy, featuring red pepper hummus, cucumber, arugula and avocado. All burgers can be subbed out for chicken breast or a veggie burger. And Udi’s gluten-free buns are available for an extra 75 cents.
I went with the Mc Dot, a classic cheeseburger sporting a one-third-pound grassfed patty, American cheese, pickles, lettuce, red onion and house sauce on a brioche bun ($9). The burger came with a choice of sides, including fries, tater tots, tortilla chips or slaw. Poutine, housemade soup or salad are available for an upcharge.
Take a look. That’s a nice looking burger, right? Presentation is simple: one big, fat, well-composed burger on a lined metal tray with a pile of battered fries. In this case, simple works.
Brioche tends to be a nice choice for burgers, as the subtle sweetness brings a bit of flavor to the table, while the texture holds up to juices and the process of eating. All that was true in the case of the Mc Dot, a cheeseburger I can only imagine is named with a nod to the Golden Arches (only it’s far better). In fact, it was probably the best burger for the job.
I can’t speak for the origins of the grassfed beef. But, I can say that it was one-third pound of delicious beef. Burgers are cooked to order, and mine came out perfectly medium-rare. It was thick and juicy with a nice consistency. It was also seasoned well with a reasonable amount of salt and the notable zing of black pepper.
Toppings were top-notch, offering great texture and flavor without detracting from the burger itself. The lettuce was fresh and green, onions were crisp and sweet, and the pickles were thickly sliced, giving them a real presence on the burger (I totally approve). The cheese wasn’t overpowering, but it added just enough salt to balance things out.
Unfortunately, I have to ding it for one thing. I’m not sure what happened, but there was no house sauce to be found. A dab of ketchup filled in nicely, but I can’t help but wonder if that sauce would have taken this good cheeseburger to the next level.
Nine bucks for a good burger and fries? Yeah, that’s a good deal. And it leaves you enough leftover to grab a beer to enjoy alongside.
If you haven’t eaten a burger at Red Dot, you should go. They’re solid burgers at a great price in a spot that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Red Dot offers food service Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.
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.