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.
The Crooked Crow
1309 S 60th St, West Allis
Among the most recent additions to the West Allis bar scene is The Crooked Crow, which opened in June in the former home of Remedy Bar. The bar, which was fully refurbished inside, features warm wood trim, plentiful seating, a pool table and a collection of album covers on the walls.
The menu, which boasts primarily scratch-made fare, features standard snacks like beer-battered cheese curds, nachos and loaded tots, along with a selection of “dunkers” (items like fries, tots, onion rings and mini corn dogs) available by the pound with dipping sauces. There are also chicken tenders and sandwiches ($9-$11), burgers ($9-13), pizza ($15 each) and a Friday night fish fry featuring beer-battered cod with fries, coleslaw, marble rye and tartar sauce ($13).
The burgers, made with one-third pound patties, vary from the Plain Jane (lettuce, tomato and mayo, $9) to the Midnight Rambler (peanut butter, thick-cut bacon, potato chips, Sriracha mayo and cheddar on a pretzel bun, $12) and The Murder Burger (beef pattty, bratwurst patty, bacon, cheddar, onion straws and sweet bbq sauce on brioche, $13). They also offer a burger special every weekend.
I opted for the Spicy Queso Burger topped with queso blanco, pico de gallo, Sriracha mayo, avocado and lettuce on a brioche bun ($11). The burger is served with a half pound of fries or tots and a crispy pickle spear; but I upgraded mine to onion rings for $2. Since this was a carry-out order, I also requested my pico and queso to be packaged on the side (that was a good call).
The burger came nicely packaged in a paper-lined eco-friendly carry-out box with a generous portion of large, crisp onion rings and containers of ketchup, pico and queso. It presented fairly well, if plainly, with its glossy bun, substantial patty and (once applied) a good amount of queso which dripped amply over the sides (I used about half on the burger and the remainder for dipping).
The brioche was fresh, soft and slightly sweet. It had been toasted hard, leaving the cut sides of the bun with deeply browned edges. It was a nice choice for the burger, as its slight sweetness was a good foil for the savory toppings, and it was well sized for the patty, which overlapped the edges just a bit. Carry-out was only a bit hard on the bun, the bottom of which had soaked up a good amount of juices from the burger; but it held up reasonably well.
This burger patty was pretty stellar. It was uniformly shaped, but packed loosely with a notable juiciness. Burgers at The Crooked Crow are cooked to order, and mine was cooked on the rarer side of mid-rare (but definitely not overcooked); it could have used a harder sear on the exterior. But all-in-all it was a solid burger that was nicely seasoned and possessed a solidly fresh, beefy flavor.
As for the toppings, all were fairly well executed. The avocado was a bit smashed, but fresh and placed atop the bottom bun. It covered about half of the bun, so maybe applied a bit scantily; but it spread out nicely with a bit of effort on my part. I didn’t note the presence of the Sriracha aioli, which I’m guessing was omitted by mistake.
The pico was fresh tasting and finely diced and it added a nice punch of flavor thanks to the cilantro and onion. Meanwhile, the queso was warm and creamy; it was doppled with green chiles that offered up a slight bit of heat. But the overall flavor was mild.
Most importantly, the burger exhibited a good balance in flavors. There was freshness from the pico, along with a tiny bit of acid from the fresh tomatoes; it was a nice pop against the creamy, fresh avocado and warm rich queso. And it played nicely with the savory, juicy burger and the slightly sweet bun.
On the value side of things, this was a good burger for the price. At $11 with fries or tots, it falls well below the average. Even with the $2 upcharge for onion rings (which were also solid), it’s pretty tough to see it as anything less than a deal.
The Spicy Queso Burger might not be particularly spicey, but it’s a solid bar burger worth seeking out.
The Crooked Crow is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Carry-out can be ordered online at their website.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.