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.
1030 E. Juneau Ave.
Maybe best known as a favorite Downtown lunch spot or destination for weekend brunch, The Knick is a hotel restaurant that defies many of the stereotypes of the genre.
Decor-wise, the restaurant has a slightly upscale feel with floral printed fabric booths, a gorgeous copper bar and plenty of comfortable seating. On the menu side, it’s a bit like a bistro, offering up a comprehensive list of appetizers (with must-haves like the deliciously fluffy tater tots and stein style wings), a nice selection of salads and sandwiches, and higher end dinner entrees like seared scallops and salmon, smoked pork loin and lobster ravioli. I’m a big fan of the happy hour, which features a special $5 happy menu Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.
However, on this trip my mission was to check out one of the burgers. The sandwiches have been recommended to me by a number of people, most recently OnMilwaukee reader Mark Sedarski who says he’s never disappointed by The Knick's thick, juicy well-prepared burgers.
On my trip, I ordered the crowd favorite: the Bacon, Avocado Cheddar Burger which features applewood smoked bacon, avocado, cheddar and Louis dressing ($13). I chose waffle fries as my side.
The fresh toppings on this burger are part of what makes it so stunning to look at. There are layers of color at every level from the bright green avocado, purple onion and orange cheddar to the coral-colored Louis sauce and green ruffles of lettuce.
The bun was a nice fluffy bakery bun with a slightly sweet yeasty flavor and a shiny, well-browned top. It was sturdy enough to hold up to the toppings and an appropriate size for the large, meaty burger.
I’ll admit I hesitate a bit when I see such a pristinely shaped burger. I often feel more secure finding one with slightly irregular edges, offering a modicum of evidence that the patty has been formed from fresh beef and hand-packed in the restaurant kitchen. However, as I found with this burger, the shape wasn’t a particularly good indicator of flavor. It came perfectly cooked (mid-rare) and the meat was tender and juicy. There was a nice char on the exterior that added a nice flavor and it was nicely seasoned (enough that I would have been happy to eat it plain).
The toppings were ultra fresh, from the crisp leaf lettuce to the the avocado, which was tender, creamy and nicely colored without even a fleck of brown mottling. The flavorful cheddar was present in sufficient quantity to flavor the burger, and it was well melted. The bacon was crisp and slightly smoky (as it should be), and the red onion was thinly sliced and crisp. Meanwhile, the Louis sauce was pleasantly sweet, offering a nice counterpoint to the other, more savory, flavors.
The tomato was also fresh and flavorful (unusual to find in the winter), though the slice was fairly petite in its diameter, so it didn’t appear in most bites of the burger. Overall, one of the things I loved about this burger was the way the charred flavor of the burger sat in contrast to the fresh, vegetal flavors of the toppings; it was a really nice combination.
This was not the sort of burger where I ended my meal with regret or sticker shock. In fact, the $13 price tag was about what I’d expect to pay for a burger of this ilk. Truth be told, it was more sandwich than I’d normally eat for lunch, and I barely touched the waffle fries that came alongside.
If you love big juicy burgers that are prepared well to order, don’t overlook The Knick.
The Knick is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.
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.