This burger joint gives their burgers a make-under, and the results are mouthwatering
When it comes to burgers, less is more at Chunky Sam's Diner.
Chunky Sam’s Diner
Chimes Square, Congressional Avenue Extension corner T.M. Kalaw Street, Mira Nila Homes, Quezon City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Reinvention is always welcome in the culinary world, but at Chunky Sam’s Diner, they go back to what’s essential: the hamburger—and, more importantly, the patty.
Owner Hazel Mariano’s husband used to work in a meat shop where he paid particular attention to the beef. He had come to expect a certain taste in the meat that he couldn’t find in popular hamburger restaurants. The couple embarked on a quest to find the perfect beef, which they eventually got in a U.S. Angus brand. It tasted so good, they felt a personal responsibility to share it with everyone else.
The most unassuming burger joint ever.
So you don't forget what you're eating.
The open kitchen is not for mere design. According to Hazel: “We made it visible for customers to be able to see that there is nothing added to the patties.”
We want it all.
Wood on wood
Chunky Sam’s Diner has a comfortingly unfinished, industrial-slash-cabin look: The ceiling’s insulation and piping are exposed, while wooden crates and planks are scattered everywhere. A huge chalkboard on the wall parades the restaurant’s offerings. It’s very bare bones, which complements the restaurant’s philosophy of keeping the party simply within the patty.
Only salt and pepper are used to bolster their certified Angus beef. “We’re not fans of burger patties that have all these ingredients and complicated mixes,” explains Hazel. The modest seasoning pays off big time, with the beef’s premium quality nabbing the spotlight. The beef is ground fresh daily to achieve a delightful chunky quality.
If the patty is the star, the buns are the foil: They take inspiration from ensaymada and brioche, developing bread that is light and sweet. Each burger comes with fries, too.
Lamb is the dominant flavor in the Greek Burger (P325), whose patty is 50% Angus and 50% lamb. The zesty layer of feta delivers a Mediterranean touch in this sandwich. One of the first burgers to ever feature on Chunky Sam’s menu is Sam’s Blue (P290/one-fourth pound, P335/one-third pound, P395/half pound). Mozzarella gives it creaminess, but the punch comes from the bold blue cheese. Fans of this pungent embellishment will definitely find a new favorite.
The Burger Five-O
Say aloha to the Burger Five-O (P385), which is Hawaiian-inspired. Smoked bacon, organic arugula, and grilled pineapple are wedged between the patty and bun. The pineapple is glazed, which emphasizes more sweetness, while ham adds a fiery touch. Your taste buds will go on a wild ride.
Bacon and Shrooms
Crispy Bacon & White-Cheese Burger
Bacon is, of course, a staple burger filling, and it plays a great role in the Bacon and Shrooms (P325/one-fourth pound, P370/one-third pound, P430/half pound) where strips of cheddar round out the flavors of the two major components. In the Crispy Bacon & White-Cheese Burger (P350), a block of velvety kesong puti is slathered onto the patty.
That prized Angus beef comes in more than one production at Chunky Sam’s. What better way is there to highlight premium meat than to serve it as a steak? The eponymous Chunky Sam is grilled to juicy perfection. It gracefully glides inside your mouth, painting a deep and delicious flavor.
Their Baby Back Ribs (P495) easily falls off the bone. It doesn’t disappoint either. Take a bite and that tender quality presents itself as the piece melts in your mouth.
Baby Back Ribs
If you’re not feeling beef, the Hot Flaps (P210) is a good intermission. They’re Buffalo wings doused in butter and hot sauce. Of course, there’s blue cheese dip on the side.
Chunky Sam’s Diner doesn’t have a dessert menu at the moment, but they're planning to come up with a “Solato” or soft-serve gelato. Till that day comes, try asking about the secret menu. Shh...you didn’t hear it from us.
Photos by Majoy Siason