Long-time readers of this blog might remember my less-than-enthusiastic review last year of Elevation Burger’s then-new location on Commercial St. in the Old Port. If it had been up to me, I probably would have never gone back; however, it seems that the Fates had other plans for me.
The disturbances started last summer. Pat would stagger into the office in a daze, a man possessed, muttering things about a burger of legend. Strange things whispered in a choked tone of quiet reverence that made no sense. An impossible culinary combination of land and sea, meats of claw and hoof sitting side by side within a single bun. The sandwich of kings, the lunch by which empires rose and fell.
Things seemed to die down over the winter, with Pat slowly regaining his composure over that period of time. As soon as the weather warmed back up this spring, though, he was back at it: Scrawling images of ingredients on the dry erase board in his office. Staring out his window for hours at a time, hands pressed against the glass, uttering sides and beverage orders that no server would ever hear. From the crude map Pat had drawn on a napkin, I determined that this food of the gods was merely down the street. At Elevation Burger. My old nemesis reared its head, daring us to enter its domain and challenge it to mortal combat.
The entree in question was the Surf & Turf Burger, which consists of a beef patty, bacon, and lobster meat along with lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a signature bun. A larger-than-life photo of this tempting concoction had adorned an A-frame sign out in front of the establishment this year for the second summer in a row, and walking by that placard every other day had been enough for Pat. It had broken his mind and his will to the point that the void in his soul could not be filled with anything other than that specialty burger. Like Pat, I too am powerless against the sorcery of good food photography, and so I volunteered to accompany him on his mad quest. We both knew going in that it would probably be a one-shot deal, but it had to be done.
Elevation Burger was almost empty when we got there a little after noon. Unlike the soggy fries from my last adventure here, these were golden and cooked to perfection (even though the shoestring french fry still is and will forever be my least favorite kind of fry). As for the burger… the beef was grilled just right and not overcooked, the bacon was thick and crispy, the veggies were fresh, and the lobster meat was cold and plentiful. Instead of mixing together in one mess of indistinguishable flavors, each ingredient could be detected while still complimenting the overall taste, and the variety of ingredients’ different temperatures only added to the experience. The lobster was fresh, not fishy, and instead of being minced into oblivion, it was in the form of large chunks. Claw meat could be identified on sight. Against all better judgment, I had to appreciate that this was, in fact, a rather decent and tasty burger. Our hunger vanquished and the restaurant redeemed, we returned to the office as diners victorious to spread the word of our tale.
The only detractor was the price – $16 for the sandwich alone – which meant that we would not be making this a regular thing. Nevertheless, we can honestly say we’re glad we did it. Like us, you too can expect to be happy with the purchase of a Surf & Turf burger. At the very least, you can expect the visions to stop and to be able to finally get a full night’s sleep again, and that is at least worth the money. Good luck on your quest, and eat well!
Most-Favorited Dish: Surf & Turf Burger
Address: 205 Commercial Street, Portland, ME
Hours: Sunday – Saturday 11am-10pm