On the Burger Trail: The "Filthy" Five Cheese at Blue's Egg
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. And, if you enjoyed the addition of veggie burgers to the mix, you can look forward to more of those. I'll be adding at least one veggie burger review to the mix every month.
317 N. 76th St., (414) 299-3180
4195 N. Oakland Ave., Shorewood, (414) 312-8551
At the end of 2019, I took some time to reflect on the past decade, creating an article that looked back – year by year – on the restaurants which helped to shape the nature of Milwaukee's current dining scene [you can read that here]. Among those restaurants is Blue's Egg.
In 2020, it's pretty tough to imagine a world without Blue's Egg, which has now expanded to include locations in both Milwaukee and Shorewood. But until 2010, the city had never seen a restaurant that put so much thought into the morning meal. The menu goes well beyond breakfast staples, featuring an impressive selection of dishes that are just as thoughtfully prepared as any lunch or dinner options.
In fact, the restaurant has become so synonymous with breakfast and brunch that you might not even think of Blue's as a lunch spot. But if you're a breakfast all day sort – or a lover of half-pound burgers – it might be time to give it a second thought.
Every day, after 11 a.m., guests can indulge in a half-pound Niman Ranch prime steak cheeseburger topped with fried egg, lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and guest's choice of cheese. It's served on a housemade bun for 12.95. The offerings get even sweeter on CBGB (Canned Beer & Great Burgers) Tuesday when Blue's offers $2 canned beer and a selection of specialty burgers, including The Filthy Five Cheese, Big Bacon Blue's, "Wise Juan," and new weekly creations for $10.95 each.
On my visit, I indulged in the "Filthy" Five Cheese, a half-pound Niman Ranch patty topped with American, cheddar, gruyere, provolone and parmesan cheeses, roasted garlic mayo and paprika onion strings on a houemade Black Shoe Bakery bun ($10.95).
We're in America's Dairyland. So why not pile five different cheeses on top of an impressive half pound burger? It makes for quite the presentation, especially when topped with crispy onion strings which have taken on a reddish hue, thanks to a liberal dose of paprika. And check out that top bun showcasing a beautiful browned crust on every last inch of its cut side. Gorgeous.
The housemade bun is a big part of what makes this burger worth trying. It's sweet and soft with a beautifully browned top and an interior that's fully toasted like a great grilled cheese, giving it an audible crunch when you bite into it.
Meanwhile, the burger is definitely no slacker. Peel back the layer of cheese on top and you'll find a large half-pounder, the exterior of which is donned with beautiful grill marks. Inside, the burger is beautifully cooked to order (in my case, it was a pleasingly pink medium rare). The meat itself is loosely packed, juicy and beefy, and nicely seasoned – just enough to bring out the flavor of the meat, but not enough to make it overly salty in combination with all that cheese.
On the toppings side … yes, this is a cheese bomb. But it's not just for stunt purposes.
The blend of high quality cheeses offers a combination of salty, nutty and vaguely sharp flavors that stand out against the crisp sweetness of the onions. You also get varied textures thanks to the highly meltable American cheese and diverse combination of hard and soft artisan varieties, which offer not only more complex flavors, but a nice cheese pull bite after bite. Meanwhile the roasted garlic mayo adds moisture and a bit more fat, making it a luxuriously rich umami flavor bomb.
My one critique might be that this burger could use a pop of acid (maybe something pickled) to offset the richness of the toppings and give it more of a balanced flavor profile. I found that a dip into the South by North hot sauce was a nice touch. Ketchup would offer a similar tang, along with some sweetness, if that's what you're after.
The quality of this burger is high, from its housemade bun and quality beef to the level of attention with which it's prepared. At $12.95 for the daily burger, it's a solid deal. On Tuesdays, it's even moreso.
If a cooked-to-order half-pounder is your jam, you'll find a well-executed choice at Blue's Egg every day of the week, with creative toppings and special pricing on Tuesdays.
Blue's Egg is open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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