Review of Meat & Shake, Watford – Luchador Burger
What they say:
Bespoke 6oz beef, Salsa, Leaves, Texas Beef Chilli, Jalapenos, Monterey Jack Cheese, Nachos, Sour Cream.
Meat & Shake has been on the radar for a while after I spotted it in Watford while completing some day job duties in the shopping centre where Meat & Shake is located.
It is styled as Southern Barbecue, and indeed features a plethora of traditional BBQ favourites such as wings, sausage and brisket, although pork products are a notable absentee.
I’m guessing that the absence of pork (and booze) on the menu is there due to either the demographics of its three locations (Watford, Ealing and Tooting) or due to the beliefs of the chain’s owners.
Either way, the bacon caveat is not a deal-breaker for me personally, although true bacon devotees might not be consoled by the use of turkey bacon instead of the porcine version.
The place itself is lovely, with great décor, comfy booths and a cracking playlist (I enjoyed Motorhead and Supergrass amongst others during my meal).
The service was super-friendly and efficient and left a most favourable impression. The only downer was the massive hike to the second-floor toilets, but in general the design and atmosphere of the restaurant was top-notch.
So, to the food. My head was initially turned by the posters for the Chump Tower Challenge Burger, but the £25 price tag and my risible record at food challenges dissuaded me from embarking on this gluttonous odyssey.
After perusing the very tempting options on the menu, I opted for the Luchador, with its promise of spicy delights atop a 36-day aged beef burger. With regulars fries to go with it, my order arrived in pretty good time and I got stuck in.
All in all, this was a very impressive burger. The beef is undeniably well-flavoured and the whole burger was constructed very well, with chilli cascading down the sides.
The buns were sturdy enough for me to attempt hands-only consumption, and the combination of burger, chilli, cheese and jalapenos was a winner, the sour cream providing a nice contrast in the background.
Surplus chilli residue was taken care of with a couple of the escapee nachos and I must confess that the fries were very good indeed – well seasoned and crunchy and a delight when dipped in some of the superb BBQ sauces provided on each table.
As ever, there are a couple of quibbles that should only be taken as minor criticisms (two based on personal taste and one on simple economics).
The first observation is that the burgers are billed on the menu as served medium-rare, but mine came medium-well.
I personally prefer a distinct pinkness to the centre of the burger and I take a plate that is awash with burger juice as a good sign.
Not so here, which is probably just as well as the burgers are served on bits of wood, so a medium-rare burger will have resulted in unsightly trouser damage.
The second quibble would be that the chilli itself lacked a bit of fire. Again, purely personal taste, but it took the jalapenos to provide the only real bite in the dish.
The third quibble is that the Dirty Fries (which look AWESOME) are only available for two diners sharing – therefore coming in at a punchy £7.80. This was beyond the limitations of both my stomach and my wallet.
Perhaps the deployment of a smaller serving vessel would enable solitary diners, for we are many, the chance to enjoy the loveliness that was denied to me on this occasion.
These minor moans aside, the overall experience and the food were both very strong indeed and I’d thoroughly recommend a visit. I’ll certainly be going back when I can.