Road Trip Chow Down - Chris Madrid's in San Antonio

March 10, 2009

A recent weekend found us in San Antonio for a convention, and over the years we've learned that as lovely as the Riverwalk may be, it's not the place for serious food. So we ventured out to Chris Madrid's, the legendary nacho and burger joint.

We arrived around 7 on a Saturday night, and parking was nowhere to be found. We circled the restaurant a couple of times, and swooped in when a space appeared.

Entering the building, we were impressed by the cross-section of humanity enjoying the cool March evening. We headed to the counter and waited in a short line while perusing the menu.

Following the advice of some regulars, we ordered a Cheddar Cheezy, macho. For those who've not been to CM's, macho is the keyword for a half-pound burger.

Chris Madrid's builds a very unique burger. The half-pound patty is not thick, but it is very wide; the size of a medium-sized pancake. It drapes across the bun on all sides, and is covered with a thick, oozy layer of cheddar cheese.

We like an oozing burger as much as anyone, but this, my friends, is too much. There's no way to really grip the burger without fondling all the cheesy, meaty goodness. We think the quarter-pound, non-macho version is the way to go, even if you're very hungry.

This is also the first burger we've found that has way too much cheese. There was over a quarter pound of cheddar, and we ended up discarding about half of it in order to get the cheese/meat ratio where it needed to be, and then folding the patty to make it (mostly) fit on the bun. This was way too much work; we'd rather have the kitchen deliver a more finished product.

Once we reengineered the burger for good handling, we ended up with an above-average cheeseburger that we really enjoyed. The thin patty was griddled well throughout, and gently seasoned with salt and pepper. Ooze remained, and it combined with the cheddar cheese to form a mass of molten goodness. The bun was beautifully griddled to a buttery crispness, and the veggies were plentiful, crisp, and fresh.

So how does this burger rate compared to the best in Houston? Pretty well, but it wouldn't crack the Top Five.

For our money, Houston is still the best burger town in Texas, and thus in the world.

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