I've got your blue cheese burger right here. And as far as blue cheeseburgers go, you can’t get any sharper or tangier than Markham Street Grill and Pub’s Black & Blue Burger.
The space that once held one of my most treasured lost restaurants, Kelley’s Irish Bistro — is now a sports-type over-21 establishment with many redeemable dining options and pub fare. The burger’s just the start of it.
I don’t go in during the evening hours — I’m sensitive to cigarette smoke and by that point in the day it’s just a bit too much for me. But I’ll sometimes duck in incognito and grab a plate or an appetizer while preparing for my appointed rounds.
One of the house favorites is the Tight A.. Nachos ($8.95). Now, I’m pretty sure we all know what those two dots stand for. It’s a big stack of tortilla chips, and unless you’re able to down lots of food in one sitting this is a two-person or more pile of stuff. The pile is topped with cheese, ground beef, red onion bits, tomato bits, jalapeno slices, sour cream and — though it’s not mentioned on the menu — mine came with some of the house cheese dip as well. The queso is white and thick and meant for that ground beef.
They offer a plate lunch special every day for $6.95, a meat-and-two veg sort of deal. The Chicken Fried Chicken on Tuesday is a grand choice; covered with your choice of gravy, it’s a substantial chicken breast hand breaded and deep fried with a nicely seasoned batter. The potatoes that come with it are great. The corn? It’s corn.
But that’s neither here nor there — because you are interested in the burger. And this burger has to be the most pungently blue-cheesy of any blue cheese burger I have ever had. The meat itself is redolent of black pepper. It’s topped with a more than generous helping of blue cheese crumbles and an onion ring. For just that, it’s a powerful enough burger sandwiched between those toasted buns.
But if you add on the blue cheese dressing that comes with the plate, you’re in for a blue cheese smack-in-the-face. It’s heady strong and smart, a slap to the taste buds in the most tangy fashion. If you don’t like blue cheese you won’t like this burger. But if you don’t like blue cheese, what are you doing ordering this burger in the first place?
The burger comes with chips for $7.95. Fries or onion rings are $1.50 more — fries are skin-on and better than average but the battered onion rings are even better. You could also substitute a small salad or fresh fruit for $1.95. I’d suppose if you got blue cheese dressing and crumbles on that salad, you might create a blue cheese singularity.
You’ll find Markham Street Grill and Pub at 11321 West Markham across the street from Michael’s and Office Depot. The place is open 11 a.m. to midnight every day. (501) 224-2010 or check out the website.