Thursday, March 3, 2011

Burger joint of the week: Crazee's Cool Cafe

LOTS OF SHROOMS:  Mushroom Burger at Crazees Cool Cafe
  • LOTS OF 'SHROOMS: Mushroom Burger at Crazee's Cool Cafe
I’ve been taking reader recommendations for where I should go to find the state’s best burgers, and one of my Facebook fanssuggested I head back over to Crazee’s Cool Café. I’d been before, having given the daily plate lunch special a try and having a divine time with the chicken spaghetti. Of course, when I get the chance I am always willing to indulge a friendly reader.
Headed over on a Thursday afternoon to give it a shot. Crazee’s has a burger special it offers every weekday for lunch — any burger, fries and a beverage for $7.50. And there are several to choose from, including a Mexican burger, an Italian, a Cheeseburger and a Hamburger and a Bacon Cheeseburger and a BBQ Burger. On the recommendation of the waitress I went for the Mushroom Burger. She brought me an impossibly big cup of tea and I waited.

I didn’t wait too long. Packed down into a paper-lined basket, it didn’t look like much at first, just a mass of whatever under a seeded bun. Tip back the top, though, and I realized I had something big on my hands. It didn’t look so large at first because the fries were even with the top of the burger.
Under that lid, though — a mass of mushrooms. Mind you, they were button mushrooms and I bet they came from a can but there was a mess of them, a real hot mess. They were crowned with a mess of translucent onions and planted on top of a piece of Swiss cheese melted right into the top of the burger patty.
But wait — there was more. When I turned the burger to the side to take another shot, I noticed the big slice of tomato and the mess of iceberg lettuce tucked under the patty. The bun itself was toasted, there was a layer of mayo on the bottom and the whole thing was a good three and a half to four inches tall.
Problem with this sort of burger is just a matter of getting it to the mouth… the sheer slickness of all those ingredients together was just so much. I finally sucked it up, got my hands under it and took a bite. It was juicy as hell and that juice slipped between my fingers and down on those fries… but that was awesome. The burger was nicely done, and I swear there was onion in the actual patty of the burger. No doubt at all the burger had been cooked with onions and cooked well; the caramelized onion flavor was strong. I might have suspected some French onion soup mix in there — and there is that possibility, but I more suspect it’s just real onions, that’s all. There was also a good deal of salt and pepper in the patty, and that cheese tied it all nicely together.
I wish I could gush on about the fries similarly. They looked like pleasing yellow pencil fries, but there was something strange about them. They were a little soft on the outside but they also bore a little bit of a greasy taste within. Perhaps the oil wasn’t quite hot enough when they went in, I’m not sure.
What I was sure of was that I didn’t really need any fries. That third-of-a-pound or thereabouts patty and all those dang mushrooms and onions quite succinctly and happily filled me up. I really didn’t need anything else.
My lunch was indeed $7.50 (tax is figured into the amount) and I passed nine over to my waitress at the counter. It was a good lunch.
Here’s the thing, though. There will be people who will say they’ll never try this burger, because it’s served up in a bar that’s 21 and older and allows smoking. And that’s a shame. It really is a good burger and worthy of a shot. Mayhaps you can order one for pick-up if you’re unable to dine within?
You’ll find Crazee’s Cool Café at 7626 Cantrell Road in Little Rock, about a block down from Hunka Pie. (501) 221-9696.

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