Scholars Inn Bakehouse: “The Yolkexplosion of 2012”

There are two Bakehouse locations, one on the Square and one on East 3rd Street.  We went to the Square.  The Bakehouse offers $3 burgers on Wednesdays, and we can’t say no to that! The burgers normally range from $6.19 to $7.99, quite the jump in price. The first thing we noticed when our burgers arrived was how small they were.  We don’t know if they make them smaller on Wednesdays, because they are only $3, or if they are always that size.  A second Bakehouse review may be required to answer this question. But do we want to come back?

Neil :

I went for the Hangover Burger (note: I was not hung over).  This consists of a burger with “fried onion crisps & Tabasco cilantro aioli, topped with a fried egg.”  Sounds good right?  It was pretty good, but it’s not quite as simple as that.

A hangover in a basket, with slaw

This burger is a perfect example of a good concept being done in by poor execution.  One mistake with my burger was a mistake that should never happen; it was very poorly cooked (Chris’ was cooked correctly).  We didn’t specify temperature when we ordered at the register, so I assume the target was medium-well.  Parts of my burger were medium-well.  Other spots were medium-rare.  Then there were very rare bits and certain spots that were totally raw.  I didn’t really mind it; raw meat doesn’t make me squeamish, but it’s kind of ridiculous that a restaurant can’t cook a patty correctly.[1]  It’s not like it was a thick patty that is naturally more difficult to cook.  It was very small (couldn’t have been more than a quarter pound before it was cooked) and there are no excuses for not cooking it right.

The iffy execution didn’t stop there.  The fried onions and aioli were both below the patty.  I’m fine with the aioli on the bottom bun.  It should be there.  But the fried onions should be on the top of the burger, so that they stay as crispy as possible.  By putting them between the patty and the aioli, the restaurant essentially guarantees that they won’t be very crisp.  Mine still had a tiny bit of texture, but not enough.  Some of the joy of fried onions is the crunch.  And there was no joy in Mudville that day.

The burger hit some positive notes, as well.  The patty is clearly made by hand and was properly seasoned.  I liked that a lot.  Freshness is key and this seemed fresh.  Thumbs up.  All the flavors of the burger worked well, too.  The Tabasco aioli brought a little bit of spice to the burger, which I welcome, because I think burgers and spice are a great pairing.  I would actually like it if the Tabasco aioli packed a bit more of a punch, but I won’t nitpick too much.  The egg was tasty and nicely cooked.  I loved the runny yolk (we’ll get to that in a second).  It added even more juice to what was already a reasonably juicy burger.

The standout memory from out visit to the Bakehouse was the YOLKEXPLOSION.[2]

“Oh my God . . . It’s everywhere!”

On my very first bite, the yolk from the egg on my burger exploded, and all of it landed on my arm.  Not a drop on the table and almost none in the basket.  All of it was on my arm.  I immediately went and washed my arm, but it still had a bit of a sulfur smell when I got home.  I immediately chose to shower.

Side dish: I ordered the slaw as my side, and it was pretty unique.  It was a simple, mayo-based slaw that consisted of little more than cabbage, red onions, dill and carrots (just a few of those).  There were a ton of onions and a lot of dill, so you have to like those flavors in order to eat the slaw.  I like them, but it wasn’t my favorite coleslaw.  I’d probably get chips next time (if there is a next time).

This could be a good burger if it was bigger, properly cooked and more thoughtfully put together.  Those are major negatives, though.  For $3 it wasn’t a bad burger, but the poor execution is inexcusable at any price.  I definitely wouldn’t pay the $6.99 it costs on other days.  I don’t think I’ll be coming to the Bakehouse for my burgers.

Chris :

When you order a typical kind of burger, you cannot expect something magical or unconventional. Yet you do expect quality, and because the margin of error is narrowed by clear expectation, execution is everything. With the bacon cheeseburger,[3] Scholars Bakehouse simply did not execute.

“Well this is pretty much what I expected.”

The start of my bacon expedition on a bun started well enough. The presentation was remarkable for a three dollar burger. The Kaiser bun was given a nice medium toast and sat nicely on the patty, and the multicolored combo of sweet potato and potato potato fries dazzled the eye. But like going on a blind date with Ann Coulter, the pleasant initial impression soured into a sadly disdainful affair.

I echo all of Neil’s comments on the patty with one important exception. The patty on my burger was cooked to perfection, with soft blush of pink in the center and quite warm throughout. At a quarter pound (estimate), the patty was a little on the small side, but respectable for a burger costing all of three dollars. It appeared to be hand made, and was irregular in shape and fairly flavorful. The problem was that the beef was high in fat content, and this fact, when combined with the lingering grease of the cheese and bacon, caused the toasted bun to succumb to a veritable tidal wave of lipids.[4]

The bacon itself was crispy to an acceptable degree, and it was anchored to the patty by a slice of cheddar that was quite flavorful. These pleasurable condiments were appreciated, because there was nothing else. No tomato, no lettuce, no onion, no pickles. . . you get the idea. But then again, it is a three dollar burger.

The side: The Scholars Fries were by far the high point of my meal. Cut in a shoestring style, the ability to have both sweet potato and normal fries was a real treat. They were crispy, and my only addition was some salt to fully appreciate their flavor.

Conclusion :

In the end, Scholars Inn Bakehouse produced a decent burger for the value, provided that the line cook in back decides to leave it long enough on the griddle. Is this a burger you would introduce to mom? No, but you would not introduce a cheap call girl to your mother either.

Raw Score:               2.5 / 5  burgers
Price-adjusted:         3 / 5 burgers

Price:                       $3.00 ($6.99) – Hangover Burger & slaw; $4.50 ($7.99) – Bacon Burger w/ Fries
Gained points:          Handmade patty, good flavors and concept
Lost points:              Poor execution, inconsistent meat temperature, SMALL burger
Drinks:                     Agua (that means water in Spanish, comprende?)
Date of visit:            9/26/12 (Happy Yom Kippur!)


[1] A Note from Chris: I did mind it. Neil’s patty looked like someone had taken tiny crunch berries, soaked them in extra red dye, and then mixed them into the meat. But instead of a sugary treat, these little morsels could have contained salmonella. Yikes!

[2] This term deserves all caps for two reasons: 1) it was that shocking when it happened; and 2) we at Burger Boys like all caps, because it shows EMPHASIS.

[3] If there is anything to know about Chris, it is that he loves bacon, and he loves cheese (and of course burgers). This often makes it hard for him to avoid bacon cheeseburgers.

[4] Translation: the bun became soggy as hell.

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2 thoughts on “Scholars Inn Bakehouse: “The Yolkexplosion of 2012”

  1. The burgers DO look very small, but for the special price, ok size. The description and photos of Nick’s burgers were definitely more enticing!

  2. Pingback: Munchito’s: After Dark | The Bloomington Burger Boys

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