The Trojan Horse: Nothing to Write Homer About

In the center of town, considered a faraway place for many an undergrad student, lies the distant fortress restaurant called The Trojan Horse.

We sailed on our feet to this eatery, which features Greek food quite prominently. We had heard that the Trojans[1] had a burger of surprising quality hidden within its walls.

Behold the Trojan door!

Behold the Trojan door!

We found it easy to breach the outer walls, via a door that could either be found on a steamship or, in our case, as a “thematic” entry to this restaurant.

The Trojan Horse is dark on the inside, which is probably intentional considering this is probably what the Greeks experienced while hiding in the actual Trojan Horse.  A single lamp hung low over our table, and the total experience of the dark restaurant and the low lamp reminded us of an interrogation room, though we don’t exactly have a lot of experience in interrogation rooms.

Chris:

I honestly did not know what to expect at this place. I had tried the expensive Greek food before and was underwhelmed, to say the least. Yet I was committed to going in with an open mind.

Before we arrived for lunch I wondered, who would eat here? IU informatics students or hackers, finding the name an inside joke? Professionals from the courthouse, located only 80 feet away? A hungover and delirious undergrad who did not know any better?

It appears that mostly professionals came to eat. Neil guessed that they were likely regulars, and I agreed.

To the burger proper: I ordered a double with American cheese, lettuce, white onion, and tomato.

No option to select the meat temperature was offered, for reasons that became clear quickly: the Trojan Horse uses the “smash burger” technique. I found the patty ample, especially when doubled, and the meat was flavored enough for the style of burger offered. Unlike Neil’s burger, my patties did have some of the crispiness of a classic smash burger.

With the toppings we found something different. It appears that they put not just the lettuce through a veggie shredder,[2] but the tomato and onions as well. The technique seems to allow a more even distribution of the toppings, and because the pieces are smaller and thinner, they do not slide around as much. However, they do tend to fall out of the bottom of the burger.

The mound of "shaved" toppings

The mound of “shaved” toppings

As for the visual aesthetic of the shaved toppings, let’s just say that open-faced this burger would not launch a thousand ships.

This burger tasted similar to the one offered at Hinkles, although it was much, much bigger [Neil’s note: I can’t agree].

Did we feel like the Trojans slipped one past us?[3] No. Did we feel like the burger was as awful as a bloody massacre? Not at all, though their soggy, undercooked fries were expensive given their questionable quality. If you hand cut a fry people, fry once to cook it, then fry again to make it crispy. I learned that from Anthony Bourdain or somebody, you can look it up.

Neil:

It has been two weeks since Chris and I went to the Trojan Horse.  A trip to Ann Arbor (GO BLUE!) and Thanksgiving kept us busy (and school, too, I guess).  I know it has probably been tough for our diehard fans to be without a new review, so we thank you for your patience.  It’s good for me that I have had this break, because it has given me more time to reflect on a burger that was tough to review.

Trojan Horse calls their burgers “Better Burgers.”  I don’t know what they are being compared to, though.  If we are using an average burger as a benchmark, then the Trojan Horse definitely delivers a better than average burger.  And that’s not bad, especially considering that Chris and I were both expecting the burgers to be subpar.[4]

It just looks yummy

It just looks yummy

Chris and I both ordered the double cheeseburger, and I was really pleasantly surprised by the presentation.  It looked really appealing.  The fries did not, but we’ll get to that.  The Better Burgers are fast food style burgers, and Trojan Horse appears to employ the smash cooking technique, but there was no crust on the patty that is the usual, awesome trademark of the smash cooking style.  I would have preferred the textural difference that the crust can bring, but I can’t take away too many points, because the burger was pretty good overall.

The bun was pretty good – nothing special, but better than some we have had – and was toasted, though not as much as I would have liked.  The burger was topped with American cheese, lettuce, onion and tomato.  The cheese was gooey as it should be, and the veggies weren’t bad, though weren’t the best we have had (above average is the theme of this burger).  The veggies were sliced very thin, almost shredded, and are probably the same toppings used for their salads.  They still added a little crunch that was very welcome in what was pretty much a soft and gooey burger.

The fries were very disappointing.  They are hand-cut fries (always good), and the serving size was generous, but they better be generous if they want $3.00 for them.  The fries looked greasy and were greasy, and I definitely did not finish all of them, which is rare for me.  I LOVE fries, but not these.

IMG_0491

Neil gives two thumbs up!

I was very enthusiastic about this burger after eating it.  It was big.  It was gooey.  It was good.  I think Chris was concerned about my enthusiasm.  However, I’ve had a chance to think more about what we had.  I still think it was good, but it hasn’t stuck in my memory quite like some of the other burgers we have had.  I think a lot of the enthusiasm was caused by the fact that our expectations were so low going in.  Though Trojan Horse isn’t a place I’ll visit too often, this is the kind of burger (gooey[5]/fast food style) I might really crave after a night out.

Conclusion:

Trojan Horse made a decent burger, but nothing spectacular. We would recommend the burger over the overpriced Gyros though.

Raw Score:                         3.5 / 5 burgers
Price-adjusted:                   3.5 / 5 burgers

Price:                                 $6.50 for a double cheeseburger, $3.00 for fries
Gained points:                    Gooey cheese, great topping choices
Lost points:                        Mangled toppings
Drinks:                               Water
Date of visit:                      11/14/12 (Readjustment Day in Guinea Bissau)


[1] We are assuming that the wait staff are called Trojans. If a campus full of spoiled children on the west coast can call themselves Trojans, by God so can employees that serve mediocre Greek food.

[2] It is possible that they just slice them super thin.

[3] You might argue there is innuendo here. I leave that to your discretion.

[4] As a golfer, I find the use of the word “subpar” to be a little funny.  It’s a not a good thing to be a subpar golfer, but you want your score to literally be subpar.  If that makes sense.

[5] I’ve used the word “gooey” a lot today

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7 thoughts on “The Trojan Horse: Nothing to Write Homer About

  1. The photo of the burger AND fries makes them both look very appealing. Really surprised about the fries…..maybe try a second time and see what the result is.

    • @shipwreckology: When closed up, this was a burger that could launch a thousand ships. Would the sailors be disappointed on arrival tough? It may depend on what you got to eat on the voyage.

      Glad we could feed your hunger for a new post. Speaking of beauty and ships: I have been on the USS North Carolina, featured in your Museum Ship Monday section. She has beautiful lines and is in great shape for her age.

  2. Could you expound on what this ‘smash cooking technique’ is? For some of the other umm, less knowledgable, readers.

    Thanks,
    WBBB

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