Cost: $15 per person
I don't know how many of you guys watch Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, but I used to be a huge fan. During the first few seasons there were a decent amount of spots that Guy Fieri hit up in the Chicago land area, and I made it a point to try as many of them as I could. Over the past season or so I've kind of stopped watching, mostly because he basically goes anywhere whether or not it's a diner, drive-in, or dive. On top of that, there's been a huge drought with respect to Illinois locations. Well, finally Guy made his return, and word on the street was that he made a bee-line for DMK Burger Bar.
I'd been getting suggestions to try this place out from a ton of my readers, and for some reason I just never got around to making a visit. I knew that if I didn't go before the episode aired that I'd have an even harder time getting in. So, last Saturday I rounded up DWeiss, Specs, Schneider, and the Professor and headed a few blocks north on Sheffield to DMK.
DMK is a pretty open spaced bar. There's a long counter on one side and a series of tables surrounding the other walls. We went on St. Patty's day (or at least the day that Chicago chooses to celebrate on), so I'm not sure if our experience will correlate well to other days. The wait was maybe 10 minutes for the 5 of us. We got there at 5 PM so that Schneider and I could make the Bulls game after, and if we'd shown up 10 minutes later our wait could have been a half our or more. I don't think they take reservations, and the point I'm trying to get across is that you may have a variable to long experience with regards to waiting. At least they've got a good amount of standing room where you can grab something from their good tap selection.
When our server introduced herself, we kind of did a double take and realized that we'd been on a trip to Israel together like 6 years ago. Although I'm clearly biased by our friendship of sorts, I thought that the service was excellent. Our food came out quickly, and we got some great recommendations.
The cost is a little up there I guess, but it's become more of the norm for these fancier burger spots. All of the burgers are $8. They're a little on the smaller side, but they're all grass fed beef. The beers were around $5 which is on par with most places I think. The large orders of fries for the table $4 which I thought was pretty cheap considering what you might pay for a crappy basket of fries at other bars in the city.
While we were waiting they brought us a complimentary basket of Fried Pickles and Okra. At first I thought we were getting some special treatment from our waitress (which may have been the case), but from talking to other friends who have been to DMK, it seems that they like to toss out free things here and there to anyone. I'm not a big fan of Okra, but the Fried Pickles were delicious (and of course they led to a lengthy Snooki conversation). For our burgers the Professor got the #1 (bacon, cheddar, BBQ, red onion), DWeiss and Specs got the #2 (onion strings, blue cheese, chipotle ketchup), Schneider had the #4 (jack cheese, green chiles, fried egg, bacon), and I got the #6 (brie, portabella, dijon, scallions). These burgers were all made on the flat top which is a DWeiss favorite. Everyone thought the meat was tasty but maybe a bit dry (possibly from being grass fed), and I was hoping for a char mark texture here and there from the flat top which didn't really come through. Ingredients blended together well though, and everyone seemed blissfully happy (and quiet from full mouths). We got three orders of fries for the table: the Salt and Pepper, the Sweet Potato, and the Parmesan with Truffle Cream. My favorite were the regular Salt and Pepper fries. They had good substance and crisp, weren't overly salted, and came with a zingy chipotle ketchup. The Sweet Potato fries seemed pretty natural without any added sugar which was pretty well received by all. We all (especially Schneider) loved the Parmesan Truffle fries. They weren't overly dressed, but the flavors came through strongly.
The Fried Pickles and Okra
The Salt and Pepper Fries
The Parmesan Truffle Fries
The Sweet Potato Fries
As we were wrapping things up, in very similar fashion to Burger Bar, we were offered free milk shakes. They brought us some miniature Espresso Shakes and Peanut Butter Shakes to try out. I really enjoyed these shakes. They were on the thicker side without being malty or too difficult to drink through a straw.
The Peanut Butter Shake
His milk shake brings all the boys to the yard (credit: Lisa Pearl)
The Espresso Shake
I'm a little confused about DMK. I really liked it, but I think this was much more due to the shakes and fries rather than the burgers. That's not to say the burgers weren't solid, it's just that I really loved the fries and shakes. I'm giving DMK Burger Bar 4 out of 5 Pearls.