This month, we had the pleasure of dining with industrial design guru Donald Corey, Associate Professor of Industrial Design at Appalachian State University by day, creator of brilliant gadgets by night. Don’s creations have been showcased at international design events such as Salone Satelite in Milan, ICFF in New York, and CODE in Copenhagen. He also runs the design firm The Other Edge, Inc. in Raleigh with his wife Vanese Clough.
I arrived early to Tír na nÓg, so I had a chance to try to relax before meeting my fellow critics. However, the extra time only caused me to stumble out of the box with a lighthearted but ill-advised question to the other two: “Should I order the falafel burger?” Their facial expressions and flailing arms conveyed the seriousness of the situation. I steadied myself for the task at hand.
A serious time calls for serious burger. So I ordered the Whiskey Burger, a serious combination of chili and fried egg that was seriously good and merged well with the perfectly cooked patty. It was all topped by a whiskey aioli sauce, which was nice but muted by the determined sweet-and-salty combination of the other ingredients. The top bun was pleasantly toasted, but three quarters of the way through, the bottom bun crumbled under the pressure.
I thought my rating would be higher until the very, very last bite, when I realized I was too pensive to go higher than a 4. But overall, I enjoyed the Whisky Burger—seriously.
Don’s rating: 4 out of 5.
According to Wikipedia, Tír na nÓg is an earthly paradise inhabited by supernatural beings, “a place where...music, strength, life, and all pleasurable pursuits came together in a single place.” As the Whiskey Burger was placed before me at Tír na nÓg in downtown Raleigh, I imagined that this delicacy undoubtedly exists at the restaurant’s mythical counterpart. After all, how often is one regaled with breakfast (fried egg), lunch (chili), and dinner (beef patty) on a single burger?
The breakfast part was great; fried egg is a favorite burger topping of mine, and Tír na nÓg did it right. Lunch was tasty, too. The chili was no hot dog chili, but real chili with beans. The dinner part was also strong—a juicy, flavorful patty. What kept the Whiskey Burger from achieving mythical status, however was the bun, which was just too large. Yes, a case could be made that a lot of bread is necessary to contain three meals, but there was so much of it that it made eating the burger a challenge, and it detracted from the flavor of the patty.
For that reason alone, an adventurer presenting this burger to the denizens of Tír na nÓg might be sent back to the mainland. I can Ónly give it a 4 out of 5.
In search of a burger in Raleigh, but which one would make me feel jolly? I asked Donal Logue, he said, “Tir na nOg!” while munching an onion bialy.
I ordered the one they called Blount Street. Onion rings on the beef made it offbeat. The bun was too big, though much was to dig, espec’ly the quality moo meat.
Scott’s Rating: 4.25 out of 5.
Scott Blumenthal and Michael Marino are The Straight Beef, professional burgiatrists who review, rate and rank Triangle-area burgers on their award-winning blog. You can read more about The Straight Beef, including their education and scholarship, ratings system, and burger categorization method here.