Battle of the Scottsdale Green Chile Bacon Cheeseburgers: Greasewood Flat vs. Carlsbad Tavern
|Carlsbad Tavern's Green Chile Bacon Cheeseburger|
And In This Corner: Carlsbad Tavern
The Setup: Carlsbad is the young 'un in this battle. But, they've been open since 1995, which in this town is far from being a spring chicken. The menu is casual American distinctly rooted in New Mexico style, with the kitchen putting chiles of some sort on anything that didn't run away fast enough.
The Good: The green chile here is plentiful and spicy, manifesting as a green chile sauce. Cheese is in the Sonoran-Mex style, as a gooey blanket of melted Cheddar. The patty gets some alluring flavor thanks to cooking over a pecan wood fire. In contrast to Greasewood Flat, burgers are always cooked to order; the chef nailed my preferred medium-rare. The bacon was every bit as good as Greasewood Flat's, but the burger patty brought enough smoke to leave the bacon almost superfluous. The whole shebang is served open-faced on sourdough, a wise move since you don't stand a chance of using your hands to eat it.
The Bad: Remember what I said about toasting the bun? Carlsbad is guilty as charged. Toasting the bread would have given it at least half a fighting chance; as it stands, the sourdough surrendered into flabby obscurity almost instantaneously. The patty, while tasty, could have used a little more sear. The fries are hot from the fryer, but they're those dismal crispy-coated fries that taste more like Styrofoam than potatoes.
Their Special Move: The kitchen is open until 2 AM. Aw yeah.
And The Winner Is...
Greasewood Flat. I've been eating at both for years, and I'm sure I'll still order the green chile cheeseburger at Carlsbad on a pretty regular basis. But, location be damned, Greasewood Flat's burger was the more enjoyable overall. They absolutely nailed what a backyard-style burger should be, making it one of my very favorite burger choices in the entire metro Phoenix area. The rustic atmosphere and live honky-tonk are icing on the cake.