Diesel and Duke’s is a fast-casual burger shack with locations in any NYC suburb containing a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company. If you’re within a stone’s throw of an Audi SUV, down vests, and a child named Mackenzleigh, chances are you’re also close to a Diesel and Duke.
They’ve been A-OK in my book ever since they practically gave away their burgers on their opening day. Yeah, sure, it’s a marketing ploy, but last time I checked almost everyone stopped betting on the gnashing maws of the general public in favor of blowing a small group of influencers. I’ll give a Get Out of Jail Free card to any restaurant who gives away some of their product on Day 1. What better than a $1 burger to win the hearts and minds of a new community?
I’ve heard a lot about these burgers, specifically about their similarity to Shake Shack, but also that they’ve got some whimsical butt fuck burger with peanut butter. I’ve got no interest or frame of reference for either, so up until two weeks ago I was uninitiated. So I’m coming in here with zero bias.
Before we go further, the full judging criteria, as well as some other pithy musings, can be found in the Best Things: Burger post. Once we get a few on the board I’ll make a scoreboard or something. Or, if you want to help me not look like a fucking gromit, you can volunteer to teach me how to add something like that to the site. Or not – closed mouths don’t get fed.
I ordered the Standard, which is a single patty with lettuce, tomato, American cheese, ketchup and aioli. There was an option to get another patty for $3, but I declined.
Patty type. Not specified, but probably your standard 80/20. It’s like a McDonalds burger patty encrusted with the crispy outside of your local diner’s corned beef hash.
Is it cooked well? Cooked medium-asphalt. Saying this burger is cooked well is like saying Mercury has been cooked well by the Sun. Someone should scream “WORLDSTAR!” while they’re cooking this thing, followed shortly by “shit! stop, you’ve cooked it beyond recognition, chill, you’re gunna kill it”. The plus side here is that its very crispy. If this was called a crispy beef sandwich instead of a burger I’d be pumped.
Is it seasoned? Total salt bomb, but not off-putting. However, if one more grain of salt fell on this patty I would have made a face.
Does the size or amount make sense? Nope. This is a super thin single patty, which I would not do again. At this point, there isn’t too much separating this single patty burger from, say, Wendy’s smallest denomination of whatever their burgers are called.
Bun type. The bun is some non-Martin’s potato bun variant.
Does it work? It’s actually really good. It’s moist, slightly sweet, and has this saffron yellow color that adds to the cartoon-ish nature of this burger. This thing is basically the burger emoji.
Is it dry? Nope. Its dry enough to capture residual moisture from the toppings, but moist enough to make up for the Dust Bowl-ish patty.
Cheese type. Yellow American – God’s cheese.
Is the cheese melted? It’s nearly impossible to not melt American cheese.
What type of shit are they putting on it? Tomato, lettuce, ketchup, aioli.
How much shit are they putting on it? Literally once slice of tomato and one leaf of iceberg lettuce. Massive amounts of white lettuce though, which was off putting – minor deduction.
Does all this shit add to the burger? Yeah. One of the things I hate more than anything about a shitty burger is slippage. Slippage is a result of the burgers messy plate tectonics. Essentially, two faults get over lubricated by excess toppings and condiments and the shit inside a burger slips outside of said burger. The plate tectonics of this burger are master class, and as a result, ZERO. FUCKING. SLIPPAGE.
How do all of these things above work together? You’re getting a marginally elevated fast food burger. I honestly can’t help but wondering if my experience would have been completely different if I just went with a double. My bet is that they like having a $7.99 burger as the first thing you see on the menu.
This is an average burger. Perfectly average. I think this burger should be used as the Mendoza line for all other burgers. Any worse than this, it’s a bad burger. Any better, it’s a good burger. There are ways to get more out of your order, through customization, which should be utilized. However, be cognizant of the price as you customize. Just by adding a drink and fries my humble burger went from 7.99 up to $15. That’s a lot for something that may have a drive-thru analog.
2.5 OUT OF 5
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