By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
Although the grass-fed beef had a rich, beefy flavor, the organic burger was completely arid and densely packed — like biting through a piece of day-old meat loaf. I could forgive the sliders for being drier than the regular-sized burgers but not for being exceptionally boring: There's nothing to them, other than doughy buns, which are too thick for such small patties. Both of the sides we got were just average: Grease serves some fairly unexceptional, shoestring-cut French fries, but the "OMG" cheese sauce livened up with flecks of fresh cheddar and scallions was creamy and intensely cheesy. The onion rings, on the other hand, were wispy and thin, with a flaky crust reminiscent of a bloomin' onion but far greasier.
I wanted to see if the cooks were more up to scratch during a busy lunch, so I returned on a Tuesday to find the joint packed with Clematis denizens on their midday breaks. My vegetarian girlfriend joined me this time; she got a Palm Beach Island "A List" burger with a house-made, vegan patty in place of the beef. It's topped with red and yellow tomato, fresh mozzarella, balsamic reduction, and pesto sauce, the whole thing nestled over a few tears of radicchio ($9.95). I ordered a Sergeant Pepper burger, which comes with sautéed onions, peppers, and pepperjack cheese ($9.95).
We were already committing a cardinal sin by ordering a veggie burger, so we opted to further the insult with a Greek salad ($10.50). I wish we hadn't. The tepid mixture was filled with slightly wilted romaine lettuce and doused with fairly bland lemon vinaigrette. The few strips of red onion, mushy kalamata olives, diced tomato, feta, and fleshy-white, unseasoned strips of cold chicken could not save it.
213 Clematis St.
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Region: West Palm Beach
We'd barely suffered through a few bites of the stuff before our burgers arrived. I could tell right away that the Sergeant Pepper burger was hastily cooked: The sides of the patty were still purple, and the bun was less toasted than run under a salamander for the briefest of moments. Combined with the wet slurry of onions, peppers, and tomatoes, the undercooked burger devolved into a sloppy, mushy mess.
My girlfriend soldiered through her veggie burger — even it was underdone, squeezing out of the bun in a soppy paste when she bit into it. I don't know if they par-cook these things ahead of time, but the loose mixture of edamame, carrots, onion, and soy goop was more of an argument against vegetarianism than any nostalgic poster on the wall.
So what's up, Grease? As an avid burger lover, I can appreciate the unapologetic ode to saturated fats and meaty hunks of steer. But there's not a whole lot here to back that position. Consistency is a problem, yes, but it's not the only one: The burgers are $9 or more, and everything else, from the toppings to the fries, are extra. The toppings are yawn-inducing and the specialty burgers woefully uninspired — you can get applewood-smoked bacon, sautéed onions, or barbecue sauce on a burger just about anywhere, and the cheese selection couldn't hang with the stuff from your average deli case. The joint has an enviable selection of beers and a nifty layout and is packed daily, at least for now. But if all you're going to do is make burgers, the least you could do is inject some creativity into them. Sadly, Grease's burgers — and concept — are well-done. And not in a good way.