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The result is a char-grilled patty sandwiched inside a soft poppy-seed bun, delivered fresh from Cusano's Bakery in Pembroke Park. The burger I ate was topped with gooey, creamy American cheese that melted onto the meat, acting like a bun adhesive. The bun-to-patty ratio is a little off — eaters almost get lockjaw opening wide enough to fit a bite of the monster patty into their mouths, and because it's so thick, mine came out a little rarer than expected. But this beast of beef is fresh and not a product of a night spent at room temperature.
Rumor No. 3: The staff is rude... on purpose.
Word on the street is that staff members yearn for simpler, quieter days, so they act surly to deter business. Tales abound of a bearded cook ripping off his apron and yelling out the kitchen service window or waiters cursing at paying customers. I've eaten here for years and have had my share of annoying service hiccups. On a recent visit, for instance, I asked for a seafood option but was told they didn't have it. I asked for another, and ditto. I went through four choices before I finally asked, "Do you have any seafood at all tonight?" My waitress yelled across the dining room to the grill area, then turned back to the table and responded "We have clams" without an apology or a smile.
I enjoyed the sweet little-neck steamers and dunked them into clarified butter, but I'd been in the mood for some of Le Tub's other great items (which are often overshadowed by that burger): crab legs, the fresh catch sandwich, the beer-battered shrimp smothered with Old Bay seasoning or the seafood salad with shrimp, crab, and salmon in a dill vinaigrette. (Gumbo and chili are also big hits; I have fond memories of sitting by the iron fireplace on a chilly winter night consuming spoonfuls of meaty sirloin chili, which warmed me better than a triple-fat-goose jacket.)
If servers are purposely rude, why are regulars so tolerant? Quinn says, "Don't get us wrong — we like the business. But some people just don't get it." Regulars, he says, don't mind fetching their own water from an old sports cooler, and they accept the long wait for food because they understand that only 28 burgers fit on the small grill at once and that it takes at least 20 minutes for each one to cook. "I'm not going to bullshit you; when I say it will take an hour and half, it's going to take an hour and a half," Quinn says. According to him, servers aren't rude, just straight-shooting.
Rumor No. 4: Tell the waiter to "fuck off" and pay only $2 for your burger.
In keeping with rumored bad service, one urban legend dares customers to insult a waiter for the promise of an extremely discounted burger.
This was actually the first myth I had attempted to demystify. When I first walked in and met my valuable resource, Quinn, he had been busy making a drink order for one of the servers. After he finished, he turned to me and sternly said, "You have to order a drink to sit here." I was intimidated and decided to not push my luck by telling him to fuck off. But after I had earned Quinn's respect with a few minutes of friendly banter, I asked him about the rumor. Quinn had a good laugh and said that receiving a $2 burger in exchange for insult is about as likely as getting a date by pulling a girl's hair.
If you don't get the $2 burger, at least you no longer need to worry about carrying around cash. Beginning January of this year, Le Tub nixed its cash-only policy and began accepting credit cards for bills over $25.
Rumor No. 5: Management removed the burger from the menu for two years.
I heard this from a journalist who believed it with devout conviction. Supposedly, the owners were so angered by the attention brought by GQ that they removed the prized burger from the menu.
Quinn was so surprised by this fabrication that he pulled aside Sidle and shared it with him incredulously. There was just one menu item that suffered because of the influx of business, Quinn says. It was so busy, "we couldn't make gumbo for four months; it was crazy," says Quinn.
When you visit Le Tub, bring some patience, relax, and order a beer and an appetizer. It may take awhile, but rest assured — there's no white-out on the Xeroxed paper menu. The prized burger remains.
I visit LeTub once every 4-5 years. That's how long it takes for me to forget how much this place sucks. I second PeterBobber's comment. Leave it to "trendy" South Florida to fall in love with a place like LeTub. Add a velvet rope and people will stand behind it.
Not sure why the other commentators are so down on Le Tub. Yeah, it looks a little grimy. So? I mean, for what percentage of our history have human beings been eating off of sterilized stainless steel, anyway?
Get past the rough'n'rustic aeshetic. Fall in love with the gumbo and fall in crazy-Van-Gogh-esque love with the burger. (Order it rare, or you're missing the point.) I've eaten burgers in eleven states and a dozen countries, and Le Tub's is the best I've found so far -- much, much better than Peter Luger's burgers in Brooklyn, which have a tendency to char unpleasantly. (Brooklyn's best burger is probably at Cafe Ghia. Bacon-fat infused beef on a lightly toasted brioche with a fluffy sundried tomato aioli. Astounding!)
Anyhoo -- good story!
Took my kids there and walked out ..the place was disgusting,dirty and the help looked like they had'nt showered in a month...
This place is a glorified shithole with assholes working there...just goes to show u that idiots that believe what they read in GQ will over pay for dogshit on rye if they are told it tastes great...
I cannot believe that the myth of this place is still perpetuated. The burgers are NOT done to order, you take what they deliver. The place is filthy because you cannot clean a restaurant exposed to the elements. The burgers are good, not the best 20 in the country, let alone South Florida. Most of the staff are rude and untrained in service. That is not quirky, just lousy service. There are so many other good burger joints around, let this place go back to the "characters" and the "locals" and stop giving them undeserved publicity.
Still like hitting this place after diving at John Lloyd. But it is expensive and crowded. Still worth it if you can get in.
Thanks for the heads-up..Have'nt been there in 5 yrs ...I'll pass...hate to eat with all the d-bag tourists...
Awesome story. I can't think of a better way to cover a restaurant that has so much hype and detritus circling it. Go Jamie!