Ok, so first let me declare that I am no “Parrothead” – for those of you who don’t know, that is someone who is a fan of Jimmy Buffett’s music. Like my father-in-law. Who is a massive fan and has been trying to convert me. If I hear, “why don’t we get drunk (and screw)” or “cheese burger in paradise” one more time… Suffice it to say I will never be a parrothead – but good on you if you are, just don’t play that music near me! Anyway, regardless of my thoughts on his island/country style music, if you have gone to the effort of writing a song about a cheeseburger and then offer said cheeseburger in your restaurants, well, that’s a cheeseburger I’d like to try.
So, after exploring hot and humid Key West, walking around Duval street, Katie and I decided it was high time for a cool refreshing beverage and a bite to eat. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe is actually a chain – a fact that I was unaware of before I stepped though the doors, but one that is blindingly obvious as soon as you do. The place screams tourist trap and felt soulless as all good chain restaurants do. The servers look disinterested and like they would rather be anywhere else than serving you. Actually I’m probably being a bit harsh, but this was certainly not the best service we’ve had. But lets put that to one side, we are here to talk about the food right? Otherwise I would have called my blog “Andrewsrestaurantadventures”. Ok, so what was I talking about – oh yeah, chain restaurant and cheeseburgers in paradise. Right, this place I think is the original location which I guess makes it better than just another franchise location. The place was packed so that’s a good sign and the meals coming out looked huge. One dish the blew my mind was the nachos – I think that’s what they were, some mountain of corn chips and toppings that must have been a meter high 5kgs in weight – Crazy.
Obviously I didn’t really need to look at the menu, I knew what I was getting ahead of time. Katie wanted to get some conch fritters (Which seemed to very light on the conch)to start and she ordered coconut shrimp and I got the cheeseburger (in paradise).
On the menu the cheese burger is described as “one of the best cheeseburgers in Key West, topped with American cheese, lettuce, and tomato”. The waitress asked if I wanted any mustard, mayonnaise or sauce – to which I said yes to all three. I really hate the fact that you have to sauce the burger yourself – I mean, yes I can make a damn good burger sauce, but I’m PAYING someone else to make my meal, I don’t want to do it myself… Anyway, I’ll get off my high horse on this one, lots of places in the USA do this – something about choice being a good thing, blah blah. I also cut up the pickle wedge that served on the side and added the into my burger… The patty was 100% chuck which I ordered medium – they cooked it medium well if I’m being generous, although I pretty sure there was not a hint of pink in the patty if I’m being honest. Still, it was pretty juicy, although I do find that 100% chuck beef gives a standard kind of fast food type flavour, it’s fine, but at a restaurant and when I’m paying a fairly high price I probably want at least a mixture that gives a less fatty feeling and a stronger beef flavour.
I also felt that the patty might have been pre-formed and possibly frozen. The lettuce was cut weirdly, in this square wedge that you can sort of make out in that terrible photo I took (Sorry, I was tired and hot – it’s like 100 here everyday). The meant that some bites I got a lot of lettuce and others, no lettuce. The tomato was very fresh and slightly mushy, and with only one small slice, most of the time I wasn’t getting any tomato anyway. The bun was quite good, a generic hamburger bun, soft white bread with sesame seeds. Overall, I’d have to say that I like the burger better than the song, but not by a lot. I’d give it a 6.5.