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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Best Burger Joint in Brookfield?

Jake’s new venue shows attention to detail

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Just over a year ago, Jake and Karen Replogle opened a burger joint in Brookfield. The Replogles also own the far older Jake’s steakhouse just a short walk down the road from their new restaurant, located in the former Haute Taco (which they also owned). The interior of Jake’s Burger is not all that different from Haute Taco, with the bar in the front room and the dining area in the back. The tequila selection, however, is a lot smaller, although the bar still serves a Haute Taco Margarita in memory of that former establishment.

The menu at Jake’s Burger is a simple one, all about burgers and their accompaniments, plus a few salads. The basic burgers have three patty choices. The “Jake’s Custom” (the most popular) is a blend of ground brisket, short rib and sirloin; the second is ground turkey; and the third is Wisconsin grass-fed beef (which costs an additional $2.50). Other “burgers” are made from battered cod and portobello mushroom caps. The basic “Jake’s” is 8 ounces of meat and is thick—a good idea, as the density prevents it from becoming overcooked.

The burgers are sold without sides included, but good ones are available. Jake’s onion rings ($4.95-6.95) are the same ones that make the steakhouse an attraction. It’s a haystack of onions, ultra-slender with the thinnest coating of batter. Eat them while they are still warm! Also consider the house cut fries ($2.95-$4.95), which are about as good as French fries get. For an extra buck you get a decent beer/cheese sauce for dipping.

Most of the salads are sold in two sizes. The BLT salad ($4.95-$7.95) is frisée with cucumber, cherry tomato, avocado, bacon and tiny Kalamata olives. A good peppercorn dressing is served on the side. Be warned that the olives are unpitted. The Caesar salad ($4-$7) is a basic preparation with chopped romaine, Parmesan, croutons and a standard dressing.

The burgers testify to the staff’s attention to detail. The portobello mushroom burger ($8.95) is as thick as the beef burgers using a few whole mushroom caps. The caps are topped with fresh arugula dressed with truffle oil. The key to this sandwich is oven-roasted tomato bursting with summery flavor. The bun is decent too. The most basic burger is the “Classic” ($7.95), a simple affair topped with an oversized leaf of lettuce, American cheese, tomato and a bit of red onion. All burgers are topped with a slice of sweet dill pickle. The pickles are made here and it shows. The “Port & Blue” ($9.95) is heaped with caramelized onions that are sweet, thanks to some port wine. There is a faint flavor of blue cheese. The most popular has to be the “Jake’s” ($9.95). It has the best of everything—fresh lettuce, a handful of those onion rings, the oven-roasted tomatoes, cheddar cheese and Jake’s special sauce.

The menu also offers a couple of “rafts.” These are open-faced with the main ingredients served over the bun. The tuna nicoise raft ($10.95) is a patty of albacore tuna cooked medium-rare and topped with field greens, cherry tomato and scallions, with sherry dijon vinaigrette. Plus, there is a very tasty olive tapenade mayo.

Gluten-free buns are available for an additional $1.50, and each burger has a suggested beer or wine pairing. The beer list is the better one with many fine import and craft selections. Apparently burgers are outselling the former tacos. Attention to detail is always important.

Jake’s Burger
18905 W. Capitol Drive
262-781-1110
$$
Handicapped access: yes
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