Editor’s note: “Burger of the Week” is a new series that will highlight a different restaurant burger each Saturday in Life & Arts.
When we launched a burger series online at DFW.com about a month ago, we said, “Any burger is fair game.”
In the case of the Dirkburger, its creator’s got game.
The Dirkburger is, of course, named for Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, and no, the burger is not 7 feet tall. Nowitzki consulted with American Airlines Center executive chef Mark Mabry on the burger, although Nowitzki told a group of journalists that he didn’t get his choice of a turkey patty on the burger.
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“I’m a healthy guy, so I said, ‘I’ll have a turkey burger,’ but he basically told me, ‘nobody eats that stuff but [you],” Nowitzki said.
What he did get was a third-pound burger on a Bavarian (of course) pretzel bun, with jalapeño beer cheese, bacon-onion marmalade, arugula (or as Nowitzki referred to it, “leafs”) and mustard-horseradish aioli (there was also a chunk of cheese speared into the top of the bun). Not bad for $12, especially considering the often steep price of arena/stadium food (you’ll pay as much if not more for a burger at several downtown Fort Worth restaurants). And the preview version didn’t come with fries (or at least ours didn’t), which are included in the price.
Here’s how it breaks down:
The patty: The third-pound patty is on the thin side but wasn’t too dry, even with a number of the burgers being served up all at once and put in a line where they waited to be eaten. We thought we detected some pepperiness in the meat, but that may have come from one of the toppings.
The bun: Ours was a little cold, but also sturdy and buttery. A little bready, as you might expect from a pretzel bun, but it didn’t overwhelm everything inside, and it never succumbed to dryness.
The toppings: This is where the burger really scores: the bacon-onion marmalade provides some sweetnees that plays off the spicy notes from the mustard-horseradish aioli. The jalapeño beer cheese was sort of underwhelming, but the arugula was fresh and plentiful, and was a nice variation on a more predictable slice of, say, iceberg lettuce.
The verdict: With arena/stadium food we often find, to paraphrase something we once read in a Peanuts cartoon, that the anticipation far exceeds the actual event. But this is a burger we’d order again, and we’d love to see it become a more permanent fixture or land on some restaurant’s menu. This is a sports burger that stands tall.
▪ Available through the end of March at concession stands 106 and 118 at the American Airlines Center, Dallas.