Hard Rock Cafe, having anchored one end of Dallas’ Victory Park development for the past seven years, is better known as a tourist destination than a burger mecca.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the popular music-themed eatery — Hey look, Bonnie Raitt’s guitar! Over there, a Reverend Horton Heat poster! — with its more than 190 locations in nearly 60 countries worldwide, can’t offer up an intriguing burger, like the seasonally appropriate sandwich we sampled this week.
The burger: Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Hard Rock Cafe is serving up the Guinness & Jameson bacon cheeseburger. (This limited-edition burger is not the restaurant’s first entry into beer-burger hybrid territory: the Hard Rock has had such concoctions as the Samuel Adams OctoberFest schnitzel burger and the Modelo Especial bacon cheeseburger.) For a cool $14.95, you get the beer- and whiskey-infused burger, served with a side of fries.
The patty: A half-pound of certified Angus beef, the patty is cooked to medium-well (you can ask the server for a different level of doneness). It’s plenty juicy, but for reasons we’ll get to, some of that beefy flavor gets a bit lost in all of the (admittedly delicious) toppings. Still, for a chain restaurant, it was a pleasantly thick, well-cooked piece of meat.
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The bun: The Guinness & Jameson bacon cheeseburger rests on a toasted brioche bun, which held firm throughout and didn’t distract from the main event.
The toppings: The Guinness comes into play with a beer-infused cheese sauce, while the Jameson makes its appearance via the whiskey-infused bacon jam. Tomatoes and arugula complete the burger. The cheese has a nice, smoky taste to it, and the bacon jam provides a welcome bit of bite. Unfortunately, both are so overwhelming that those two tastes are really all that registers about the burger. There’s some meat flavor every so often, but the Guinness and Jameson dominate the palate.
The sides: Seasoned fries are served, with a dipping sauce (Sriracha mayo on our visit). They were perfectly crisp, flavorful and a fine complement to the burger. (Another option is ordering the fries with a side of Guinness cheese sauce and topping them with bacon, for $2 extra.)
The verdict: As St. Patrick’s Day-themed burgers go, we’ll take it — if only because Hard Rock Cafe mercifully skipped slapping this creation on a green bun. The Guinness and Jameson condiments tend to overwhelm the prime piece of meat, but burger fans seeking something new might just find this sandwich to be the proverbial pot of gold at the rainbow’s end. (The burger will be on the Hard Rock Cafe’s menu through April 10.)