When Bon Appetit magazine declares your cheeseburger "Top 3 in the country" you have some tall tastebuds to satisfy.
The "Dirty Burg" as it is affectionately called, can be found in the Chicago West Loop area, which is bustling with hip new restaurants. John and Karen Shields run the combo of Smyth (upstairs) and The Loyalist (a bar downstairs). We didn't eat upstairs but it has been named a top new restaurant by many a critic. For $16 you get a short rib, chuck, ground bacon patty on a toasted sesame bun. It is accompanied with American cheese, homemade pickles and onions. You also get the onion juice mixed with vinegar as a dipper as well as what they call their "crack mayo", which is mayo with a sweet chili and garlic mix.
It was juicy and flavorful with a little tanginess. Mine seemed cooked medium whereas medium rare would suit me better. I wanted to put it down and savor the flavors but I found myself wanting to get into another bite after bite. The fries were good too. Top 3 in the country is quite subjective, I wouldn't go Hall of Fame, but this is well worth a stop if you are in Chicago.
I would have to say I liked the burger at Gruner's in Portland better. It had a thicker patty and more bacon.
Reservations are recommended unless you arrive at the 5:00 pm opening. The whammer deal is on Tuesdays when you get the cheeseburger, a beer and a shot for $15. I will definitely return and hopefully try Smyth as well. We saw quite a few nice looking dishes but didn't get a chance to try because our bellies were full from an afternoon of deep dish Chicago pizza. A review for another day.....