5365 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA 92604
If you are anywhere near the intersection of Jeffery and Culver in Irvine and listen very closely, you can hear the sounds of spatulas being tapped on grills, ketchup bottles being loaded and made ready for battle, and you might also pick up the sound of knife blades cutting produce. Yes, these are the sounds of war, well a burger war anyways. In one corner, or in this case, shopping center, we have The Stand, which we visited recently, and you can read that review here. Across the street, we have another new to OC burger concept, and the one we would be visiting on this evening, Mooyah.
I had not heard about Mooyah until they started following me on Instagram recently. When I finally checked them out, I was kind of embarrassed by not knowing about them. They have 76 domestic locations open and operating in nineteen states. They also have quite the international presence, as they are slinging their burgers in nine different countries, with a good majority of those in the Middle East. I could be partially forgiven not knowing about them because they only have one other Southern California outpost right now, that one being in Monrovia. At least that's the story I'm sticking to.
Actually, this Irvine location has been open close to two years now and is situated in the same shopping center as Ralphs, CVS, and California Pizza Kitchen. This is a fast casual burger place, where you order at the counter, and the food is brought out to you after that. The concept here is that they want you to create your own burger, build it from the bun up. The menu above the register only has this option, but there's also another menu that lists some of their all-time favorites, for people that don't want to think too hard about putting their perfect burger together. Not sure why these are not front and center as well, but at least now you are aware of them. Other than burgers, Mooyah offers chicken and turkey burgers, salads, and hot dogs. Let's see if they are winning this burger war, based on their food.
These Half and Half Fries ($4.39) came out first.We were instructed when ordering that the medium sized fries would easily feed the three of us, and they were totally right. For a little variety, we got both the sweet potato and the hand cut fries. I'm not a big fan of sweet potato fries, so I left those to David and Katie, both of whom liked them, but were not wowed by them. I kind of had the same reaction to the regular fries here. I think they had a lot of potential, but they came out lukewarm, and not as crisp as I like. We got their spicy ranch and regular ranch dressing as dipping sauces, both of which were fine, but the spicy ranch was not very spicy.
Regular readers of this blog know that this was not my choice on this evening. Since the calendar has flipped to 2017, Katie has tried to become a little more healthy, so she gave Mooyah's Chicken and Avocado Club Sandwich ($7.29) a try. Instead of the multi-grain bun that this usually come with, she opted for the lettuce wrap option here, which did not look too flattering in pictures. This came with avocado, ranch dressing, bacon, and tomato included. Katie was not too enthused by this sandwich. She thought that the chicken was overcooked and dry, and there was not enough ranch dressing and avocado to moisten this up. She'd definitely get something different on future trips here. The price of eating healthier I guess.
David got something that your more likely to see at Mooyah, a burger. Both David and I got one of their all-time favorite burgers to try, and his selection was this Well D'Onion ($6.99). This one-third pound burger was topped with cheddar cheese, onions, grilled onions, fried onions strings, lettuce, and spicy ranch all on a potato bun. David's not the most voa=cal of my friends, but when pressed, he said he enjoyed this burger and would get it again. That's about all I could get out of the big guy on this evening.
I was feeling like I wanted to be heated up on this rather chilly night, so I got the Double Diablo Burger ($8.49). This burger topped out at a half a pound and was joined on the bun by some pepper jack cheese, Cholula, bacon, mayo, and jalapenos. Even though this burger failed to heat me up too much, it was delicious. I really liked the loosely packed beef here, which was seasoned well and was very juicy. The condiments were distributed evenly, and the bun held it all together. Consuming this burger got me excited about other burgers here, and I look forward to coming back and trying out their Six Degrees of Bacon Burger, or maybe I'll build my own burger.
As excited as I was about the burger at Mooyah, I was let down by this Full Count Hot Dog ($6.29). This was another one of their all-time favorite menu items, which came with plenty of American cheese, ketchup, mustard, onions, relish, and bacon. I should have listened to my golden rule about hot dogs, never order a hot dog with ketchup. Not to bad mouth you ketchup loving purists out there, but ketchup does not belong on a hot dog ever. At Mooyah they use Hebrew National All Beef Hot Dogs but I could not tell, due to all the toppings used on this one. The cheese really overpowered here, and the other condiments really did not help either. If the menu had not said that there was bacon on this, I never would have known. The bun was probably the best part of this, as it had a nice crunch to it, but remained stable throughout the short life of this hot dog.
So who's winning the burger war at the intersection of Jeffery and Alton? After just one visit to each, I'd have to say it's close, but I'm giving the slight edge to The Stand. I really enjoyed the hot dog better there, while the burger was better here at Mooyah. So the tiebreaker would be the fries, and I liked the ones at The Stand just a bit better, plus I enjoyed that they offer onion rings, unlike Mooyah. Mooyah offers fried crispy onion straws on their burgers, and those might be a great addition to their side item menu. Just a little hint. I thought the prices were pretty fair for the burgers at Mooyah, but the hot dog prices were all out of whack. My hot dog was nowhere near worth over $6, and a plain hot dog will set you back $4, while the chili dog is pushing $6 as well. Service was pretty strong here, as Dayana, who took our order at the counter, also brought out our food, checked on us regularly, and brought us out all the sauces we could ever want. It was a good night of catching up with my good friend David, and getting to experience the Great Burger War of Irvine firsthand.
Out of five pommel horses, (because the first Mooyah was located in Plano, Texas, ten years ago, and that city proclaims itself the gymnastics capital of the world, and the pommel horse is one of my favorite events), five being best to zero being worst, Mooyah gets 2.5 pommel horses.
For more information about Mooyah, head to their website here: http://www.mooyah.com/