Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Living the Burger Dream in HB?

The American Dream
21058 Pacific Coast Highway #130
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

It's been quite some time since we have reviewed a burger spot. Okay, it was only two months ago, but that's a long time between burger reviews on this restaurant review site. Needless to say, I was craving a burger, and it didn't help that the Orange Coast Magazine's edition of best burgers has been sitting on my desk, staring me in the face for weeks now. My burger cravings have gotten so bad that I had to turn the magazine over.

The American Dream was not listed in the Orange Coast article of best burgers, but that doesn't mean they don't get some very high praise. They nabbed the number 2 spot on the OC Register's best burgers of 2017 list by famed Restaurant Critic Brad A Johnson. He also called their fries the best in all the county. Very high praise for a guy that has written over and over about french fries. I was pretty excited to give this place a try, and we took my parents along as well.

This would be my parents first trip to Pacific City, which is situated just south of the Huntington Beach Pier. Pacific City is a pretty impressive shopping center, with a good many shops and restaurants that we have wanted to try. The American Dream is situated in Lot 579, which is the food hall here, but they have their own seating area.

I don't really know too much about who started The American Dream as their website is pretty much bare bones. They list their address and have a few pictures of their burgers, and that's pretty much it. No menu, no history, or other locations listed. Very rare these days to not have a functioning website, but I did check out their menu on Yelp. They offer fries and appetizers, six burgers, a chicken sandwich, and three salads. They also feature about 60 beers on tap and 10 wines to choose from. No drinking for me on this evening, even though I was with my parents. Let's check out the food we had at The American Dream.

I was a little surprised to see Buffalo Cauliflower ($8) on the menu here, as fried cauliflower is a mainstay on most Persian restaurant menus, and one of our favorite things to get when we are having Persian food. We had to give it a try for sure. This was a big serving size and the four of us had a hard time finishing it off. The fried cauliflower was tossed with some buffalo sauce and served with some carrot and celery sticks. I really enjoyed this appetizer, although some of the pieces of cauliflower needed to be cut down in size so we could dip them into the provided ranch and blue cheese dressing. Not as greasy as I was expecting, this was a good start to our meal.

The burgers do not come with fries at The American Dream, so we got these Truffle Fries ($7) as another appetizer. The fries are definitely hand cut and not frozen, which is a big plus in my book. They kind of reminded me of the fries at Islands, but a little crisper, and with bigger sized fries than you get at Islands. These fries came with black truffle salt, truffle oil, garlic, parmesan, and parsley. I'm always a little too worried that the truffle is going to be overwhelming, but that wasn't the case here, as the garlic was the prevailing flavor. The fries come with your choice of their dipping sauces. We tried the ranch, garlic aioli, and blue cheese, all of which were pretty solid, but did not stand out any more than any others we have had. I liked that they allowed you to have as many sauces as you would like to try. I'll be trying their spicy aioli and their thousand island dressing on my next visit. 

After our apps disappeared rather quickly our burgers were up next starting with my mom's choice, the 55 Chevy ($12). This is their most basic burger on the menu. It comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion, and cheddar cheese. It was not as big as I was expecting, but was the perfect size for my mom, who split this and another sandwich you'll see in a bit with Katie. My mom liked this simple burger well enough, but Katie thought it was kind of average, and nothing about it really stood out. She admits she's not really a burger person though.

This Pastrami Burger ($14) is the burger that Brad Johnson had rated as the number two burger in all of OC, and this would be my dad's pick on this evening. He loved this burger, calling it one of the best he has had. My dad is really particular about his pastrami, needing it to be sliced really thin for some reason. I personally like a thicker pastrami so you can taste it better. Along with the pastrami on this burger was some cheddar cheese, pickles, mustard, and some rather spicy horseradish cream that caught me a bit off guard. I really liked this burger as well. The spicy condiments, the salty pastrami with the cheddar, and the very good chuck brisket patty made this a winner for me. Also, a very solid toasted bun held everything together well.

Since my dad had gotten the pastrami burger I decided to try this Chorizo Chili Burger ($15). With this one, it starts with their signature chuck brisket patty and then is topped with some chorizo chili, lettuce, tomato, cheddar, avocado, and spicy aioli. I'd probably get this without any of the produce next time and maybe add some red onion. I'm not really a fan of lettuce and tomato on a chili burger. The chorizo chili had a little kick to it which I appreciated. I also thought it was a little weird to have avocado on this, but it worked out nicely. The toppings overshadowed the burger, but I was not complaining after eating this one. 

I guess Katie did not get the memo that we were all having burgers on this evening, as she selected this Buffalo Fried Chicken Sandwich ($12). The lone chicken sandwich on the American Dream menu comes with some blue cheese slaw, pickles, and a buffalo sauced fried chicken breast. Katie was pretty pleased with this one. She liked the slight spiciness from the buffalo sauce, the chicken was tender, and the slaw added a nice crunch. She had wished that the blue cheese was a little more prevalent. Still, she would definitely get this again and maybe ask for a side of blue cheese dressing for dipping.

After leaving The American Dream I started thinking about our visit. This is a very solid burger spot, one of the upper echelons of burger venues in OC, but it can't crack my top four list. Close though. American Dream reminded me a lot of Hopdoddy, but just not as good in my opinion. I usually get the chili burger there, and I like it a smidge better than the one I had at Ameican Dream. I'd definitely come back here when I'm at Pacific City though. Service was pretty good on this evening. No major issues at all. Glad I could break my burger drought, and I now look forward to tackling more of the best burgers in OC.

Out of five white picket fences, (because the American dream for some people is a home with a white picket fence in front of it), five being best to zero being worst, The American Dream gets 3 white picket fences.

For more information about The American Dream, head to their website here: http://www.theamericandreamhb.com/ or for way better info about this restaurant, go to their Yelp page here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-american-dream-huntington-beach

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