When Virginia and I went to Milwaukee a few weeks ago to celebrate the marriage of our friends Renee and Gavin, I decided to check out this Food Wars champion. We flew overnight and arrived at out hotel at around 10:30 and instead of nap or do my Insanity workout I decided to stroll the two blocks over to AJ Bombers to try their famous cheeseburger. I got there at 11am when they opened and was the first patron in the place. I sat at the bar to have a chat with the bartender and took a look around. This was a pretty interesting place with some fun features that I will go into in a bit. The bartender suggested the peanut butter burger and the fried cheese curds (which I should have ordered, they are like mozzarella sticks on overdrive), but I chose to be traditional and order the Milwaukee burger and the Poutine.
So AJ Bombers is not only known for their cheeseburgers, they are also known for their peanuts. You can come into this place, get a bowl of peanuts, and toss all the used shells on the floor. My problem was that I did not know about the shell disposal program and since I was the first person there the floors were still clean. I was so confused that I ended up putting the peanuts shells in my pocket. I know, you’re laughing at me but I didn’t know any better. Once I saw the servers tossing shells on the floor I realized my foolishness and tossed away. The fun thing about these peanuts is the way they serve them. If you don’t sit at the bar you literally get bombed. They have these tracks installed on the ceiling with mini bombs attached. The bartender fills up the bomb with peanuts and wings it down the track at your table. The bomb slams into a bullseye above your table and the peanuts fall down a shoot into a metal container on your table. What an inventive and fun way to be served your bar nuts! I really wish I had thought to take a picture because this was really cool and added something different.
My food came out and it definitely looked like bar food, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. The Milwaukee Burger is their famous cheeseburger with Wisconsin Colby, bacon, and a pile of raw white onions.
|I’m gonna need a breath mint after this!|
This was a flat burger, yes a little in taste, but actually flat like the Earth pre-Galileo. This made me nervous because flat burgers often equal dry and overcooked burgers and now that I think about it, the bartender definitely did not ask me how I wanted the burger cooked. I said to myself “This burger won the food war, let’s give it a chance”. I picked it up and dug in. Not bad, it had some flavor and the cheese was delicious but it was definitely too cooked for my liking. I’m a mid rare kind of guy so mid to well is not my cup of tea. It tastes too much like shoe leather to me and I usually save that for Bella. Yes, Bella is my dog. The onions were good and added a freshness to the heavy cheese and bacon. The one thing I really did not like was the bun. I’m not sure what it was or if it was intentional but the bun was chewy. By chewy I really mean stale but maybe that is just the type of bun they work with. I’m not sure but it was just odd and not my favorite thing in this meal. All in all the burger was OK but if it was the best burger in Milwaukee I was in for a rough ride (Spoiler alert: It wasn’t even the best burger of the day, tune in next week for that review)
My side order of fries was the Wisconsin specialty called poutine. Sounds delicious doesn’t it? Well just like the idea of eating cheese curds makes Virginia queasy, I think the poutine would bring the same reaction. This dish is fries topped with some melted cheese curds and gravy. Super healthy and light on the calories count I’m sure.
|Mmmm cheese curds|
I admit, this was pretty good and fun to eat. I nice take on cheese fries and gravy though poutine rolls off the tongue much easier. The fries were crispy and had some good seasoning to them that held up to the toppings. The cheese was creamy and delicious, making me sad that I did not just get the fried curds as the bartender suggested. That’ll teach me to ignore the restaurant employees! The only issue I had here was the gravy. It was passable but I couldn’t get past the feeling that it was not homemade. Sometimes you just taste something and swear you’ve had it before in the dining hall and if you feel that way it’s got to be from a box because you know they don’t make fresh gravy in the dining hall. Ever.
All in all this was a fun place but not really a place I would come to if I didn’t plan on getting hammered and full of peanuts. I think that I could spend some time there on a Saturday watching college football because, when you’re drunk, everything greasy and cheesy tastes wonderful and throwing peanut shells on the floor is tons of fun but if I got a call to go somewhere else I’d be gone. Check it out and see if the peanut butter burger is a good as they claim.
Note: One thing I noticed is that you can pay $3.50 to upgrade your beef to %100 grass fed organic. That annoys me, you as basically telling me that your basic meat is crap so I should give you more money to get good food. Just serve the good meat all the time and factor it into the price. This was I don’t have to upgrade to good food, I just get it all the time.
Overall Review: 5/10
Check out AJ Bombers Online