It’s not often that a burger designed as a one off special’s board offering gets promoted as a permanent menu feature due to high demand, but that’s exactly what has happened at Max’s Bar & Grill on Glasgow’s Queen street.
We had heard a lot about the chorizo burger on the menu and had read on Max’s website that due to it’s popularity, it would become a permanent addition. We thought we’d head along and try it out for ourselves. Consisting of a large handmade beef patty topped with chorizo, onion rings, salad, mayo and Monterey Jack cheese, we’d heard reports of this being one of the city’s bigger burgers and we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.
If you can remember both RG’s and the Twisted Wheel that used to occupy 73 Queen street, Max’s remains largely unchanged. It’s a typical New York City-style dive bar sporting torn, taped-up leather booths, old wallpaper and even a hole in the ceiling covered up using taped-on bin liners. It all adds to it’s charm and reinforces the fact that this is a place to visit to simply drink some beer and chow down on some hearty pub grub.
I opted for the chorizo burger and we ordered some stuffed peanut butter pretzels as a bar snack while we waited. The pretzels were unusual, quite addictive and made me crave beer – the hallmark of a good bar snack, I guess.
We visited Max’s on a Sunday afternoon and the place was absolutely packed. We got the last free table as we walked in and the crowd didn’t let up the entire time. This leads me to my only real criticism of my visit, which I’ll get out of the way before we get to the otherwise-great burger and that was the wait time. We placed our food order at 2.40pm, which consisted of one chorizo burger and a side portion of calamari rings and we received the food at 3.32pm, making the total wait time just over 50 minutes. For one burger and a side, that’s a pretty long time. Yes, the bar was completely full and perhaps they were short staffed at the time, but we weren’t given any reason for the wait by any of the staff members.
Just as I was about to go to the bar to point out that I’d been waiting almost an hour, our food arrived. Would it be worth the wait?
I’m happy to report that this is indeed a fantastic burger. It tastes just as good as it looks in the picture above – big, bold and very filling! Whenever I see a burger with added chorizo on a menu, I always worry that it will simply be topped with a couple of slices from a supermarket packet; however, that worry was soon laid to rest as I took my first bite. There was no skimping on the chorizo here – the burger was topped with thick, juicy wedges that could likely be used as a doorstop! The sharp, smokey flavour of the chorizo is what makes this burger a real star. It pierces through every other ingredient like a chorizo-flavoured gunshot to the face and melded nicely with the well seasoned beef and the already sharp Monterey Jack cheese to create a really lasting flavour. The bottom bun had a nice topping of mayo which took the edge off the sharpness of the meat and cheese for a nice finish and the onion rings gave the burger a really satisfying crunch as well as adding to the already impressive presentation.
Taste-wise, I couldn’t find many faults with the chorizo burger. I did find it a little difficult to keep the whole thing together and found that the bun began to break apart and disintegrate as I ate more. The poppyseed bun itself was great quality and very tasty, but I don’t think it’s quite built to handle a beast of this size. I’d love to try it again on a different bun to see if it could it all together a little better – perhaps some kind of sourdough? The actual patty itself was well seasoned and juicy. It was well cooked, slightly pink in the middle and well charred out on the outside. It held a deep, chargrilled flavour but wasn’t dry by any means. The juices from the meat only helped the bun disintegrate further, but combined with the melted cheese and chorizo, it was delicious and I found myself not caring about how messy my hands were with the last few bites.
The burger was served with a delicious beetroot salad and chunky fries, although I struggled to eat them from feeling so full.
I loved this burger and I loved the setting too. There’s something about enjoying big, bold flavours and knocking back a couple of ice cold beers in a run-down dive bar full of character and charm that is hard to beat and Max’s has the combination absolutely nailed to perfection. The extremely long wait time was frustrating, however and did take some of the overall enjoyment out of the whole experience. Hopefully this was a one-off situation or can easily be resolved because it would be unfortunate to let long wait times put a downer on an otherwise great burger.
+ Huge burger. Enough to feed two.
+ Big, bold flavours.
+ Juicy, well cooked patty.
+ Thick wedges of chorizo!
– Bun broke apart quite easily.
– Long wait time.
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73 Queen Street
Phone: 0141 221 1379