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Block 7 Wine Co.
720 Shepherd Drive
Houston, TX 77007-5353 (map)
Lucky Number 7 –
Let me discuss lists for a second. Lists are great. They summarize, in simple terms, the information that you should care about, while at the same time, telling you how strongly you should care. I constantly referencing lists to find great burgers to try. In fact, one goal of Burger Tyme is to provide burger lovers a comprehensive list of great burgers, from around the world to try (or not depending on the rating). It was on the list of Best Bugers in Houston 2010 by fellow burger and food critic Allison Cook, where I found the Block 7 Wine Co. burger listed as one of the best. This was great news! It is literally across the street from one of my current favorites, BRC, and less than a mile from where I live. Great! So we rang up a friend who was in town and headed over to sample one of the new “best” burgers in Houston. Block 7 is an unassuming warehouse style building, which is in line with the many other trendy pubs and bars that are popping up along the Washington corridor. We were quickly seated and given some menus. Block 7’s core focus is wine which is evident in the vast wine menu, frequent tasting events , and on-site retail store. The food menu seems to echo this focus with many upscale offerings that would most likely go well with specific wines. I don’t drink, so I don’t know wine… but I do know burgers.
Chopping Block –
After a brief perusal of the menu we were ready to order. A round of Block 7 burgers was ordered. It includes dry aged beef, gruyere cheese, arugula, smoked bacon relish, homemade “dijonoli”, and all on a specially made bun. It sounded right up my gourmet burger alley. I also opted for a side of tater tots and a Mexican Coke, which is made from cane sugar instead of corn syrup. My wife ordered fries and our friend surprised us all when he ordered rabbit sausage as an appetizer to go with his burger. You’ve got to admire those willing to try new things.
Our wait was not long, roughly ten minutes, until our impressive looking spread of burgers came out. They looked great and were obviously made of the highest quality of ingredients but, sadly, this is where the burger peaked. Upon first bite I was immediately hit by the pungency of all of the ingredients. It was something reminiscent of a feeling of eating too much wasabi combined with sour and smelly cheese. I couldn’t shake this flavor. The patty itself was not much better. Dry aged beef might make a good steak, but ground up and fried it becomes chewy and lacking in juiciness. The one saving aspect of this burger was the bun. It was pillowy and fresh and would have been great were it not housing such a horribly balanced combination of burger ingredients.
But fret not, the tater tots were very good. They were chunky potatoes bound with cheese and breaded with a wonderfully crunchy crust. Imagine deep fried potatoes au gratin. The french fries were equally good, fresh cut and crispy on the outside while still soft in the middle. The rabbit sausage was good as well. I had not had rabbit before and could best compare the flavor to that of seasoned scrambled eggs.
The Wrap It Up –
So what did I think? I struggled, probably for the first time in my life, to finish this burger. I was determined to find that special flavor or note that would help me understand what they were try to accomplish. Sadly, the only conclusion that I could come up with is that this mixture of flavors must go great with some types of wine. I don’t know wine… but I do know burgers and by itself this is not a good burger. Was it high quality? Absolutely, but the flavor is just miserable.
Which brings me back to lists… Sometimes lists are useful for guiding us and setting expectations. Unfortunately, sometimes lists can lead you into trying things which you may not like… And that is why I love lists! My wife, my friend, and I had a great time trying and discussing this burger and contrasting it with the other food we ordered. Block 7 does have an extensive menu with many other options that I think could be great and would be willing to return to try. If however, you are wanting a great burger in the specific area, go across the street to BRC (but only on Mondays).