A trove of family recipes has inspired the meaty creations here, like the Big Fat Greek Burger that Michael Symon says speaks to his “very soul.” A beef patty comes loaded with Greek flavors, thanks to additions like a bright olive tapenade, a creamy red pepper hummus and crunchy pickled cucumbers.
Housed in a former movie theater, this subterranean restaurant serves craft brews and French-influenced fare in a laid-back setting. Michael Symon is a fan of the Bon Burger, which brings together dry-aged beef sourced straight from a Maryland farm with the buttery Norwegian cheese known as Jarlsberg. A housemade au poivre sauce lends a peppery French touch. Standout sides include the twice-cooked fries, as well as the spicy Brussels sprouts adorned with a flurry of bacon and blue cheese.
This spot offers dozens of beers from around the world, which taste best when paired with one of the meaty delights on the menu. Michael Symon favors the Cannibal Dog, an all-beef beauty that comes topped with spicy chili and super-hot Chinese mustard, as well as cilantro to balance out the kick.
Paulina Meat Market is the oldest sausage shop in Chicago. The sausages are made with fresh ingredients by hand. Jeff Mauro went there looking for the perfect Polish sausage to complete his Maxwell Street Polish sandwich; he found the sausage with the help of store owner Bill Begale.
Satisfy your comfort food cravings with a stop at Plan Check, where you can pair creative burgers with craft brews. The PCB (Plan Check Burger) features a beef patty dressed up with eclectic condiments like dashi-flavored cheese and chewy ketchup leather (think homemade-ketchup-as-fruit-roll-up).
This brick-walled spot may have a minimalist appearance, but the Korean-inspired dishes are all about comfort. A standout is the house burger: A hefty Black Angus beef patty is blanketed with cheddar cheese and crowned with housemade kimchi for a bit of crunch and acidity. The kimchi also adds some zing to another stellar dish, the pork belly buns. Slow-roasted pork belly is topped with the pickled cabbage, then doused with spicy and sweet sauces before being nestled in a steamed bun.
Burgers are the name of the game at this restaurant, which features innovative between-the-bun creations. A standout is the Ghostface Burger: A brisket-short rib patty comes smothered with smoked Gouda cheese, topped with sweet potato-bacon tots and finished with ghost chile jam for a fiery kick.
A smokehouse may seem like an unlikely choice for a fine-dining chef, but owner Mike Johnson’s passion for barbecue shines through in dishes like the Big Muddy. The smoky-sweet sandwich comes piled with smoked brisket, jalapeno cheddar sausage and housemade sauces that make for “great layers of flavor,” Michael Symon says.
Chef-Owner Billy Durney offers his unique spin on classic barbecue that’s inspired by the mix of cultures found in his home borough of Brooklyn. "It really is a melting pot," says Jonathon Sawyer, who is a fan of the Korean Sticky Ribs and the Lamb Belly. Michael Symon was won over by the inventive Lamb Belly Banh Mi. A buttery baguette comes slicked with a honey-tinged hot sauce and loaded with cilantro, pickled vegetables and smoked lamb belly that Michael says “literally melts in your mouth.”
There are dining options aplenty in Brooklyn, but it’s this British-style spot that Michael Symon heads to when he wants a creative take on pub food from across the pond. “What sets Black Swan apart is the unbelievable comfort food,” Michael explained. He’s a fan of the Maine Lobster “PLT,” an amped-up version of the BLT that comes stacked with succulent lobster meat, crisp pork belly and a fried egg.
This Detroit brewery makes “the best beer in the world,” according to Michael Symon, who stopped by with Kendra Wilkinson on Burgers, Brew & ‘Que. One standout option is the gose, a sour beer that’s made with coriander, yuzu, lime and lemon peel. The duo paired their brews with a Spinach & Artichoke Pizza: a beer-dough crust smothered in a creamy bechamel studded with spinach and artichokes. The pie is finished with a flurry of lemon zest to tie all the flavors together.
In a local beer scene that’s booming, this gastropub stands out for its array of craft brews and creative dishes. Michael Symon favors the Pastrami Spiced Salmon Sandwich: The salmon is hit with a pastrami rub (think black peppercorns and coriander) that adds “a great pastrami taste,” he explains.
When Michael Symon is craving barbecue in Los Angeles, he heads to this spot tucked away in a Koreatown strip mall, where platters of meats are grilled tableside and served with a dizzying array of sides (spicy cucumbers, marinated clams, kimchi and more). He stopped by to dine with Chef-Owner Jenee Kim, who recommended the short rib prepared two different ways: long slabs of a bone-in cut marinated in sesame oil and soy sauce, as well as thin strips of a boneless cut that sizzle on the grill.
Barbecue and bluegrass are the name of the game at this Lexington restaurant that has reopened on Southland Drive. Michael Symon stopped in to the old Broadway locale before the move to sample the pork burger. He raved about the “porky, fatty juiciness” of the patty, which comes topped with smoked cheddar cheese, homemade barbecue sauce and an extra-crunchy fried green tomato.
Michael Symon and Duff Goldman can’t resist the call of the wild — wild boar, that is. The two met up at this smokehouse to try porky delights like the Wild Boar Flautas. Flour tortillas are loaded with coffee-and-chile-braised pork, then fried into crunchy treats with an exquisitely tender filling.