Whew! It’s been too long since I’ve posted. Let’s talk about burgers again!
The latest stop on our burger tour of Austin is going to be hard to beat. Partially because it appeals to my aesthetic of trashy-fun movies, but mostly because it is a really good burger. Casino el Camino has the best burger in town according to Guy Fieri and I have no reason to doubt his authority on the quality of burgers. They also have the best burger in town according to the local weekly The Austin Chronicle – so the people of Austin have had their say as well. This bar on “Dirty 6th”is also one of the few places in Austin serving food after midnight so it’s perfect for a bite (or three) after the late night movies that we Dining Murlocs attend.
I don’t have very many pictures of the place. It is dark inside, like you would expect for a bar. But it’s more than that, Casino el Camino was like walking into a Robert Rodriguez movie (and I bet they’d thank me for the comparison). If Danny Trejo showed up to fight a vampire or Antonio Banderas arrived with his guitar case of vengeance, it wouldn’t be surprising. It’s that kind of cult-film, punk aesthetic. The jukebox selection (also voted the best in town by the readers of The Austin Chronicle) adds to this effect with its selection of rock n’ roll that didn’t spend much time on the top 40. The music is loud, so not the kind of place to come to have an intimate conversation.
But you’re not there for the conversation. You’re there for the burgers, the music, and the drinks. No frills, just the basics done right. This attitude even extends to the ordering process. The bar is there for you to get your drinks at and to order your food you go to the kitchen pass. During the slow times you place your order with the line cook.Casino el Camino was originally designed to appeal to and cater to the food service workers in the area so it successfully pulls off the air of “here’s your drink, here’s your food. Enjoy it or not on its own merits.” The speed of the food service reflects the same attitude. It’s not fast, but it is worth the not-insignificant wait.
The burger is based on 3/4 pound of local Angus beef. Because they are handmade to order you can get a smaller patty (but . . . .why?). There are a variety of breads you can use to complete your burger sandwich, including a jalapeno cheddar focaccia that matches very nicely with the Amarillo Burger.
The Amarillo definitely has a tex-mex feel with a kick of roasted Serrano peppers. They are joined by cilantro mayonnaise and jalapeno jack cheese. It’s creamy, spicy, and delicious. I went a little more Yankee with my order and got the Pitts Burger. Topped with good ol’ Heinz A.1. sauce, Guiness braised onions and mushrooms, and just enough provolone cheese to get seriously melty. Mine came on a beautifully squishy white bun that was just perfect for adding a bit of sweetness while absorbing the juicy goodness.
Both burgers were juicy without being appallingly greasy and the standard of excellence was matched in our repeat business. As far as the sides go, the fries were nicely crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle, but they were salted like they were trying to get us to buy beer (so Colin was happy but I thought it was a bit much).
So far this is our favorite burger in the city.