With it’s chic drum lighting, lacquered wood bar and influx of business lunchers, Walters was the last place I expected to find an “I’ll start my diet tomorrow” burger. But in this trendy, urban enclave – so seemingly suited to hunks of halibut topped with micro-greens – that’s exactly what I got.

Juicy, awesome fine-dining burger at Walter's

A burger that was decadent and luscious but didn’t over reach. A burger that avoided the extremes of both mundanity and gastronomic group-think. No melting wad of foie gras or oozing egg. Just the right mix of ingredients – each item prepared with thought to the whole.

Called the 2P2 Burger (no, I didn’t ask why and I’m apparently not clever enough to figure it out), this joyously constructed and luxuriously generous sandwich filled me up fast and left me happily humming. I jotted a few notes before I collapsed into a blissed-out fugue state. Here’s what I tasted:

The Meat: Billed as “Kobe beef wagyu style” the meat came dead-on medium rare with a slight run of blood and smoky, kissed-the-fire flavor. Juicy and tender with mouthfuls of blended fat and flesh – I could just picture the marbled slab that was ground for the patty.

The Toppings: Applewood smoked bacon arched over the meat in a perfectly cooked wedge of salty, pliant crunchiness. Carmelized onions slid down the sides in a river of melted Vermont cheddar – adding a tang and creamy sweetness.

The Sauce: Frothy, yet somehow also wonderfully pungent, a “special sauce” reminded me of Thousand Island or Russian, only both wispier AND richer. Go figure. Zesty dribbles mixed with oil ran onto my hands and plate – making it a five-napkin endeavor.

The Bun: A thick, buttery brioche crowned the patty like a puffy winter hat. Soft and rich – it’s crust golden and flaky from the egg wash – I couldn’t dream of a better container for the meaty, moist innards.

The Frites: Classic frites added more artery-clogging goodness to the meaty main course – soaking up the burger juices with their skinny, crispy selves. Not the best I’ve ever had, but certainly satisfying, and far better than most.

Bottom Line: A bonzo, fine-dining burger and frites – well worth the $12.00 price tag.

Blogger’s Note: Visit Portland Food Map for a round-up and links to other fine-dining burger reviews from around town.

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