I fell in love with Little Big Burger about a year or so ago, before I had tried Burger Bungalow. I found them on Living Social’s list of 365 Things to do in Portland (a list that is actually longer than 365, but who’s counting?) By the way, Little Big Burger is #110 on that list: Best Stand In for In-and-Out. And, while Burger Bungalow is #1 on my list for burgers, Little Big Burger is #1 on my list for Fries. They have the best fries EVER. And I’d take Little Big Burger over In-and-Out any day!
Location: 3747 N. Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR (North Portland location)
What I Think:
I had ordered my Cheeseburger with Bleu Cheese, but, it was Swiss Cheese that adorned my burger. It was still delicious, but, I really would have been happier with the Bleu Cheese … there is just something amazing when Bleu Cheese and beef come together; it is one of those combinations that just makes me happy, like bacon & chocolate and sea salt & caramel.
As I mentioned above Burger Bungalow makes my favorite local burger, and they have the variety and all kinds of crazy toppings for the burger that will please even the most eccentric burger enthusiast, but when it comes to simple burger pleasure, Little Big Burger is tops. It is a bun, catsup, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and burger (and of course, cheese if you order a cheese burger). But it’s the quality of those ingredients that makes this burger so great!
The burger appears smaller than a typical 1/4 pound burger from a typical burger joint. It actually looks like something between a slider and that typical burger. But, I actually like the size of it, because it makes for a thicker, juicier burger and you can taste the beef.
The bun from Little Big Burger is my favorite burger bun. They use brioche buns and they’re lightly grilled so they have a crispy inner surface, and then it’s all fluffy and soft and even a little bit sweet.
And let’s not forget the other ingredients: local beef (Cascade Natural Beef), fresh veggies, Tillamook cheese and Camden’s catsup. The pickle and the lettuce are the two veggies that stood out most prominently for me because the pickle was crunchy and the lettuce was not wilted. Usually when I get a burger, I remove the lettuce and discard it because it is wilted and sometimes even slimy. Gross! But, not at Little Big Burger. Everything is fresh and crisp and delicious.
But it’s their fries that put them over the top. Sure the burger is delicious (and superior, in my opinion, to In-and-Out) but, the fries are sublime! They are the best fries I’ve yet to taste in the Portand/Vancouver area (and believe me, I’ve been searching for good fries).
These fries are fried crispy and I am not sure if they are then treated to a spritz of Truffle Oil, or if they are cooked in a Truffle Oil blend, but, given how expensive Truffle Oil can be, I suspect that they are instead given some sort of spritz or drizzle of Truffle Oil rather than a cooking in the stuff. If anyone knows for certain, please feel free to comment and let me know, I’d love to hear from you! They are salted, and this time, I think they could have gone lighter on the salt, but, they weren’t really too salty. They were toeing that line between just right and too salty though, and I would have rather it been just a little less salt.
My Final Thoughts:
Sure, the burger is delicious, but, its the fries that will keep me going back to Little Big Burger again and again, because, well, Burger Bungalow is not quite as far a drive. I’ve tried both locations of Little Big Burger (the Pearl District and the North Portland locations – there are two new locations expected to open some time this year as well), and I’ve not been disappointed by either location, although, if I were to choose one, I’d go with the North Portland location, just because of it’s proximity to The Meadow (YUM! Chocolate!) … but then again, The Pearl District location is right down the street from Cupcake Jones. What to do?