The Experience: Opening its second location in the Austin area, Jack Allen’s Kitchen has brought its refined Southern food to Round Rock. JAK’s is known for their take on comfort food infused with southwestern flavors. Being a fan of both Southern home cooking and southwestern cuisine, I was quite excited at the prospect of eating here.
On the outside the restaurant had a fabricated worn look, but on the inside it looked like a cross between a modern NYC industrial loft and a western saloon – sophisticated but comfortable. The service we received was excellent even during the busy lunchtime rush. I knew exactly what I wanted to order, but I couldn’t help but peruse the menu. Gotta love a place that devotes a whole section of their menu to all things chicken-fried.
Not to mention the fact that they believe in supporting the local farmer. On their website they boast that their menu “is comprised primarily from products sourced within the state of Texas.” As I waited for my burger, I thoroughly enjoyed the complimentary house-made pimiento cheese with flatbread crackers. Really, the only problem was that there wasn’t enough of it. I was tempted to buy one of their ice cold mason jars filled with the cheesy goodness but wasn’t certain if I could handle a whole jar by myself. Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long before I saw this headed my way.
Burger Ordered: Green Chile Cheeseburger
The Taste: It was quite the looker. My Green Chile Cheeseburger came with, well, the name is pretty self-explanatory. It’s an Angus beef patty, green chiles, jack cheese, dill pickles, and jalapeño mayo. And of course, I couldn’t go without getting a side of their russet fries. The burger was well-constructed and impaled with a ridiculously large knife right in the center. Now I know there are some burgers that require such treatment to keep them from toppling over. However, this was not one of those burgers. It seemed to have been done for style points more than anything else.
The bun was beautifully toasted (the top toasting of the upper bun was quite nice); the cheese was tantalizingly melted; and the meat was skillfully cooked to a medium doneness. The patty was thick, juicy and not overly seasoned. From what I gathered from our server, it was grain-fed, all-natural Angus beef raised in Colorado. That first bite was, hmmm, not what I expected. As exquisitely toasted as the bun was, it was sweet. Way too sweet for my liking. Had there been stronger flavors between the buns, it might have worked. But the light flavor of the chiles and the mild flavor of the cheese stood no chance against the massive bun. It reminded me of a Hawaiian roll on steroids. I will say, though, that the sour dill pickles added little shots of flavor throughout the burger. Unfortunately, like the delicious pimiento cheese, there weren’t enough of them.
The Verdict: I know lots of burger joints are going with a sweet bun, but this was one I just could not enjoy. For all you sweet bun aficionados out there, this may be right up your alley. Although JAK’s Green Chile Cheeseburger didn’t make it onto my list of favorites, I’m pretty sure I’ll make a return visit to try some of their Southern fare. Come on, chicken-fried ANYTHING??? I’ll be back. With places like HomeField Grill and Jack Allen’s Kitchen opening their doors, the future of the dining scene in Round Rock looks quite promising and that makes for a very happy Burgervore.
Jack Allen’s Kitchen is located at 2500 Hoppe Trail in Round Rock, Texas.
You can read more of Tim’s burger adventures at MJ and Hungryman.