Monday, February 4, 2008

The Best Hamburger in North America

GQ's food guy, Alan Richman says this is the best 'burger in North America. So does Oprah. Me too.

The Le Tub Saloon is located on North Ocean drive in Hollywood, Florida and while not tough to find, it doesn't jump out at you either. We had to do a couple of u-turns.

There's a parking lot which makes things easy and it's free. There's an attendant who helps guide you through a couple of tight turns and eases you back onto the highway when you're done. He works for tips.

The joint was crowded on the Saturday afternoon we went and a nice young couple asked if we wanted to join them. He, Jeffery, an affable type-a workaholic and his bride of three years live in Ft Lauderdale and come often. Sorry, I've forgotten her name but she's a third gen native. They live in the house that she grew up in; she attended the same school her grandmother went to and Jeffery is a German immigrant who arrived with his family when he was nineteen.

They knew the ropes and that made it a very pleasant afternoon; this is important since we were there for close to two hours.

The Le Tub Saloon is decorated in early junkyard with a water theme. Plants grow out of toilet bowls and the outdoor tables are planks laid on bathtubs. And the usual nautical bric-a-brac and definitely not done by a designer.

Since it's located on the Intracoastal there's mooring available for the pleasure boats that frequently pull up.

Sitting outside we were shaded by the rubber trees and palms filled with birds; beware the birds. They clean the crumbs from your table and have been known pick up the tips.

We got to order as soon as we sat down but were told it was probably going to take an hour before the order was filled. It did.

And well worth it.

The burger is huge, ten ounces of ground sirloin. While P and I split one, I probably would have been able to handle it myself. Sorry, I can't describe what makes this thing so good, but it was.

Simple burger, with or without cheese, just lettuce, tomato and onion.

Table condiments are ketchup, mustard and red and green tobasco. That's it.

You don't need anything else.

With a side of fries, also terrific.

This is what the Palm Beach Post had to say a couple of years ago:


Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Alan Richman, GQ's food dude, called Le Tub "a dream of a dump" that serves a "magnificent" char-grilled sirloin burger. "I don't understand how this spot came to have the best burger in America, but it does," he wrote.

The price of fame is ruin. Show up at Le Tub during lunch hour, and you'll wait up to an hour before seeing a menu. Fugeddaboudit on weekends. Whine about the wait, and you'll be shown the door (if they had a door).

Most people wouldn't wait 90 minutes for Le Cirque's braised rabbit in Riesling with spaetzle, fava beans and wild mushrooms. But at Le Tub, they wait. (Go off-hours. We showed up at 3 p.m. and had the pick of the house.)

The payoff: an incredible feast on a paper plate — 10 ounces of charbroiled perfection in an oversized sesame-seed bun. Chomp into it, and the juices begin to flow. The soft bun sops up the sauce so the sandwich doesn't disintegrate in your hands.

The burger itself is infused with smoky charbroiled taste. It is, without a doubt, the best darn burger we've ever sampled.

Burger breakdown

Meat: 10 ounces of hand-shaped sirloin, with cheese, lettuce and tomato. $9.50.

Cooking method: One guy over a stove as big as a closet churns out all the food.

Special sauce/seasoning: No salt. No pepper. No nothing.

Atmosphere: Old-time Florida open-air metal-roof shack, with beachwood serving as the deck and tables and benches.

The view: Astounding, especially at sunset or full moon. While we were there, a 4-foot tarpon lollygagged around in the water.

'Tude factor: Severe. One family asked to be seated in the air-conditioned room. 'Next door,' was the reply. Another inquired about the wine list. 'Does this place look like it has a wine list?' Signs declare no credit cards, no children (they are allowed). Also, no takeout.

Company line: 'People don't get it,' says a waiter named Rob. 'It's a bar, not a restaurant.'


Would I drive for an hour? After tasting this thing, ya, I would. Would I drive four days? I wouldn't rule it out.

Cost about twelve bucks. Add on fries, pie, a couple of ice teas and tip, you're looking at about twenty five. Add on booze and well...

Oh and we took the Key Lime pie to go. That pie, sublime.

I'll be back.

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