This was it. The one place, without a doubt, that I had to eat at in Seattle. Lunchbox Laboratory.
For weeks before our trip I daydreamed about going here. In my mind there could be no better burger (should I get beef, lamb, buffalo, filet mignon, red-quinoa falafel or the dork – a duck and pork blend?). No better fries than those topped with my choice of salt (ten choices … hurray for spicy salt)! I even wanted to order a shake, which is served in a beaker at The Lab.
The opportunities felt endless!
So when we arrived for lunch on a Tuesday, eager to eat juicy burgers and fatten ourselves up, what happened?
Lunchbox Laboratory is a tiny little restaurant. There are very few tables inside and just a couple of picnic tables with umbrellas outside. The menu is listed on two boards – the first shows their daily specials and then the board closest to the register displays all of the different options for building your own burger.
By the time you reach the register you are expected to know what you want, or experience the wrath of the lady I will forever call “The Burger Nazi”.
I am ashamed to admit that I thought I knew what I wanted when I reached the register, but somehow I waffled at the end. Did I want sweet potato fries or tater tots? I suddenly couldn’t decide and when The Burger Nazi turned into a full-blown Hitler I chose not to order any sides for my burger. I left the register close to tears. This was not how I expected things to go!
No shake. No fries. Just a lonely burger.
But, oh what a burger! I opted to build my own and started with their super beef (100% beef blend), then some Monterey jack cheese, pickled jalapenos, habanero mustard and all of the fixins. Overall I kept it pretty simple. Yes, my idea of simple is hot as hell.
The verdict? Lunchbox Laboratory turns each burger into a work of art (I believe this is an art, not a science!). They are truly beautiful to look at. The beef oozes with juicy goodness, is well seasoned and served on a fresh bun from a nearby bakery. Copious amounts of cheese and jalapenos combined with the habanero mustard rocked my world.
Lucas ordered one of the specials: The Blackened and Bloodied. Kind of sounds like it could kill you, eh? And it probably could if you ate too many of them. Because when Lunchbox adds bacon to their burgers they add more bacon than I typically eat in a year. Unfortunately it is too soft to pull apart with your teeth so a whole piece comes out in one bite or you risk a serious burger catastrophe. Oh wicked wayward bacon!
After removing most of it I tried to get a feel for the rest of the burger. The beef itself was juicy and blackened in Cajun spices. The burger was topped with Monterrey Jack cheese and some mouthwatering Lunchbox onions. The lettuce and tomatoes were cool and crisp, but one little pickle wasn’t enough to cover the burger with (can we say stingy?) so it was eaten on the side.
This could have been a passable burger if not for the addition of the sickeningly rich “Zesty Bloody Mary Mayo”. Creamy + Sweet + Meat = Gross. Each ingredient was quite good on its own, but the combined effect was overkill.
We had split our burgers in half to share and I considered throwing a monstrous fit to get the rest of my burger back, but I refrained. The good news is that these burgers are so huge that it’s basically impossible to eat one in its entirety (we ordered the 1/4 pounders, which are “small”). So after picking at the Blackened and Bloody I turned back to the rest of my burger and dug in with no shame.
Habanero mustard stung my lips, greasy burger juices dripped down my hands and there was a look of shame on my face for all of the (delicious) french fries I kept stealing from my dining companions. I ate until I felt sick.
I would certainly give Lunchbox another shot , but order a little bit differently. And without question hold my ground with the grumpy Burger Nazi until I got my order right. Nutella shake included, bitch!