Hey, we’re doing something new!
Ready To Yumble usually focuses on recipes and homemade food. We’re homebodies for the most part, and we love playing around in the kitchen. But once in a while, we try to be cool and work the restaurant scene in Houston. (It’s much better than most people think! Here’s a great article on why.) Since there are so many legitimately delicious places to eat, we wanted to start doing a spotlight on our local favorites. And what better place to start than new up-and-comer Ritual.
Anyone who knows us, knows we love a good burger.
We’re constantly on the hunt for the good, the better, the best burger in whatever city we happen to be in. Ross and I both have a running list of our favorite burgers – the top 10, the top 3, and the-oh-please-don’t-make-us-choose-the-number-one.
There’s no question that the Ritual Burger cracked the top ten. But did it make it to that highest honor, the top 3?
Here’s some background to explain the prestige of our ranking system. <Dusts shoulders off> Personally, my number one is the Black Label Burger from Minetta Tavern in New York. It’s ridiculously expensive – at last tally, over $30 – and it’s one of those things that’s so talked-up that you suspect it MUST be overblown. And then I tried it and learned it was worth every single solitary penny. Ross counts among his favorites a burger from the CIA restaurant in Napa, and a shockingly good burger that we ate on the beach at the Four Seasons in Hawaii. And we’re in agreement that the list has to include a burger from the original Shake Shack in Madison Square. So let’s just say, the top 3 is, like, serious.
All right, no more suspense. Here’s the run-down of a fabulous dinner at Ritual.
It was hot outside (because, Houston), but there was no wait for patio seating, compared to an hour wait for seating indoors. Obviously we didn’t plan ahead, so we opted for outdoor seating/lots of water/sweating. I will say, the service there was terrific at refilling our water glasses ever two minutes – thank goodness. If you head to Ritual in the summer, for the love of Pete, go ahead and make reservations for the AC. The food, however, was worth it.
To start, we ordered sourdough hushpuppies with jalapeno jelly to share. In addition, Ross got the “Angry Bird,” which is fried chicken with a cayenne pepper glaze, served on cornbread waffles. And I got the “The Ritual Burger” – but only after I promised to go halvsies with Ross. And I mean, thank goodness, because I might have died otherwise. That burger is no joke, with smoked short rib, bone marrow glaze, blue cheese fondue, and caramelized onion.
I’ll save the best for last.
The sourdough hushpuppies were delightful: freshly-baked, lava hot, chewy and savory. And the jalapeno jelly that accompanied them was outrageous. Not too spicy, but just enough sweetness and kick to make you lick your fingers unashamed. I think we would have destroyed them, except (through a minor service mix-up), they arrived after our entrees. No matter, because the entrees were fabulous.
The Angry Bird lived up to its name. If you’ve read our blog for any length of time, you’ve probably learned that we love waffles, from this Waffles:
To these chicken and waffle sliders:
The Angry Bird chicken and waffles made us pretty darn happy. The chicken was perfectly crunchy, and even the waffles stayed crisp despite the dousings of syrup (any maybe, just a little bit of grease).
But the best part of the meal was, hands-down, the Ritual Burger.
THAT BURGER! It was the details that blew me away. Sure, the smoked short rib and the bone marrow glaze were perfectly salted, savory, and delicious. But you know what else I really appreciated? The way they cooked the patty. That kitchen must have a very well-seasoned cast iron pan, because the bottom of the burger had the most amazing crisp I’ve ever encountered. The patty itself was cooked to medium, which is fine for me, but the meaty crunch (if that’s the right word) was unreal. It’s like what smashed burgers want to be when they grow up. To add a little nerd-dom to this post, the maillard reaction was on point.
Not mention the layer of melty cheese was every foodie’s dream. Let’s take another look at that beauty.
I KNOW, RIGHT?!
We demolished it. Well, okay, I had a tiny bit of difficulty finishing my half. This burger does not play around. But Ross devoured his half, and then happily ate the few bites I had leftover. If you’re not 6 foot 3, you might plan on getting a doggie bag. And lucky you! Because now you get to enjoy this top-3 burger longer.
Yes, that’s right, folks. The Ritual Burger smashed into our top-three list like an out-of-control farm animal: bold, loud, and delicious. We’re already plotting our next trip back.
What are your favorite burgers? And have you tried Ritual? Share your thoughts in the comments below!