A Hamburger is a beautiful simple thing. When one thinks of “American Food” a burger has to be the first thing that pops into the mind. They’re ubiquitous and almost everyone has an opinion about what they’re favorite burger is. I have the great fortune of living in the Dallas area which is teeming with great burger options from the fast food variety(Whataburger, Steak n’ Shake, In-N-Out, AND Five Guys) to the higher end and I’ve had many great burgers. I think I may just have one of my favorites ever and to be frank I was a bit surprised by it.

The Ozersky burger is the cheapest item in the lunch menu(and second cheapest in the dinner menu) at Knife in Dallas which is a steakhouse by Chef John Tesar. It’s as simple as a burger can get. It’s simpler than a Double Double from In-N-Out. It’s simpler than a McDouble which has long been my ideal for “simple, good, honest burgers”. It’s simpler than any burger at the menu of any restaurant you’ve ever been to and that’s what makes it so great.

The Ozersky burger consists of only four ingredients. Meat, American Cheese, Red Onion, and Bread. That’s it. The Bread isn’t anything fancy it’s a simple white squishy burger bun, the kind you use at home when you’re grilling out back. It’s not even buttered or grilled or anything! It’s just a bun. The “cheese” or more accurate “cheese product” that’s on this burger is perfect, there’s two slices of it and it melts on the patty so perfectly. There really is nothing better for a burger than American Cheese, that’s what it was made for that’s what it’s for. The Red Onion is thinly sliced and is placed on the bottom bun it serves as the perfect bed for the star of the burger which is the meat. The meat on the Ozersky is perfect. It’s cooked on a griddle, it’s seared perfectly on the outside and cooked perfectly on the inside, full of flavor and seasoned just right. This being Knife, I have no doubt that this is the highest quality burger meat available, or maybe it’s just cooked right in any case it’s perfect. Ketchup and Mustard are served on the side, so are two slices of pickles. I didn’t touch the Mustard I used the Ketchup for the fries and the pickles were mostly eaten after I was done. It’s been the best burger I’ve had all year.

There is nothing sadder than an over engineered burger. Burger joint after burger joint pop up offering ridiculous concoctions filled with crispy onion rings, barbecue sauce, fancy cheeses all on a buttered up brioche that crumbles at the slightest touch. All those burgers fail, and aren’t memorable other than what you paid for it. Hamburgers, like Barbecue, are simple and humble and their strength lie in their deceptive simplicity. It’s the care with which the ingredients are picked and handled. The care with which the meat was handled. Too many burgers now treat the meat as secondary. When all of these factors come together some form of alchemy creates something delicious. The Ozersky presents what a burger can be at it’s simplest and it’s a beautiful thing.