Sherman's Food Adventures: Lunchbox Laboratory

Lunchbox Laboratory

After a failed attempt at snagging a Cubano at Paseo due to the crazy ass lineup, we were in search for other eats. No fear though, I came prepared. Our backup plan was the Lunchbox Laboratory, which was suggested quite awhile back by Inspector Gadget. It has since moved from its original location and now occupies digs which are more spacious and modern. I never got a chance to visit their old place; but from all indications, the new place is not as divey nor has as much character. That was not a major concern for me since I had my son in tow and we were starving. So what's the deal with the Lunchbox Laboratory that I'd actually use up one of my meals during my brief stay in the Emerald City? Well, it is consistently rated one of the best burgers in Washington and in fact, the country. They only use Kobe Beef and organic kaiser buns from Essential Bakery. With that in mind, it somewhat explains the premium price on their burgers.

With window seat acquired and stomachs growling, we set down to ordering. I paid my respects to Dick's Burgers (even though I'm not a big fan) by going for the Homage to Dick's Deluxe which consisted of American cheese, honey-cured bacon, lunchbox onions and top secret burger sauce. One bite into the burger and that's when the grease started to flow. This was totally expected since Kobe beef ain't diet food. With oil and sauce dripping from the burger down my arm, I took bite-after-bite of seriously moist beef. It was more greasy than juicy per se; but the meat was not dry at all. I really liked the crisp bacon, it was low on the fat and heavy on the flavour. The bun was easy to eat and generally held the burger together until near the end where it disintegrated. 

For my side, I had the Mac 'n Cheese, which I promptly passed to my son. This was one seriously flavourful mac 'n cheese without the reliance on salt. It had a sharp cheddar taste while exhibiting some blue cheese hits. This was seriously cheesy and rich. For my actual side, I had the 3/16th Skinny Fries which were closer to crisps than fries. They were very crunchy and had no potatoness left in them. I did like them though, they were crispy all the way to the last one.

Viv ended up with the Smoker. No, she wasn't standing outside hacking a butt; rather, it was a burger consisting of Havarti cheese, honey-cured bacon, smoked pepper mayo and she substituted balsamic onions in place of the lunchbox onions. I gotta say good call on the balsamic onions. They added an oomph that really cut through the heaviness of the meat. And in the spirit of the sign out front which exclaims "6 pieces of bacon is just normal", there seemed like that much in her burger. For her side, she had a Caesar salad. A salad? Like that would really help cut down the fat of this meal. Anyways, for good measure, I added another side of Tater Tots because the table beside us seemed to be enjoying them. And I can see why, they were fried up perfectly crisp while being soft on the inside. Such simple pleasures in life. Burgers in general can be simple as well; but not here. The meat is rich, the toppings are tasty and plentiful. Health food this is not and cheap it is not as well. For me, I appreciate the quality of the ingredients that go into my food and the meat is indeed good here, as well as everything else. However, I can see how some people could be turned off by the pricing.

The Good:
- Moist Kobe beef
- Lots of quality toppings
- Comfortable digs

The Bad:
- Some people may not see it as good value
- Well, it's greasy (but I like it)


KimHo said...

For some reason the name sound familiar and, after checking their site, I remembered why: It was one of the places I tried to go in one of my (many) business trips and couldn't find it (eventually ended up in Red Mill, if memory serves me right).

As for price, I will agree on one side and disagree with another. Sure, if we compare it to In-And-Out, it is a definite loser. If we compare it to Red Mill, is is still losing a little bit. But when you factor in marketing, specifically, the "kobe beef" part, then the comparison point should be more on the lines of Cactus *cough*. OK, not sure if it will be the same comparison, as I am not sure how waiters/waitresses were dressed compared to the Lunchbox but I am sure you get the gist... Don't like that comparison? Well, how about Romer's? Aside from the basic $9, most of the other burgers are between $11 and $13. Did I say they use Angus rather than "Kobe"?

Anyway, next time I am down in Seattle for business trip... ^_^;;;

Anonymous said...

When you're using kobe beef, a few extra dollars is worth it.

The sides look reasonable though.

Sherman Chan said...

@KimHo Yah, the burgers are priced inline with most "gourmet" burger joints, however, when you add in everything else, it gets kinda expensive, especially with the smallish sides.

@Holly Yes, I agree with that statement. Still pricey for a burger joint for some people. I personally didn't really mind the prices too much; but I can see how some will.

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