TQE | That Queer Expatriate

Expatriate, not ex-patriot: I'm a progressive liberal and queer American in Berlin, Germany. My roots in include 18 years in Denver, 6 in Laramie, Wyoming, 6 in Bloomington, Indiana, and 6 in Weimar, Germany. Sense a pattern? Don't want to leave a comment on this blog? Email scintillatingme at gmail.com, username "elmadaeu"

The Bird is not the word, certainly not for burgers in Berlin.

There is a mythical place in Berlin.

I first heard of it a couple years ago – it’s called The Bird.

Rumors had it that The Bird was the best hamburger in Berlin, if not Europe, and that all burger lovers would go there and think that they were back in America.

That said, I’d never been there – mainly because burgers are not a high priority and because The Bird is a long way away and more effort than I’m typically willing to go through to eat a burger.

However, that changed Saturday and I found myself at The Bird, along with two fabulous people who may or may not choose to reveal themselves, eating one of their famous burgers.

The verdict?

Eh… not really that good.

I ordered “Da Birdhouse,” which in their words is

Our house burger has two patties, American cheese, bacon, fried onion, ketchup, mustard, pickles and enough grease to kill a donkey.

Da Birdhouse

My Awesomizer iPhone App made the burger look better in pictures than it does in reality.

It comes with French fries, a pickle, and is served on an English muffin.

Yes, you read that right, an English muffin.

But enough about the sad, pathetic, excuse of a “bun”.

Let’s talk about the burger: Ultimately it’s nothing to write home about – it’s a greasy burger, and, to top it off, I ordered it medium, but the inside was really pink – like really, really pink. Not even close to “medium” in the traditional sense of the word.

The side of French Fries, in my case, was oddly peculiar: 80% of my French fries were salt free. The remaining 20% were really, really salty.

The final problem with The Bird is that it is, to be honest, an expat hangout with idiotic expat pricing. My burger, with fries, cost 11.50€ (US$15, at current exchange rates).

If The Bird was the only burger joint in Berlin, I might suffer and go back there whenever the urge to have a burger strikes, but the thing is, Berlin happens to be filled with lots of excellent burger joints, most of which have far more reasonable prices.

When I want something greasy and good, but don’t mind if I eat standing up, I’ll go to Burger-Meister, the burger shop in an old men’s toilet under the U1. If I don’t mind standing up and picking up my burger from the counter, but want to sit down inside, I’ll go to Kreuzburger. And if I’d rather have a burger that comes with complete waiter service? Then I’m still looking for the perfect joint; I just know that it isn’t The Bird.

I might note that you really need reservations if you want to eat at The Bird; my problem is that I have too many reservations.

4 comments to The Bird is not the word, certainly not for burgers in Berlin.

  • Tobias

    Maybe I’m just partial to the local joints, but check out bbi on Pannierstraße (http://www.qype.com/place/1536506-BBI-Berlinburger-International-Berlin) and Schillerburger on Herrfurthstraße (http://www.qype.com/place/2328220-Schiller-Burger-Berlin). Both are better than Burgermeister in my humble opinion and certainly better than what Kreuzburger dishes up. That said, I miss Five Guys Burgers!

  • I liked The Bird’s burger, although I only had one. I had the “Dumb Texan,” which had a fried egg. It was delicious.

    My .02 on the English muffin as bun: I think it’s kind of brilliant. I rarely have a hamburger bun survive the entire burger eating experience without disintegrating. Most of the time, I have to put the patty down and switch to knife and fork because the lower bun support has become unsustainable. I didn’t have that problem with the muffinbun.

    A lot of us at webmu quite liked the burgers there, but food is pretty subjective. As with all food, your mileage may vary.

  • Tobias – Given that I’ve now had two recommendations for BBI, I will check it out the next time I have a burger-urge.

    Steven – Sorry I missed WEBMU and U — but that’s life. I can see why some might like the place, but for a price-value ratio, I think it’s a disaster. Would you pay $15 for that burger if you were in Chicago? I doubt it. If it were in Chicago, it’d be out of business. I think that it survives on its reputation and because its in Berlin.

  • Mateo

    Chaz and I had a similar experience at Five Guys here in Bloomington…greasy, undercooked, nasty fries, and overpriced. Good luck finding a good burger joint over there!