Hold the Beef: More than A-OK at DMK

By John DiGilio in Food on May 13, 2011 6:20PM

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Hold the Beef is a monthly series exploring Chicago’s vegetarian burger scene. If you know any veggie burger joints that we should check out, post them in the comments!

With so many great places to grab a burger - yes, even a vegetarian burger - in Chicago, it has taken us far too long to sink our teeth into the meatless fare at DMK Burger Bar. For one of the city’s newer patty purveyors, this place has seemingly achieved an almost legendary status with the folks that have sent us recommendations for this series. It may not have the same fanatical following following of say Kuma’s (And Kuma’s, your time in this column is coming!), but it has certainly developed a fast fandom. So off we went to see if the growing reputation among burger lovers was deserved.

We strolled into DMK on a weeknight, a little earlier for dinner than we normally like. We were warned about the lines that form after the workday and took that advice to heart. Even for an early supper, the place was hopping. By the time we left, the line was out the door. The vibe was casual and fun and the service was exceptionally friendly and helpful. In fact, we give a special hat’s off to our server for an important piece of advice we will mention shortly. From our very first glance at the menu, we could tell that DMK truly is all about the burger. They offer 14 base choices with which to begin; everything from grass-fed beef to turkey, lamb, salmon, and of course veggie.

Refreshingly enough, there were actually two meatless patties on the menu: a delightful-sounding crispy portobello with fontina, arugula, and horseradish sauce and a house-made veggie and grain burger. We opted for the latter on this visit, as it sounded the most intricate. It was an excellent choice. The substantial patty was topped with a savory, aged cheddar, eggplant slices, tomato, and a tasty pesto-mayo combination. It was superb. The fresh-baked bun was a particularly nice touch. We paired our burger with a peanut butter shake and when straight to a place of meatless burger bliss.

There was but one odd moment to the entire the meal and this is where our server really came to the rescue. DMK is also well known for its fries. There are six different and decadent sounding french fry options on the menu. We salivated at the thought of sea salt and black pepper or parmesan with truffle cream. Because we ordered our veggie burger first, our server knew we were not in the house to have a meal made of or cooked in animal flesh. As we ordered our taters, she asked if we were strict vegetarians and warned us that most of the fries were cooked in animal fat. She was able to get us an order of basic fries that would not be, but we had to drop our dreams of the fancier sounding offerings. Though we were disappointed, we can report that even the plain fries were quite good. More than anything, we were grateful to our server for her honesty and help. You can almost judge a restaurant on the quality of the service alone.

We left DMK full and happy. The next time we visit, you can count on us taking the portobello burger for a spin. You can actually get any of their burgers made with a mushroom instead of meat, so we may just have to get creative. There is even a mac and cheese on the menu that has our name written on it. All in good time though. For now, we are pleased to report that DMK Burger Bar has indeed earned its reputation.

DMK Burger Bar is located at 2954 North Sheffield in Lakeview.

Photo by DMK Burger Bar.

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