Quest for the Best: Burger (episode 2)

Hello again, readers! To continue our Quest for the Best: Burgers in the South, we did a little bit of research looking for other burger havens located inside BF Homes, considered to be the culinary hot spot for us folks located in the South. We stumbled upon this placed called Ritchie’s Diner, which had some pretty positive reviews. It was set; Ritchie’s would be the place featured in the 2nd episode of this series. If you remember, we kicked off this series with a review of “The Bad Boys of Burger” at The Burgery.

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Ritchie’s Diner is located at 303 Aguirre Avenue, BF Homes, Paranaque
Ritchie’s Diner is an old-school themed diner located near Puregold Jr. in BF, featuring service crew outfitted in colorful retro attires (no skates, unfortunately), speakers blaring 80s music, and booths reminiscent of the stereotypical diners featured in the movies where truckers stop to get their fill of comfort food. A huge flat-screen tv is located near the counter, and I was disappointed slightly that the featured show was the not-so-vintage Mr. Bean. But that is neither here nor there, because we aren’t looking for the best décor or television viewing experience; we are here to evaluate their grub. So let’s get it on!

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Ritchie’s Diner tries to capture the old-school flare often associated with classic diners
Just to refresh your memories, here is the criteria we will use to judge the burgers.

Patty (20 points) – The patty is the heart and soul of the burger. Enough said.

Composition (15 points) – This refers to the make-up of the burger. Size, toppings, condiments, its appeal to the senses, among others.

Bun (10 points) – The bun is often overlooked, but is vital in ensuring a remarkable burger experience.

Value (5) – Since not everyone has the same budget to spend on food, this was given minimal weight.

Micah’s Pick – Bacon Mushroom Burger (Php 205 + 20 (Onion Ring Upgrade))

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1/3 lb all-beef patty, bacon and cheesy mushrooms with a side of onion rings
Patty (12/20) – Although I liked the texture and doneness of the patty (thumbs up for that!), it was really short on flavor.

Composition (11/15) – After seeing the gooey cheese and the super crispy bacon, I expected much from this burger. However, it failed to give the punch of flavor to my very hopeful tastebuds. I really can’t pinpoint where the composition was lacking, but mostly the disappointment of the patty in combination with everything else.

Bun (6/10) – Hooray for toasted buns! But.. the bun was too big for the patty that I had some bites wherein it was just bread. Another thing that I disliked was that it became soggy after a while, making it very messy to eat.

Value (2.5/5) – The burger was big enough to satiate my hunger, definitely. But it fell short when considering the joy that should be derived from the experience of eating comfort food. The upgrade to onion rings instead of regular house fries was a HUGE mistake. Being a sucker for onion rings, I didn’t mind paying the additional charge. Upon seeing it though, I regretted immediately. It was soggy, and broke apart when I picked up. Upon tasting it, it was honestly the worst-tasting onion ring I have ever come across.

TOTAL SCORE = 31.5/50

Jason’s Pick – Southwestern Burger (Php 200 + 20 (Onion Ring Upgrade))

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1/3 lb all-beef patty, chunky beef chili, tomato-cilantro salsa with a side of onion rings
Patty (11/20) – The patty, at first glance, seemed like the type of patty I prefer in a burger. Thick and rustic, it appeared that I would be enjoying every bite into the glistening piece of meat sitting in front of me. Reality struck the moment I bit into the burger, though. The meat was a bit dry, the patty too compact for my liking, and the seasoning a bit off. I believe in salting meats aggressively since it brings out the real flavor of the beef. In this case, the chef seemed unaware.

Composition (9/15) – When something is labeled as Southwestern, it makes you think of food that you’d get in Texas. The name got me hyped, but the actual experience left me wanting. I liked that the chili had actual beef chunks, but the flavor just wasn’t there. I found it a bit dry too, which points to the sauce probably housing the flavor. The tomato-cilantro salsa would ideally brighten up the dish, but it seems as if the chef skimped on the cilantro. The idea is solid; chili burgers never go out of style. The execution on the ingredients was just simply subpar.

Bun (7/10) – Bonus points for the bun beings toasted and being tasty in its own right. I found it lacking, though, due to the fact that the bun’s size did not match the patty size (it saddens me when the patty is outmatched by the bun). Also, it crumbled too easily under pressure. By the midway point of the meal, the bun was reduced to a sloppy mess.

Value (2.5/5) – Despite the fact that the Php 225 price already had the onion rings included, the onion rings were not good at all. They fell apart in my hands, and had a strange taste to them. In the grand scheme of things, the bad onion rings were just the nail on the coffin. The Southwestern Burger, for all its hype (I get hyped easily, sorry), is an example of something that stands for quantity over quality.

TOTAL SCORE = 29.5/50

Bonus Eats: Smothered Fries with Ranch Dressing (Php 220)

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Double portion of fries, with beef chili and cheddar sauce
Micah (3.5/5) – The best part of the meal. I really enjoyed the authentic chili and gooey cheese sauce.

Jason (2.5/5) – Also the best part of the meal for me, although that isn’t saying a lot. At Php 220, I expected a lot more. The cheddar sauce was gooey, the chili chunky, but overall, there just wasn’t a lot bang for the buck.

Ritchie’s Diner Total Score = 61/100

Overall, our Ritche’s Diner experience was quite disappointing. Off to such a promising start due to the service staff being very courteous and knowledgeable, and being located in the foodie suburbs of BF, our expectations were sky high. After tasting the food though, the bubble suddenly burst. It was a major letdown, with nary a redeeming quality in sight.

We had very high hopes due to the expansive nature of the menu. We were even making plans to visit again and bring our friends. The items on the menu were described in such a delectable manner but, reminiscent of 500 Days of Summer, expectation was a far cry from reality. Unless there was a scarcity of dining choices (unlikely, since you ARE in BF, after all), or wanted to watch Mr. Bean with some yellow and blue in the background, Ritchie’s Diner would be nowhere near the top of our recommendations list.

Have you experienced dining at Richie’s Diner? Care to point us to any dishes that you think we SHOULd try that could change our minds? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Menu

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