Desert Companion

Eat this now: Grits, gravy and burgers!

Grits and gravy at The Bunkhouse

124 S. 11th St., 702-854-1414, bunkhousedowntown.com

In The Bunkhouse’s previous, loveable-hellhole iteration, the kitchen could sometimes inspire you to ponder the life question, “Uh, did the cook just ash in my burger?” Thankfully, the recent revamp includes a total reimagining of the menu, for which we can thank former Herbs & Rye Chef Robert Henderson. My favorite so far: their unique take on the Southern staple of cheesy grits, served deep-fried with gravy. In this unorthodox version, the typically porridge-like consistency of the hominy is cemented by folding in some spicy melted cheese. It’s then molded into a handheld size (perfect for your heartburn-on-the-go lifestyle!), breaded and deep-fried. The process creates a golden, crispy crust surrounding a gooey, spicy inside that overflows at first bite. A five-piece portion is served with a jug of zesty vegetarian gravy on the side, ideal for dunking or just shooting back any post-grits remains. It takes three to four bites per cube to consume, making this hefty dish perfect for sharing with friends while you wait for your favorite post-indie-ungrunge-trendustrial-jazzmetal band to take the stage. — Chris Bitonti

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The Cure burger at Distill

10820 W. Charleston Blvd., 702-534-1400; 4830 W. Pyle Ave., 702-834-5700, distillbar.com

So-called “signature” burgers are often a letdown. It’s always the same solid assemblage of beef, cheese and fixings, slammed between a bun and served under the guise of being a house specialty. So I’m confident in saying that the most unusual burger in the city is currently being served at this massive new mega-bar and lounge. The all-American classic begins its makeover with a patty that combines beef with pork for extra fattiness. Soy-marinated onions scream “umami!,” jalapeño jelly adds a sweet and spicy kick, and crispy ribbons of fried parsnips lend a pleasant bitterness. What sounds like a nonsensical mishmash of ingredients will actually make sense when it hits every taste receptor on your tongue. — Debbie Lee

 

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