Monday, November 15, 2010

Grading the Gusher

The Gusher
West Yellowstone, Montana

It's not all work, travel, work for Suits 24/7 every day of the year.

It just is most days.

But on the rare occasion Suit69 is on the road and get the chance to "kick it," I like to make sure I eat not only the best food -- but also see local area landmarks and whatever else a given area has.

That's exactly what had me in West Yellowstone, Montana recently looking for a bite to eat.

I had just finished touring Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on the last day it was open for the season -- checking out Old Faithful and the bear, elk and buffalo that are so plentiful in the park -- and was headed back to my hotel.

I was hungry.  And I needed a beer too.

Fall isn't exactly prime tourist season in West Yellowstone.  Actually, the place was dead.

Only a few restaurants were even open.  One of them was the Gusher.

And it turns out, I hit the Gusher on its last day of the season too.

Normally, the Gusher isn't the type of place I'd stop in.

It's one of those places that just looks like a tourist trap.  First, you walk in and there's a cafeteria-style restaurant on the left which usually means the food stinks.

Second, there are games everywhere.  Some for the kids, gambling machines for adults (it's legal in Montana), and a bar on the right.

It just seemed like it was trying to be all things to all people and appeared to be kind of cheesy -- the kind of place you find in a tourist area that just isn't serious about its food.

But walking into the bar, I realized there's a chance this place could actually be good.

First, it was gaudy.  

Not, touristy gaudy, but "decor-hasn't-been-updated-since-1973-gaudy," with loud wallpaper, neon lights and everything.

That usually means the staff is too busy making awesome food to care about ambiance.

Nice.  Ambiance is overrated.

Secondly, while they didn't have many beers on drought, their choices were respectable.

There was only one American puke beer -- Budweiser.

After that, they had a couple microbrews.  A Pale Ale and a New Belgium's Hoptober.

Not bad, I thought considering that typically in a set up like this your three choices would be Budweiser, Bud Light and Miller Lite.

After ordering a beer, I asked the bartender what he recommended from the menu.  He said, "The Poor Boy."

This is nothing like a Louisiana-style "Po' Boy."

It's a burger, with ham, cheddar cheese, fried egg and "special sauce."

"Hit me," I said and went with the ham and bean soup as my side instead of fries.

Before I downed half my beer, the bartender was back with my plate of food.

One look at the Poor Boy, and I knew I would enjoy it.  But I tried the soup first.

It was cold that day, and I had that bone-chilled feeling that God created soup to fix.

I was sold on the first bite.

Most restaurants wouldn't put a soup like this on the menu.

It wasn't particularly salty and -- instead of the ham running the show -- the bean flavor was predominant.

Because of that, every bite had this wonderful, warm earthy flavor.

As I alluded to, the ham flavor didn't particularly stand out.  It more worked to flavor the beans, and I actually liked it that way.

After a couple of bites, I decided I'd see what the Poor Boy was all about.  Before I describe it to you, check this out.

Did you see that?

Did you see how melty the cheddar cheese is?  Did you see all the juices making it Poor Boy glisten?  Do you see how the bun-to-meat ratio is perfect?

I'm asking you all these questions because it's almost impossible to describe how good this burger was.

"Oh, maaaaaan," I groaned after my first bite.

Everything was perfect.  The cheese stayed in a permanent state of melty awesome.  The burger was cooked perfectly for a "from-the-freezer-patty."

It wasn't dry at all.

The egg added another nice layer of flavor which deepened and enriched the flavor of the burger.

Again, the egg was perfectly cooked -- just enough to keep the yolk from running all over your sandwich and ruining it, but not enough to dry it out.

After finishing my Poor Boy, I ordered another Hoptober and another cup of soup and thought "Great job, Gusher.  Great job."

I was now ready to head back out and face the cold.

Rating:  Seriously Thought About Buying the Shirt

1 comment:

  1. Dude, that burger looks so good I'm resisting the urge to eat my monitor.