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Nick's Picks: The perfect flavors of Good Luck's burger

In an essay for Wired, restaurateur David Chang describes a perfect flavor as one that “makes you very aware of what you’re eating and your own reaction to it. It nags at you and it keeps you in the moment, thinking about what you’re tasting. And that’s what makes it delicious.” Ringer staff writer Danny Chau used Chang’s quote as a preface for his recent article about certain tastes and their ability to become ingrained into one’s memory. Chau’s article got me thinking. What specific local flavors are so intense, so profound, that they become unforgettable?

It is an opinion shared by many that Good Luck, the restaurant and bar on Anderson Avenue, is the best place to dine in Rochester. Acclaim from local publications, awards from national magazines like Esquire, word of mouth, and a constantly packed dining room suggest that this opinion is correct. 

Having just celebrated its ten year anniversary, Good Luck has plenty to point to for its sustained success. While always ahead of the curve in its bar program, décor, atmosphere, techniques, and menu, Good Luck’s most talked about offering is a simple American staple.

Observing what comes out of Good Luck’s open kitchen, one will see that it’s not the mint gemelli, smoked duck breast, pan-roasted cod loin, or the sautéed squid that appears most frequently—it’s the burger.

Instead of complicating its burger with extraneous ingredients and toppings, Good Luck lets the few high-quality ingredients it does use shine through with excellent preparation and simple presentation.  

The scene is set with a straightforward chuck and brisket blend from local, grass-fed cows. This lean mix creates a strong, unmistakably beefy flavor with an almost steak-like texture. After being cooked in a cast iron pan then lightly grilled, the one pound burger patty develops a thin, crispy, charred, crust on its exterior while maintaining an exceptionally juicy interior. The juices that dribble down from the patty are absorbed by a sturdy, flaky, toasted brioche bun. Toppings, served on the side, include triangles of soft, local cheddar cheese and a sauce made with ketchup, mayonnaise, and brandy that is a tangy, sweet compliment to the rich, salty beef. The burger is served alongside a mound of perfectly seasoned fries and a fresh, light, crunchy coleslaw mix.

It’s difficult to mess up a burger but it’s even more difficult to make it memorable. Good Luck, as it always does, defies the norm to do just that.

Follow Nick’s Picks on Twitter at @NicksPicks585.

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