One Dish Wonders: The Bulkogi Burger at Burger Tex
Bulkogi Burger Combo ($8.09)
There are a few Burger Tex locations scattered around town, each with its own personality. In Oak Hill, Sang Ook Ju and Kyung Im Ju set a friendly tone, neighborly even, sponsoring little-league sports teams and welcoming a local veterans' group. Originally from South Korea, the couple moved to Austin six years ago from Philadelphia, where they ran a dry-cleaning business. They were ready for a change. To put it in Kyung Im Ju's words: 'We love cooking better than dry cleaning.'
They bring something special to a menu of hamburgers, chicken-fried steaks and catfish — a Korean-style bulkogi burger made with rib-eye steak.
The steak hits the flat-top grill with a sweet, mahogany-colored sauce anchored by soy and brown sugar, made in-house. Sliced in thin pieces about the size of memory cards, the steak takes on a layered aromatic flavor and a little caramel color without being overly sweet, cooked just long enough to be tear-apart tender.
By itself, the steak is worth mentioning, but the extras turn it into a One Dish Wonder. First, the buns are rolled out and baked fresh daily. They're tall and light as angel-food cake in texture but sturdy enough to hold up under tomatoes, sliced onions, cold iceberg lettuce, jalapenos and pico de gallo. They let you pile on your own garnish from a salad bar. Second, a 50-50 split of crunchy-battered onion rings and french fries is worth the 66-cent upcharge from the combo's usual $7.43 price, which includes a soda or better-than-average iced tea. They also allow BYOB at the Oak Hill shop.
Burger Tex. 6705 W. U.S. 290, Suite 601B. 891-8800. Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.