I'll be running a periodic series in a quest for the best burger in Plainfield. I'm using a completely arbitrary system of my own devices. In the end, I'll crown the non-people's choice champion for Best Burger in Plainfield. Today's burger: Penalty Box.
Hey guys! I'm back! I missed ya! I've been letting life get in my way lately. Crazy days. Last night I went to the Zac Brown Band concert at First Midwest Bank Ampitheater last night. Now I know what it feels like to be held hostage.
It was probably 40 degrees last night, and in an effort to make the place as uncomfortable as possible, they decided to try to break the record for sardine canning the most people into a concert venue for a Zac Brown concert. They succeeded. Yay.....
For those of you who haven't seen him live, they have managed to take the elements of a Dave Matthews Band concert: The feeling that the night might never end and you might just pass out while stuck listening to a 12-minute saxophone solo and combine that with the vinegary bitterness that is country music in cold weather.
Oh yea, Zac Brown, you wanna show how deep you are by playing an acoustic Nirvana cover? You wanna show your range by playing a 10-minute version of "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder? You want to try to show how country you are by playing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"?
How bout this: It's cold! I'm standing because there isn't even any grass to stand on! Beer is $13! It's Sunday night! Why not just play your hits, thank everyone for coming and get off the stage.
Every song they played that wasn't "Chicken Fried," the obvious closer for the show, was like a dagger on my knees, head and patience. I'd like to wish a special thanks for leaving the stage and having several people play bongos and drums for 15 minutes. If I wanted to go see the Blue Man Group, spoiler alert, I'd go see BLUE MAN GROUP.
By the time Brown finally got around to playing his final song, there wasn't an ounce of joy left in me. That's what spending two and a half hours listening to you does.
For the record, if I hadn't gotten free tickets, I'd have never gone in the first place. First Midwest Bank Ampitheater is to intimate settings, as KFC is to chicken. I'll just go ahead and keep seeing concerts at Joes, The Metro, The Vic, and everywhere else that you can see a show without carrying around a microscope to see the stage.
The Place: Penalty Box Bar and Grill
The Burger: Blackhawk Burger
This entire review is giving Penalty Box a second chance. It was actually the first place I ate at when I set out to start reviewing all the burgers, and the burger was bad enough that I didn't even bother to review it. But enough people kept saying the burger was good that I gave it the benefit of the doubt, and opted to give the burger a second chance.
Meat: The meat is fine if not spectacular. It's a massive step in the right direction in comparison to the first time, when it tasted like it has been dipped, marinated, slathered and then topped with pepper.
Meat Score: 6
Bun: Oh my god, oh my god! The menu said pretzel roll! I was so excited. As frequent readers know, I am totally in the bag for a good pretzel roll. It's the best way to get an easy score. So imagine my pure and totaly joy when my burger came ... on a kaiser roll.
Penalty Box, why must you keep kicking me when I try to give you a second chance? Also, the bun wasn't fresh. Total disapointment.
Bun Score: 2
Toppings: The bacon was cooked perfectly, the onion and lettuce were crisp and fresh and gave that perfect crunch when you bit into it. Unlike most places, when they put bleu cheese on the burger, they let it melt down onto the burger. This is a great touch. Too often, places will simply put the bleu cheese on top at the last minute in crumbles, and it will fall off as you eat the burger.
When it's melted on, it gives that great bleu cheese texture while adding the consistency of regular cheese on a burger. Not many places do that, so credit should be given.
Topping Score: 8
The Ed Arter Bang For Your Buck Scale
Named after the Patch commenter who came up with the idea, this will give you guys a better idea how how far your money will go for your burger.
The burger, along with fries, came in at $8.99. For an extra dollar, you can get onion rings. I ordered onion rings. They didn't have any. So there's that....
It comes in at right around the same price as other burgers in the area, but also a bit towards the high end, especially considering the final product. I can't give a higher score on the bang for your buck than a 6/10. But that's also double the score that I would have given it the first time around.
In the end, I'll definitely go to Penalty Box to drink. It's a sports bar, and possibly the only true and pure sports bar in the area. I got to watch sports on four TVs just from my side of the bar, and 12 dollars for a bucket of beers is a good deal on a Friday.
In the end, going back to Penalty Box, for me, will involve me ordering nachos the size of an oversized frisbee and their club sandwich, which might actually be one of the best sandwiches in the town. Everyone raves about the club sandwich and it definitely lives up to the hype and, unlike so many other things, never disappoints!