With a (partial) day off and baby back ribs on sale at Fresh Market, the stars aligned for me to give Elevation Burger a try in Latham (664 New Loudon Rd – in with Fresh Market, Homegoods, etc, tucked in the back).
Now you’re probably going to ask how it was.
‘How was it?’ I hear you ask.
Well, sit back, relax, and let me write way too many words about a burger and fries.
So it’s basically fine.
Nothing wrong with it.
Probably overpriced. But, fine.
I’ll spare you the rah rah ‘grass fed, high concept, oh so very’ spiel that you’ve probably already read on their website or elsewhere in another review.
Speaking of which…when this location finally opened, there were a few reviews, mostly focused on the terribly slow service during shakedown, but it’s been awfully quiet since. I haven’t personally heard anyone talk about going there. I’m not overly surprised as I find it treads water in the vast sea of Latham burger joints.
Ordering isn’t overly complex, despite the 5 minutes it took the family of 4 ahead of me to order. I won’t bore you with the menu either, as it’s not groundbreaking. I kept it simple and basically got exactly what I often get at Five Guys, which I will use as my standard since, thus far, I find them to be my personal gold standard. An Elevation Burger (simple 2 burger sandwich with nothing on it, then pick your toppings) with mayo, ketchup, pickles, and tomato (no, I’m not interested in what you think of what I like on a burger). I added a fountain drink (1 Coke Freestyle machine) and a small fries.
Let me skip ahead a moment. Those fries up there? They don’t look like much…and they were undercooked (despite the awkwardly loud klaxon of the fry machine telling the workers when they’re ‘ready’). But they were really good. Maybe I just got a good batch or something but these were goooooooood. I’d probably actually rank them ahead of all the direct competitors I’ve tried – smashburger, Burger21, and Five Guys.
Back to the burger. The patties themselves are fine, if dry. They didn’t have that ‘grass fed’ taste to them that I’m not very familiar with, but have tasted before. Something, however, was off and left a bad aftertaste after some bites. Didn’t seem to be the bun or burgers…my best guess was that the tomato or pickles were slightly off somehow and I can’t really fault them for this…a bad tomato is going to sneak through occasionally, it happens.
The only cheese options are cheddar and swiss and I got a single slice of cheddar (an upcharge with the Elevation Burger – sauce and veggie toppings are free). No American with its unparalleled cheeseburger meltiness. The bun? Potato. It was…fine. But give me the steamed squishiness of Five Guys any day.
So, yeah, it was fine. I certainly ate the whole thing (the fact that the weirdness wasn’t throughout is mostly what made me think it was a piece of tomato or pickle). In retrospect this tasted like a pretty good burger that I would make at home with some ground beef from the Greenmarket, especially with the slightly ragged, ‘hand formed’ look of the patties. I really have little to complain about here, I just don’t know that I’d go back for it at ~$14. I’d rather have Five Guys. I’d rather have Burger21. I’m torn re: smashburger. The fries are much better here. The burger was way less messy than every burger we get at smashburger. I feel like the flavors are a little better at smashburger.
Oh, the service was fine. Admittedly, the place was basically deserted. Dude at the counter was pleasant enough, even dealing with the jaw-dropping confusion ahead of me in line (really, the menu’s not that big, people). I probably waited 5 minutes, perhaps a touch more, from order to table. Free wi-fi is nice. I tried to sit at the counters that wrap around at the windows with fixed stools, but after 2 seconds I moved to a table…unless you’re professional basketball player height, your feet will be dangling and the single post stools have NOWHERE for you to put your feet. I cannot imagine who finds this comfortable. They were out of ketchup in the dispenser and refilling it must be like solving the Rosetta Stone, because they took it away and brought out packets instead of refilling it.
From the bits I’ve seen on social media, the veggie burger crowd seem to really like Elevation Burger, so they’ve got that going for them. I certainly didn’t and won’t try that, so maybe this is THE place for those, but I’ll leave that up to you, should that interest you. They also have shakes like everyone else, including Five Guys since they caved to that trend (now how about onion rings, Five Guys…please?).
Elevation Burger. It’s fine.