The crowning burger at Wednesday night's Denver Burger Battle, at least according to the restaurant industry judges -- Hosea Rosenberg, Jenna Johansen, Daniel Asher and Max MacKissock -- was the meat candy from Larkburger, Thomas Salamunovich's fast-casual empire of artisan burger joints that got its start in Edwards, just a few bun rolls away from Beaver Creek.
See also: Photos: 2012 Denver Burger Battle
The Angus chuck burger, towered with applewood-smoked bacon, Tillamook cheddar, house-ripened tomatoes and slivers of red onions on a brioche bun sided with a swipe of truffled aoili, was a new combination from the Larkburger team -- a burger that, unless you attended the battle, your jaws have never met.
But if you missed out, take heart: That beefed up patty, which Rosenberg, the owner of Blackbelly Catering, confided was the "perfect all-around burger without too much embellishment," is now at a Larkburger near you.
"We take great pride in our burgers and using the best ingredients available, and I think the judges could taste that in our winning burger," says Larkburger president Adam Baker.
Asher, the exec chef or Root Down and Linger, agrees: "I took one bite, and I knew it was the one. I appreciate that Larkburger took a more subtle approach, focusing on a delicious burger but then amped it up with the truffle aioli. After trying eleven other burgers, I still ate the whole thing and thought to myself 'This tastes like my childhood -- this is the quintessential burger."
The burger costs $7.95, and it could be here today...gone tomorrow, notes Aubrey Cornelius, who does PR for the homegrown chain, which means that if you want to take a bite out of the judge's top choice (Crave Burgers, by the way, was the people's top pick), then you should stretch your jaws sooner rather than later. And, yes, every Larkburger in Colorado now pimps it.
Eat, drink and dribble.