To help encourage more sustainable and nutritious options for burgers, the James Beard Foundation has started the Blended Burger Project — a nationwide contest that has been going on for the past two summers and has had more than 500 participants. This annual competition challenges contestants to submit their burger recipes and add their blended burger on their restaurant’s menus for their customers to try and then vote on (visit jamesbeard.org/blendedburgerproject through July 31 to cast your ballot). The rules are simple: at least 25 percent of the burger patty has to be made of mushrooms, while the chefs are encouraged to play around with other flavors to make the dish their own.
Of the 10 Ohio participants, three chefs from Cleveland restaurants presented their versions of the perfect Blended Burgers at Hyde Steakhouse in Beachwood during a short luncheon and presentation. The chefs talk about their inspirations and craft that went into creating this unique combination.
Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse
Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse’s burger, which comes with crab and truffle tater tots and a side of roasted red pepper and Boursin aioli, is a twist on a classic dish. “Being a steakhouse, the first thought was, Well, mushrooms? What are we going to do? And that’s where we came up with the beef Wellington,” says regional chef Kevin Foley. The burger is made with dry-aged beef, blended with mushroom duxelle and pate, topped with truffle bordelaise, Brie, watercress and fried oyster mushrooms. “I wanted to take a classic dish and just try to take all the flavors that a beef wellington would represent and turn it into a burger,” Foley says. 26300 Chagrin Blvd., Beachwood, 216-464-0688, hydeparkrestaurants.com
All the dishes at this Cleveland Heights restaurant have a certain spice to it. When combining the mushrooms with the braised beef, chef Michael Herschman also incorporates a beer-braised pork belly. “I think it adds an element between the beef and the mushrooms,” he says. Along with the vibrant flavors coming from the roasted wild mushrooms, garlic and smoked chilies and garlic confit, the burger ends with a smooth habanero cream cheese at the bottom. “You have all the meaty textures going on, but the cream cheese adds a little zing and spice to it but has that cream that mellows it out,” he says. 2196 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, 216-932-9000, lopezonlee.com
The Medina restaurant is no stranger to burgers. Chef John Kolar and his sous chef Cody Fascione collaborated on this two-in-one patty that was as flavorful as it is nutritious. “Little things, like instead of using a ton of salt or a ton of fat, a little balsamic on there, really brightens it up,” says Kolar. Thyme’s “magic mushroom burger” combines savory as well as earthy flavors through ingredients such as bacon onion relish and goat cheese spread. It gets paired with portabella fries. 113 W. Smith Road, Medina, 330-764-4114, thymerestaurant.com