Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Rustic Moose - Ketchum, Idaho

The Rustic Moose in Ketchum, Idaho has been a family favorite for many years. We have been traveling to Sun Valley every summer since 1993. The Rustic Moose sprung up several years ago when its predecessor restaurant the Buffalo Grill shut down. In fact, old favorites like Buffalo Chips, a potatoes, bacon and cheese dish and the Buffalo Burger are still on the menu.

We happened to visit during Wagon Days. A festival in Ketchum that has a parade celebrating the area’s mining and cowboy roots. The parade has no motorized vehicles. It includes lots of old stagecoaches, the Budweiser Clydesdales and a massive chain of ore wagons pulled by some 20 mules. The parade was passing by while we ate. We had the usually crowded Rustic Moose to ourselves because no one could park in the blocked-off roads near the restaurant.

It turns out the Buffalo Burger ($14.25) is in fact a hamburger made from 1/3 pound of fresh ground beef, not buffalo. I ordered it up along with fries and onion rings that come along. The burger sits on a wonderfully fresh and springy bun. The outside is crunchy and the inside is grilled. There is a tangy aioli sauce, avocado, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onions as well. The beef is fresh and good, but really is just a small note in the wonderful symphony of tastes. It is a very unique burger that I highly recommend.

The fries were thin cut, coated and very tasty for coated fries. The onion rings are thickly breaded in a peppery crunch and cooked very dark. The coating somewhat overwhelms the thick onion inside.

After eating we all retired outside to the sidewalk to watch the end of the parade. Against a backdrop of Bald Mountain and partly cloudy skies, buggies and horses flowed by. We sat across from a small announcer stand where two, half-drunk urban cowgirls narrated the parade telling us about the spotted ass ranch entry and how mules were smarter than most of their ex-husbands. Sun Valley is a lovely, quirky place and that and the Rustic Moose are two of the reasons we love it.

Burger 4.5 Spatulas out of 5
Fries 3.5 spatulas
Onion Rings 4 spatulas

The Rustic Moose
700 N. Main Street
Ketchum, ID 83340


Anonymous said...

Hi Scott,

Enjoyed your blog. I noticed you are working on a world's best burger list. If you ever make it to Japan, I highly recommend Homeworks, located in Hiroo (a section of Tokyo).

I lived in Japan for over 5 years, and while I love most Japanese food, I did, of course, occasionally miss a few favorites from home, including a good burger. I went to Homeworks with a great deal of skepticism (many foods in Japan, which are billed as "American," are greatly adulterated--pizza with tuna, corn, seaweed, fermented soybeans and many other interesting stuff, pasta sauce made with pureed carrots, corn dogs made with fish paste, etc.).

But I was astonished to find that the burgers at Homeworks were not only exceptional by Japanese standards, but they are among the best burgers I have ever eaten anywhere.

If you ever do make it to Japan, Homeworks is a must.

Best regards,

Leo Glenn

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