Restaurant Review: Venezuelan-inspired burgers at V Burger | Restaurant Reviews | Salt Lake City Weekly

Restaurant Review: Venezuelan-inspired burgers at V Burger 

Burger innovation at its finest.

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  • Alex Springer

While we've been so distracted by all these fried-chicken restaurants that have started popping up all over the valley, something interesting has been happening with our local burger culture: Culinary fusionists from Mexico, Venezuela and Argentina have started to apply their regional grilling chops to the humble hamburger, and they've created something quite special. My first foray into this brave new world was with Loco Burger, whose torta-style approach to burgers had my head spinning. So, I recently checked out V Burger to see how they do things in Venezuela.

I've already built up a healthy respect for all of the Venezuelan food that I've had the privilege of trying. There's a reckless abandon to the composition of dishes like arepas and cachapas, but there's also a note of chaotic brilliance—there's much more to these dishes than a holy union of meats, cheeses and starch. Based on my meager experience with these Venezuelan classics, I was curious to see how that style would be interpreted as a burger.

V Burger has set up shop in the Asian City supermarket area of West Jordan—fun fact, I worked at the GameStop in that shopping center while I was in college. It's a newly-renovated space, and they've tricked the inside out with plenty of Venezuelan flair. Though it's a fast-casual concept, the menu is diverse enough that you'll likely need a few minutes for perusal.

The great menu features a variety of traditional Venezuelan dishes, but you can't go to V Burger without ordering the V Burger ($9.48), so let's start there. In size and dimension, it's one of those burgers that lets you see each of its components stacked on top of one another—a tall boi, in other words. The lettuce, tomato and herbaceous house sauce chill on the bottom with a pile of fried shoestring potatoes. You'd think the flavors and textures of this layer would just blend together, but those crispy potatoes keep things interesting. On top of that is your burger, a lovely beef patty that has been grilled to perfection. It wears an appropriately thick disc of mozzarella cheese that melts luxuriously as you eat. The bun itself is fantastic—impossibly soft, yet manages to avoid getting soggy while keeping all this good stuff together.

If you've had the pleasure of enjoying an arepa, you'll understand where the foundation of the V Burger comes from. It's the sauce and mozzarella cheese, which combine to form a nice creamy contrast to the richness of the burger. From a textural standpoint, the shoestring potatoes do a world of good; this is a burger with no shortage of creamy condiments, and those little crispy potatoes offer a perfect crunch that complements the whole experience.

When most of us get a hankering for a burger, we're actually craving a very specific blend of rich, savory flavors with some kind of contrast—a freshly sliced tomato, some crunchy Fritos or some acidic pickles. The V Burger understands this craving from top to bottom, and it's an absolute delight to eat. I will need to visit a few more times to make this official, but it might have just edged its way into my all-time top five local burgers list.

In addition to some traditional Venezuelan eats like stuffed arepas ($7.48) and cheesy corn cachapas ($9.98), V Burger also boasts a few different variations of tumbarrancho: the tradicional ($6.48) and the especial ($7.98). Its basic construction is similar to that of the arepa, though the crisp-yet-tender arepa is sliced in half to make extra space for the mortadella, mozzarella, cabbage, tomato and creamy house sauce. The especial includes an extra protein helping of your choice—think pollo asado, pernil or carne mechada.

When it arrives, it's got some torta vibes, with the fillings already starting to drip over the side of the golden brown arepa that serves as its delivery system. One bite makes you realize how truly vast the sandwich spectrum is. Sure, it looks like a sandwich you've perhaps had before, but when you get a hit of that crispy fried arepa with the salty mortadella and creamy mozzarella, your boundaries of what sandwiches can be start to get a little fuzzy.

The menu at V Burger is excellent, featuring plenty of traditional favorites with a burger roster that is absolutely killing it. I also appreciated the vibes here; it's a fast casual spot for sure, but the owners like to get out and circulate among the diners to see how things are going. I know I've said this before, but the Venezuelan perspective on food is endlessly fascinating. Taking ideas as conceptually simple as a burger or sandwich and weaving them into such complex tapestries of flavors and textures is pure magic—and that's what you get at V Burger.

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