I do what I like. I do keep an ear open and listen to people whose opinions I respect. I trust their judgement. It helps me make decisions.
But there are time you need to see through the hype even from people whose judgement you trust. Because they like it doesn't mean you will like it.
There have been many times something has been hyped up so much that it just lead to a let down. Off the top of my head, the Hangover comes to mind. The movie was ok. I didn't find it as hilarious as most people claimed it to be. I wrote about a restaurant a couple months back that wasn't as good as it was told.
There was a place in Chicago that I was hoping wasn't going to let me down. It had the makings of a place that I would love. Great burgers, a pretty damn good beer menu, and heavy metal music being blared throughout the joint. I know what you are thinking. This place sounds like heaven on Earth, right? Ok, most of my friends that are reading this don't care of heavy metal and probably wonder why anyone would go there. I was told the burger were freakin' awesome. And they are. They are that good that you can let ignore the music (why I don't know) and enjoy a burger that will leave you happily stuffed.
Getting a burger at Kuma's Corner ain't easy. The place is basically a small corner bar with a small kitchen. There are maybe 8 (?) tables and 20 (?) spots at the bar. You will have to wait. Even when you get there when it opens at 11:30, you may have to wait at least 45 minutes. Hell, we got there at 11:25 and still had a wait of 45 minutes. Yep, they were packed within minutes of not officially being opened. That is insane but it is a testament to what great food they make.
We were lucky to get a couple seats at the bar after waiting about 30 minutes. You can wait for a table. If not, bar seats are first come, first serve. People patiently wait behind stools, making claim to them before they are open. As you stand, there are plenty of good beers to enjoy. The beer menu has something for everyone's taste. I enjoyed a Stone Levitation, Great Lakes Edmund Fiztgerald, and a Dogfish Head India Brown Ale as I waited for a seat and my burger.
The burger menu itself is something to marvel at. Just look at it. Each burger is named after a heavy metal band. I'll even admit I don't know who some of those bands are. YOB? Brujera? Never heard of them, but I'll go look them up now. But look at those burgers. How is your mouth not watering?
I had scouted the menu before going out. I had a general idea of what I wanted but my mind was far from being made. The Plague Bringer and the Mastodon sounded very good. The Neurosis or Slayer burgers were tempting as well. In the end I went with the Iron Maiden. I love avocado on a burger. Plus the cherry peppers and chipotle mayo sounded delicious.
The thick burger took a while to make. Easy to wait when you have guitars and beer to enjoy. When it finally came I was a bit surprised to see how big the burger was. You had to cut this in half to not make a total mess. Even after cutting it, it was a very messy burger to eat. That is part of how great it was. In my book, messy=tasty. The Iron Maiden burger was awesome. I have to given Kuma's kudos for using a pretzel bun. I don't know if all the burgers come on pretzel buns but I can understand why. This burger is too big for a regular hamburger bun. It would fall apart under the heft of the meat. A pretzel bun keeps it all together and provides a nice chewiness to the bite.
I left Kuma's with a smile on my face. Good music, good beer, and a great burger. Only possible downside was the inevitable food coma that would come. But it would worth it. I look forward to returning some day. Should be another fantastic experience.