My partner in dining crime Ben Watanabe and I have pretty much never met a burger we didn’t like.
Well, as long as it is clothed in the proper condiments, that is.
That’s why we were drawn to Blu Burgers & Brew, which offers many options between the buns.
Tucked in a strip plaza off Mukilteo Speedway, the restaurant has culinary competition with a Subway and Hani Hani, a popular poke and ramen grill that opened in August.
Blu Burgers & Brew opened about a year ago in the space that was Shake & Go.
A chalkboard lists the menu items. Burgers. Fries. Salads. Shakes.
Step up to the counter to order, then grab a handful of … crayons?
That’s right. There’s a big bowl of crayons and coloring pages. Jackpot! This is a place where you can sit and talk while kids color.
Some of the art is up on the wall. There are TVs on the wall, too. In the corner is the sparkling abominable snowman Bumble from the “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” movie. Bumble is the mascot and stays up year-round in the eatery that has an eclectic mountain theme.
The dining area is open and bright, with seating for 50 at tables with picnic benches and metal chairs. Meals are served on a paper liner on metal trays.
Come hungry. Signature burgers are one-third pounders, each with different enhancements.
I ordered the El Paisano ($8.95), with cilantro, roasted chilis, pepper jack cheese, grilled onions and chipotle mayo. The burger did not have pickles, which is a selling point for me. I don’t want them anywhere near my buns.
Ben had the Sweet Caroline ($8.95), topped with bacon, cheddar, creamy slaw, frizzled onions and Carolina-style barbecue sauce. He also had sweet potato fries ($3.50), and a bunch of my regular fries ($2.75), plus a to-go 16-ounce Butterfinger milkshake ($5). Ben is a for-heaven’s-sake-give-me-a-milkshake guy.
“Bacon and crispy onions gives the burger a hearty, savory bite,” he said. “Mix that with the tangy, cool crunch of coleslaw and the sweet zip of the barbecue sauce, and you have my ideal burger. The Sweet Caroline was singing my song for the next eight hours.”
It was sufficient that Ben didn’t eat the rest of the day. Or so he said.
My burger was good. I don’t wax poetic about food like Ben, The Herald’s social media master. Good is good enough. My only complaint, which might be regarded as a compliment by others, is that it wasn’t greasy enough. It didn’t drip or ooze or make me use a pile of napkins.
The hand-cut fries were the best part of the meal, and it would have better if Ben didn’t scarf half of them from my plate.
I think a reviewer on Yelp nailed it: “Burgers are awesome, but their fries must have been prepared by Jesus himself, perfectly crispy and unmatched by any restaurant I’ve been to.”
Blu Burgers & Brew was started by Mark Meline, a former Mukilteo resident now living in Edmonds.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business all my life, working for other people, and decided now was the time to do my own thing,” Meline said.
“We kept our menu kind of small to make it easier to manage. We wanted it all fresh and good quality. We use all natural grass-fed beef from the Painted Hills Ranch in Oregon.”
I guess that explains the lean meat that isn’t your fast-food greaseburger.
“We use Kennebec potatoes for our hand-cut fries,” he said.
Meline said he wanted it to be a family place, hence the crayons.
“Adults probably color more than the kids,” he said.
There is a kids menu with grilled cheese, burgers and chicken tenders. Milkshakes include Oreo and root beer.
He said people often divide the shakes into two cups to share. Take note, Ben.
There are seven rotating beers on tap ($6), as well as Diamond Knot root beer. And bottled beer and wine.
Other noteworthy specialty items include the Blu Burger ($8.95), with arugula, blue cheese crumbles, grilled onions, bacon and blue cheese dressing, and The Hippie ($9.50), billed as a cage-free, non-gmo black bean patty with avocado, romaine, tomato, pickle and chipotle mayo.
Pick up a blue Blu menu on the way out, and a milkshake (to share).
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
If you go
Blu Burgers & Brew, 9999 Harbour Place, Suite 100, Mukilteo.
Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Call 425-493-6900 or go to www.bluburgersandbrew.com.