The plate: When executive chef and co-owner Tory Miller opened Graze Restaurant in 2010, he wanted a burger that was a step above the rest, one that paid homage to his fine-dining establishment L’Etoile.
Quality Wisconsin-raised meat is the focus of Miller’s $21 burger. Dry-aged beef from Fountain Prairie Farm in Fall River is the foundation. He uses the short ribs, ribeye, New York strip and sirloin cuts along with bacon from Willow Creek Farm in Loganville to form the patty which is seasoned with salt and pepper. A butter compound made with Hook’s Swiss cheese from Mineral Point is formed into a disc and refrigerated. The butter compound is melted onto the meat patty as it is cooked. Finished with a cabernet red wine jus with caramelized onion, The Graze Burger is served on a house-made SarVecchio cheese brioche bun.
Fries served with aioli or a mixed green salad accompany the burger. It is available only on the dinner menu after 5 p.m. weekdays, and after 3 p.m. Saturday.
Why it defines Madison: “I think it’s everything Madison wants to be — and is — a big city experience with farm-to-table standards,” Miller explained.
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An original Graze menu item, The Graze Burger has evolved over the years, but the price, $21, and the quality ingredients are unchanged. Miller tweaked it by adding bacon to the meat patty, the butter compound, and SarVecchio cheese to the brioche bun.
In 2013, Rachael Ray Magazine and the James Beard Foundation pronounced it “Best Burger in America.”
The Graze Burger experience is about its umami — pleasant savory taste — and the mindset that it’s an entrée, not a hamburger.
— Robyn Norton