I love burgers, most of America does. So much so that the average American eats three hamburgers a week. You can find a hamburger pretty much anywhere in Orange County, but quite frankly it’s a mundane experience. The Cut Handcrafted Burgers started as a food truck but has since opened a restaurant in Irvine (The truck still exists). It serves some upscale sandwiches that you may not find in your standard burger joint. Situated inside of a quiet Irvine shopping center, you may have to go out of your way to find it, but I am confident that you’ll find it worth the trip.
The Cut Truffle & Brie burger/Sweet Heat Cutlet
Both sandwiches were served on the same brioche bun. The Cut’s buns are pretty dense and buttery, perfectly structured for the somewhat greasy fillings of their sandwich menu. It seems like most places use some variation of this style of bun now, but they aren’t all created equal. Where some would dress your fingers in sauce and grease, the Cut buns were surprisingly clean. This may have more to do with how they build their sandwiches, but nevertheless, it’s nice not to decimate hundreds of napkins.
Burger – The Cut’s burger patty is excellent. Even with all the ingredients the meat’s flavor came through. What I loved was the crispy carmelization of the patty. The brie cheese was melted by the burger’s heat giving it a fondue-like texture with the rind giving it some structure. The burger was finished with pickled red onion, which cut the fat and added some sweet texture. Truly an excellent burger.
Chicken – I’m not usually a fan of pounded chicken, but I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of this sandwich. The breading was very crispy and the meat quite tender. It’s called a sweet heat sandwich, but the heat was somewhat overshadowed by the other ingredients. You can taste the spice, but it’s not nearly as apparent as I expected it to be.
Burger – The Truffle and Brie burger is punctuated with truffle aioli and a little bit of honey. Anything that uses truffle runs the risk of overpowering everything it covers, but this was very subtle. I thought the sweetness from the burger came from the pickled onion, but upon further inspection, maybe it was from the honey. Either way, I like the fact that the sauces didn’t overpower the flavor of the burger itself.
Chicken – Unlike the burger, I think the sauce on the chicken sandwich was the defining part of the meal. The honey-sriracha is good, it seemed more sweet than spicy to me. It was reminiscent of a sauce that I loved to eat as a kid, Mae ploy sweet chili sauce. There was an aioli on here too, but I didn’t notice it.
The Cut’s menu is a little pricier than most burger places in Orange County. The sandwiches are served a la carte, and can run anywhere from $10-$16. There is even a $26 burger on the menu. You can find a lot of good burgers under $10 in Orange County, but I would happily pay more for what The Cut is doing. The quality of their food is worth the price although one could argue that it gets pretty steep with the sides. You may not be foregoing regular trips to the drive-thru for them, but The Cut is a nice break from your average burger fare.
[Click on thumbnail for sample menu]
The Cut Handcrafted Burgers
3831 Alton Pkwy #C, Irvine, CA 92606