When I took my first bite out of the Classic at Voraz, an anonymous looking new burger spot in Belgrano, I dropped down a space portal lodged in the back of my brain. I was taken back to a ritual that began early in my childhood, that intensified on lazy college afternoons, and is my first indulgence as soon as I step out of the airport on yearly trips back to California. Before we even make it home, we stop at the first exit with an In-N-Out, the canon of fresh California-style cheeseburgers.
The pleasure of a simple double-double is always present in the periphery of my mind. The slightly salty smashed burger, gooey yellow cheese that rests at the crossroads of a dignified cheddar and the spreadable Lunchable variety that can only be enjoyed in the chaos of an elementary school cafeteria.
The rest is an orchestra, every player, although minor as a singular entity, sings when paired correctly: the squirt of juice that escapes from a firm tomato, the jump of acidity from slightly grilled onions and, although often overlooked, the rapture of the exaggeratedly crisp sound of fresh iceberg lettuce gnawing under each chew. Here, a combination of different mayonnaises replace the sauce; the result is a salty buttery mess in lieu of the briney orange tinged animal sauce. Recognize that particular tint of cheddar, that creamy slightly sour golden mess that sticks to the teeth, it’s because here they use a mild Milkaut over the preferred Dambo.
I have begged plenty of burger makers in the city to put out a version of the quintessential West Coast tradition. Dani, of La Birra Bar fame, is the only to agree thus far and has promised that “someday soon” we’ll begin testing. But Marcelo Rios, who got his start running BurgerLoveBsAs on Instagram before photographing for the biggest names in the city’s powerful burger sub-culture, blindsided me. Burgers are a serious thing for Rios. At my last visit, I eavesdropped on an hour long rhapsody about the changing technology of fry grills in Argentina to measuring the density and flavor of burger buns in relation to its ordained patty.
A bit of seriousness is what the local burger scene is missing. I’m over the burger bar, but not the burger itself. It’s the tediousness inherent in a trend that needs to go. People like Rios understand that good food in any form is a mixture of art and science. Rios has designed all four burger options on the menu as well as a rotating monthly special. Each one tips its hat to classic North American burgers with simple, carefully curated ingredients to be paired with doubled down thin meat patties.
There is an Onion Burger, inspired by the Milwaukee institution Solly’s. Two patties topped with extra cheese are layered with fried onions that are taken out of the fryer just at the moment they begin to brown and crisp. A gentle spoonful of butter oozes into the top bun and drips into the craters left by the melting cheese. There is also an American Burger with crunchy, slightly soured pickles, acidy miniature squares of red onion, crisp smokey strips of bacon, and an ice cream scoop of aioli that brings the marbled fat flavor out of the patty.
The eponymously named house creation adds an extra patty and a orange secret sauce, a slightly vinegared cream with a touch of sweet spice from a red bell pepper. It’s juicier than the rest, the marbled broth makes a puddle around the bun. It is also a mess to eat; melted cheese and sauce nested inside my beard. It isn’t for the faint of heart.
Voraz opened recently. They only have about two months under their belt. On a Tuesday night, the place was packed. Get yours before the line starts to wrap down the block.
Address: Aguilar 2391, Belgrano
Hours: Monday through Saturday noon to midnight
Price Per Person: $230-250 per burger / fry combo