I've never been to a Fatburger or an In-N-Out Burger. This is less surprising when you reflect that I have not been in California since... 1985?! Can that be? Yeah, I think that be. But lookit that: In-N-Out Burger recently opened a burger place about 5 miles away from me! So am I on the way there?
No. I've recently had burgers at 2 local spots which are legendary among burger snobs. In fact, both places have been featured on the Food Network and one even has a plaque given to it by Alton Brown saying that its mac-n-cheese is the best comfort food in the Yoo Ess Ay. And I really like that mac-n-cheese very much.
But I didn't really like the burgers much from either place. It's just me: both places have long lines of people waiting to get in much of the time, and a lot of the people in those like are there for burgers.
At the place that got the plaque from Alton, I saw on the menu that some of their patties were from grass-fed cattle and the rest were fed both grass and grain. I wanted all-grain but they didn't have any. Since then I've got it straight that foodies prefer grass-fed. I had that backwards at the time. On the same menu, after I ordered the most recent burger I've eaten there, I saw on their list of cheeses that they compared one of them to Gruyere. I love Gruyere. The cheese I got didn't really melt the way you want cheese to melt on a burger. I don't know how much of a difference that would've made in my enjoyment of the burger.
It's not even that I dislike burgers in general. For example: recently I saw in Kroger that I could get a box of frozen White Castle sliders. I got that box, and since then I've gotten several more. Get a box of those sliders with cheese, microwave a couple of 'em and put lots of ketchup on them, and I'm very happy.
Maybe I and foodies generally disagree about what is or isn't a good burger. It wouldn't be the only such disagreement, although I and foodies tend to agree generally about what is really nummers, like with the above-mentioned mac-n-cheese. Another one of the rare disagreements: there's the Parmesan cheese that comes grated in green cylinders, and then there's the much more expensive stuff which comes in pre-grated chunks and is actually from in or around Parma, Italy. Foodies greatly prefer the expensive stuff and say that the stuff in the green cylinders is nasty. (In Europe, only the stuff from Parma is allowed to be called Parmesan.) But I prefer the stuff in the green cylinders.
(Kroger's store brand Parmesan cheese comes in green cylinders which look very much like Kraft, which is more expensive. At Kroger's, I get the store brand. At other stores, I get the store brand, which usually comes in cylinders which aren't green. Except on the very rare case when Kraft is on sale so drastically that it's actually cheaper than the store brand. Kraft doesn't taste better than the store brands to me. I imagine factories with huge piles of grated Parmesan cheese, and part of one and the same pile goes into Kraft's cylinders and part goes into the general packages. Am I wrong?)
If and when I finally eat a Fatburger or an In-N-Out burger, will I think they're fantastic? Who knows. What about an Umami Burger? No idea. What about the burger from Father's Office which you can only get one way with no condiment options, with carmelized onions, bacon, Gruyere and blue cheese and arugula? I can respect a no-options policy if a chef feels really strongly about it, and I love all of those ingredients, but I don't know whether they would be enough to make me like a burger of the foodies.