Chalking this review up to a matter of convenience and location, I recently found myself on the West side of Sahara near the newly-opened Al’s Beef and decided to give it a shot. A couple weeks ago a friend took me to Braddah’s next door, and someone mentioned Al’s after seeing my check-in. I don’t think I would have bothered coming here, but after reading about the opening on Eater and then having it suggested by a reader I figured I might as well. Besides, a restaurant that has the word ‘beef’ in its name must serve a decent burger?
The restaurant is located in an old 50’s diner-looking building, with only some of that look carried inside as well. The space is incredibly loud between the blaring 50’s music and one random TV in the dining room showing Dr Oz or some crap with the volume turned up way too high. The large expanse of metal ceiling tiles and hard tile floor certainly doesn’t help quell any of this noise; and in fact it’s so loud they really have to yell out the order numbers multiple times to customers to the point that it gets a bit annoying. There are a few tall stools and a bunch of two top tables very loosely placed throughout the dining area; there is really a lot of open space in here. The menu is stacked with all things meat: their award winning Italian beef sandwich, sausages, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and quite a number of pre-designed burgers and fries. For those looking for something a bit lighter, they also offer many salads and wraps.
As usual, I kept my order fairly simple so I could really sample the basic burger offering; the Drive-In cheese burger with cheddar, mustard, ketchup, shredded lettuce, tomato, mayo, red onion and Kosher pickles. As soon as I ordered my burger I saw a premade, frozen looking patty get pulled out of a drawer and dropped on the grill, and when I bit into it I confirmed that exact style. Maybe the ‘beef’ in Al’s Beef refers more to their award winning sandwich. Still, the meat had really great char flavor even with its overly generic quality. Copious amounts of ketchup, mustard, onions and pickles made this actually pretty good. The bun was fresh, soft and very well proportioned to this very large burger. I recommend you keep it in the wrapping as it gets fairly messy. Overall it was a bit generic of a burger, but still quite good and I would even consider going back to try one of their more adventurous offerings.
The fries were really good; natural cut with some crispy skin pieces, all cooked well. The portion you get with the small size was sufficient for the burger, but I would consider ordering the large next time just to eat more. This was all quite shocking for what I was expecting when I saw that patty, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I’m sure the quality of beef in the Italian sandwich and some other items might be a bit better, but for $11.72 with fries and a drink I wasn’t too upset about this. That price point might be a little high as many like to keep their burgers well below the $10 mark, but for the overall size and decent quality of this, it’s not so bad.