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Blue Frog makes me taste red, white and blue

First things first: the Montana BBQ is a really tall burger. Layered with bacon, a slice of American cheddar, a thick patty and two even thicker fried onion rings, then drizzled with Blue Frog's special barbecue sauce and all sandwiched between two toasted sesame buns, the burger was more cylindrical than disc-shaped. That's before adding tomatoes, pickles and lettuce. Squashing it down without making a huge mess and then getting my mouth around it was a big challenge, which also is a good indicator of a great hamburger. 


I loved the toasted buns – a must for such a juicy patty. Despite the bacon and fried onion rings, the burger wasn't all that greasy and didn't feel dangerously unhealthy. They were a welcome addition that gave a hint of crispiness and a kick of flavor. But the flavor was really all patty. I wish there had been a more charcoal-y flavor to it, seeing as how it was char-grilled. 


The restaurant offers only six types of burgers. Each one is a little different, like the Mexican Burger with its beef chili or the Zone Burger that is wrapped in lettuce instead of buns. But overall, there is a very limited variety of toppings. The only kinds of cheese, for example, are American cheddar and blue cheese for its Blue Cheese Burger. Bacon and onion are often used. Hsiao says their menu undergoes a review every so often, and the restaurant will be coming out soon with a new one. (A little preview: It includes a burger with mushrooms.) 


At 80 yuan (US$11.71), though, Blue Frog's Montana BBQ burger – even with a high meat-to-bun ration – is a little pricey. A couple of less expensive options, the Blue Frog Burger that got the place started and the Veggie Burger, are still only 10 yuan cheaper. All are served with fries. Are they worth it? 


"You're not just paying for a burger, you're paying for all the service, the environment and everything else that goes with that," Mitchell said. "We've got some of the best service in the city." 


These are nitpicky complaints. The service and atmosphere were stellar, which goes a long way for foreigners who will never get used to the (lack of) care they get at Chinese restaurants. You might not be able to get the exact hamburger you want, but you will get a decent one. And Blue Frog burgers are unique. They are pricier than your average Chinese meal, but most foreigner-frequented places are. Most importantly, the burgers were all-American, all good. Blue Frog sets the bar high for its rivals. 


China.org.cn 何珊 译) 

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