Star Tribune: Best Burgers In Minneapolis

Thanks to the cooking smarts of chef/co-owner Carrie McCabe-Johnston, the classic California cheeseburger ($12, with fries) lives a very good life at Nightingale. Brimming with a big, bold beefy bite, the quarter-pound patty is a half-and-half mix of chuck and a fat-laced brisket. The patties are fried, caramelizing in their own juices. A gutsy four-year-old Wisconsin Cheddar melts like a dream, and the juicy tomato actually tastes like a tomato. McCabe-Johnston replaces boilerplate iceberg lettuce with romaine, a huge improvement; ditto the herb-packed aioli, which subs for mayonnaise. When asked where I dine on my own dime, Nightingale is one of my stock responses, and this awe-inspiring burger is one of the primary reasons why. -Rick Nelson

2551 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-354-7060, www.nightingalempls.com