Thursday, March 15, 2007

Potrefená Husa on Vinohradská

The other day, I went for a hamburger at the Potrefená Husa (The Wounded Goose) location on Vinohradská.

It's a very popular place. They had decent lunch crowd for a weekday in the non-smoking section.
The bar and smoking sections were pretty empty. In the evenings, that is not usually the case. It's often packed and almost impossible to find a table or a bar stool.
I got to thinking about who has the best hamburgers in Prague. Fraktal? Mozaika? TGI Friday's?

I don't know. I haven't tried them all. But I've heard good things.

As for me, I really love the Potrefená Husa Burger. But, as the old song goes, "Love hurts." Allow me to explain.

First the good part.

It comes with freshly fried American-style bacon and nicely melted cheese. The sandwich is very nicely constructed, top to bottom. The sesame bun is large, toasted, and holds together all the way through to the end. 

The lettuce, red onion, and tomato placed on one side of the bun come in a perfect-sized portion -- no overhang. They fit perfectly on top of the meat and under the bun. 

The patty itself is not very big in diameter, but it is thick, and they give the high-quality ground beef a great char from the grill. This is what it is all about.

The fries are excellent -- long, fairly thick cut, and well-salted. They put a large quantity of mayonnaise on the side of the plate. On request, the waiter will bring over a selection of Heinz ketchups -- Regular, Hot, and Mexican (which is spicier than the Hot).

I spied some of the other dishes arriving near me. One man had an absolutely massive koleno (pork knee). 

A woman got a seafood risotto, which was also a very large portion, but looked a bit dry to me. I think it was a special. 

Another person had ribs (199 CZK). The ribs are pretty good here, but they suffer because they come with a very generic barbecue sauce.

Now for some bad news.

I asked for the hamburger to be cooked medium. It came well done. This has happened before. They like to burn it a bit. Still tastes good, but not as good as it could.

Potrefená Husa doesn't have Coke, only Pepsi. It costs 37 CZK for a small .25 liter bottle. They have Staropramen, not Pilsner Urquell. The Staropramen brewery owns the restaurant chain. They also serve Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe, and Kelt.

Now for some ugly news.

I remember from previous visits thinking the burger was expensive, but didn't remember exactly how much. I have to confess, I didn't look closely at the bill when I paid it. I was thinking about other things. 

I'm looking at it now. In black and white, it says the hamburger is 297 CZK. That is just an astounding price for a hamburger in Prague.

Let's put it in perspective.

The large, Fraktal Burger with bacon and cheese is 195 CZK. The burger at Mozaika, a more upscale restaurant, is 199 CZK. 

I've tried TGI Friday's burger. It is very good (and they have amazing milk shakes). Most people think the Na Příkopě location in the center of Prague charges tourist rip-off prices. The bacon cheeseburger there is 290 CZK -- seven crowns less than Potrefená Husa's. Interestingly, the TGI Friday's location at Anděl only charges 230 CZK for the same burger. All the food there is much cheaper than the central outlet.

The Potrefená Husa Burger is good, but I didn't want to believe the price on the receipt was correct. I actually went back to the restaurant and checked the menu. And that's what it cost: 297 CZK.

Unfortunately, I think it might cost them my regular burger business. They are usually so busy, I don't think they'll notice.

On another visit, I tried the steak tartare. Unlike a number of places, they do all the seasoning for you. And I'll say they do a pretty good job of it.There is plenty of sharp garlic, a good balance of salt and, of course, a raw egg on top. They use very good quality beef tenderloin.

There is also garlic on the side for rubbing on the toast, which is Czech bread fried in oil. I got the large, 150 gram portion for 249 CZK. It's not so cheap, but I enjoyed it. There is also a 100 gram portion for 189 CZK.

If you have a craving for beef, it is a good alternative to the burger. I'd even say healthier -- I've eaten a lot of steak tartare in Prague and never once felt any ill effects. 

10 comments:

kava said...

In other words, a $15 hamburger at a Czech equivalent of a Chi-Chi's ... Something is way out of whack here ..

Brewsta said...

The dollar-Czech crown rate is pretty lousy these days..

But for even more perspective, the excellent and highly-rated bacon cheeseburger at Houston's on Park Avenue in New York City is $14.

Kava said...

It raises an interesting point about Prague's restaurants and affordability ... Prague has always had a reputation for being cheap, but obviously that's changed a lot in recent years ...

Max Bahnson said...

Kava,
You are right in a way. Prices in Prague, and not only for restaurants, have increased in the last few years, in some cases, considerably. Now, places like Potrefena Husa have always existed, they aim to the posh crowd, who are too snob to go to the local hospoda, and the expat crowd, and I mean those who can't be bothered with learning any czech. On the other hand, though still more expensive than a few years back, the neighbourhood hospoda is still very affordable and good value for money.

Irish Ice Cream Gurl said...

I had assumed the same that Czech restaurants would not be expensive, maybe Brewsta you just have expensive taste? Or maybe you are just willing to pay a little more for good food... even if they did over cook your burger... but I agree the fries/chips look excellent. It is really difficult to get home made fries anywhere.. You cannot beat a good home made fries.. unless you make them yourself..

€10.60 for a burger, is not excessive in Ireland.. or maybe we are just silly enough to pay for it!

Brewsta said...

It is safe to assume that I spend more than the average person does in restaurants. I have all kinds of tastes -- expensive is one.

But value for money is a big issue -- and it gets pretty subjective at that point.

I wouldn't think twice about a burger that costs that much at a nice restaurant in New York.

It's just that this particular restaurant is not that special, it's not in a central tourist area, and it's in Prague -- not New York. And yet, the burger has a New York (or Irish) price tag.

Prices have gone up here as the dollar has gone down.

It is also odd that this is one of the more expensive items on the menu -- 30 percent more than the barbecued ribs, for example.

My theory is that they use the same high-quality, low-fat beef that they use for the steak tartare, so they have to charge more. Just a theory, though.

Anonymous said...

This chain is spreading around the republic and if you can afford the price at times it can be ok. The model works here for young folks that just must be seen in public at the cool place. Service is a joke the first year of business. I was in Jilava a few weeks ago and the pork knee came rather burned. They didn't care what so ever. And really folks how can you drink the beer?

Lady Lustry said...

This place has always been a total rip off for the quality of food, level of service you get and the standard of the decor. I have always struggled to understand its popularity.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

one question, who come to Prague or CZ to eat Burgers ??
I tested all Czech food and its really good...

hungry hugo said...

Well, if you have been living here some years, you want to eat something different sometimes- or not always the same knedlik (which I hate by now, for dietary reasons anyway) every day. Not to forget that a lot of czech food is quite awful, not by idea or recipe, but execution. Cheap, fat, bad meat cooked and fried to dry death, covered in litres of tasteless fat&flour sauces to balanced that, with the useless knedlik on the side (their only use is actually to provide construction and steel workers daily intake, and to mop up the sauces..).

Plus, ex-communistic areas are very keen on western-style living, as that was forbidden in the g...old days. So music, fashion, cars, food from the west is seen as very exotic AND desirable :) This brings expats and "upper"class (no usual worker could or would ever afford a 300kc burger or beer for more than 30) czechs together in the hunt for the best burger in town- not to forget Brewstas influence on that challenge, of course ;)