- Ambience 85%
- Service 85%
- Food 90%
- Creativity 90%
- Value 85%
The full review for Uncle Fletch
Uncle Fletch may not have been the first restaurant in Santiago to put craft burgers on a plate or in a basket, but it was the first one to get it right. After several years of searching out a really good and juicy burger in Latin America, I’d finally found a place that did the genre justice.
The décor at all the locations of Uncle Fletch is nice. The original location in Bellavista is located in an old warehouse. There’s one large dining area surrounded by the exposed brick of the exterior of the building, antique shutters on the ceiling-high windows, polished concrete floors, and lots of beer and burger memorabilia.
The menu explains the restaurant’s name as being a shrine to the alleged inventor of the hamburger, a guy named Uncle Fletch (real name, Fletcher Davis) from Athens, Texas. Being from Texas myself I’m not going to take issue with the claim that Uncle Fletch invented the burger.
But the real question remains ... Regardless of who invented the burger, which restaurant in Santiago has come closest to perfecting it.
What I like about the burgers at Uncle Fletch, is that more than any restaurant in Santiago that I’ve been to that has burgers on the menu, this one attempts to stay close to the form and function that made the burger the most popular hand-held food in the western hemisphere. In contrast to La Burguesía, and countless other brewpub and burger joints that have popped up over the last five years, Uncle Fletch adheres to the burger aficionado’s creed that you should be able to hold a burger in your hands and eat it without the necessity of a knife and fork and that the bun (not the “bread”), the meat patty, the condiments and sauces should all bear a reasonable relationship to one another, in terms of their percentage of the overall burger.
So many restaurants attempt to over-think the burger, using some leaner, more expensive cut of meat (which is the worst possible thing to do), or putting an array of exotic toppings on top that hide the ingredient that should be star of the burger, the meat patty.
Of course, Chileans don’t care that the burger can’t be managed between ten fingers since this culture engages in the terribly strange custom of eating burgers and pizza with a knife and fork.
But we’re burger purists here at ComaBeba.com. We pander to the traditional rules of creating a burger and look with favor on restaurant that plays by the rules.
And Uncle Fletch does just that.
They’ve wandered astray slightly by creating a big tall tower of power burger to appease the Chileans need for burgers that are three times taller than they are wide, and by offering something I’ve only seen at Uncle Fletch, a skewered shiska-burger, which is basically a menagerie of burgers skewered like a pig and served as a ceremonial offering to the burger-worshiping public.
But I never order those gimmicky burgers. I’m perfectly happy with a couple of slices of high-quality cheese, a beef-patty that’s oozing good stuff from its veins, some crisp lettuce, a slice of ripe tomato, a thin slice of a sweet Vidalia onion, and some dill pickles. For variety, or to celebrate someone’s birthday, I might add sautéed mushrooms or do some blue-cheese and caramelized onions. But that’s about as fancy as I will ever get. Because a basic burger in my eyes is a beautiful burger.
The burgers at Uncle Fletch tend to abide by the rules. The burger patty is coarsely ground, well-seasoned, with plenty of fat to keep it juicy. When I tried my first burger at Uncle Fletch, the cheese was melted processed cheese. A bit like you get on nachos at baseball stadium. Since then, however, I’ve been served burgers with real cheddar, Swiss cheese or melting American process slices.
The bun on the Uncle Fletch burger appears to be custom baked, boasting a stately dome on top and lots of sesame seeds.
The “Paris” fries are among the best in the city. A thin cut “skin on” potato slice with the perfect golden color, a creamy center, and a crispy crunch on the outside. My biggest complaint is that the French fries on a couple of visits in both locations were not served piping-hot. Being served tepid food seems to be something that doesn’t bother the locals. But I firmly believe that French fries are better when served hot.
The sauces and garnishes on the Uncle Fletch cheeseburger are generally fresh.
The menu indicates the burger will be served with a side of slaw but as you can see from the photos the little ramekin of cole-slaw barely contained a forkful. What little bit I was able to pull out of the ramekin was a little dry and devoid of taste. Not an impressive slaw by any means.
Service has always been very good. Ambiance is that trendy urban loft look that seems to be all the rage. I’d go back for a beer based solely on the surroundings.
Now even though I’ve pointed a few errors in execution, I've been back to ole Uncle Fletch more than a few times. It’s one of the best, if not the best, burger joint in Santiago.