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Burger Review: Burger Express vs. Coastline Burgers

I’m on a mission to find the best burger in the city of Seattle. I travel to various burger joints within city limits and rate the establishment’s most popular burger on a scale of 1-10. Of all the measures I use, taste is most important.

These are two quality burgers that differ greatly in style and presentation. Burger Express is located in Federal Way and is one of the most requested outside-of-Seattle burger joints for my reviews. Coastline Burgers has two locations: West Seattle and Kirkland. I visited the West Seattle stop. Think of this less as a competition and more as a comparison.

Burger Express

If you’re looking for a burger in Federal Way, you probably won’t find a better spot than Burger Express. It’s right off Pacific Highway, but blink and you’ll drive past it. They’re loaded with 17 burger options, but their best-seller is the bacon cheeseburger.

There’s a lot of crunch with this burger as there isn’t an ingredient involved that isn’t crispy. I loved that. It comes with lettuce, tomato, white onion, pickles bacon, fry sauce, and American cheese. It comes on a sesame seed bun.

The bacon is supplementary and won’t dominate the flavor. I found the sauce to be tangy. The beef patty is thicker-than-thin, asymmetrical, grilled well, and very crispy. It was cooked to medium and charred on the surface. The patty’s flavor was insulated well and contained some juice. The bun did its job in holding everything together, and I didn’t touch the fries until the whole burger was gone.

When you close your eyes and picture what a burger is supposed to look like, you’ll see the bacon cheeseburger from Burger Express. It’s a classic, American-made meal. It’ll cost you $8.50, which includes the fries. Next time, I might ask if it comes cheaper if you leave off a side.

Biggest strength(s): Crispy everything, bacon, classic ingredients, size.

Biggest weakness(s): Could be juicier, bun.

Coastline Burgers

Coastline approaches its burger a bit differently. It’s a burger that reminded me of … wait for it … the coast! Not surprisingly, this burger looks like something that would be served at a beachfront restaurant at Venice or Huntington Beach. It resembles a burger that would be served in the Midwest, or even in the heart of West Seattle.

Although they have an option called “The Coastline,” their most popular burger is the cheeseburger. It’s served with American cheese, ketchup, mustard, house Dijon mayo, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. It comes on a house-made bun which is a ciabatta roll with dusted flour. The whole thing is more of an oval shape. And FYI, the picture on the website does not look like what you’ll receive.

It’s a very pleasant burger that will fulfill your lunch hour hunger. It’s a thinner patty that has just OK flavor. It’s only mildly juicy and not particularly crispy. While I normally advocate for onions, Coastline Burgers probably gets it right in leaving them off. It’s slightly larger than average, and the crisped bun holds it all together. The combination of sauces helps out the flavor a ton.

You’ll spend $5.99 on it and that’s probably a bit of a steal. It’s priced like a cheap, notch-above-fast food burger, but it’s better than that. The fries will cost you an extra $2, but they’re thin cut and delicious. I would recommend adding them.

Biggest strength(s): Bun, sauce.

Biggest weakness(s): Beef patty lacks punch, fairly dry.

Comparison

The problem for Coastline Burgers is it’s in a city that has a hundred options, and what it has now doesn’t make it stand out in a crowd. Federal Way lags behind neighboring cities Auburn and Kent in restaurant variety, so Burger Express is a cut above the rest.

I’ll give the bacon cheeseburger from Burger Express an 8/10. I’ll give the cheeseburger from Coastline Burgers a 7/10.

What do you think of those burgers? Where should I go next? Tweet me @TommAmato on Twitter.

Past reviews: 8 Oz Burger (7.5/10), Little Big Burger (8/10), Uneeda Burger (5/10), Li’l Woody’s (7/10), CaliBurger (6/10), ShakeShack (8/10), Red Robin (7/10), BurgerMaster (4/10), Sam’s Tavern (7.5/10), Great State Burger (6.5/10), Zippy’s Giant Burgers (8/10), Red Mill (7.5/10), Henry’s Tavern (Bellevue) (9/10), Impossible Burger (1/10), Katsu Burger (7.5/10), Rain City Burgers (6/10), BRGR Bar (7/10), Kidd Valley (7/10), Loretta’s Northwesterner 5/10, Scooter’s Burgers (7/10), Burger Express (8/10), Coastline Burgers (7/10).

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