When you arrive at Rocket Burger and Subs, you'll probably wonder whether you have the right place. But as the saying goes, "It's not about the beauty on the outside, it's about how good it is on the inside."
Located in a run-down strip mall on the southwest corner of 35th Avenue and Cactus, Rocket Burger is one of a handful of destination-worthy spots in the West Valley. Mostly known for its wide selection of soda, the place does a pretty good job preparing its namesake as well.
Faced with 14 different types of burgers, I had a difficult time choosing which one to sample. But after the clerk told me, "By far, the New York Burger is the best," my decision was made.
The New York Burger does it deli-style -- putting with pastrami, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and special Rocket sauce on a burger.
The Patty: 6.5 After sitting down for only a few minutes, the double-decker burger came sizzling out of the kitchen. Yes, two patties. Unfortunately, I didn't have the cojones to tackle the burger Rocket style, which is three patties on a 12-inch sub roll. (Next time, my friends, next time.) Still, the two tender 100 percent Angus beef patties were more than enough, as they were prepared and seasoned well. But even with two patties, the burger's toppings overshadowed the patties' taste, which probably says more about the toppings than the actual burger.
The Toppings: 8 As if two patties weren't enough, Rocket Burger piles on a hot and juicy mound of pastrami. Spiced with just the right amount of pepper, it is almost as though Rocket Burger is serving a pastrami sandwich with burgers, rather than the other way around. On top of the fatty pastrami was a slice of melted Swiss cheese. And heaped on top of that: the creamy deli coleslaw, which mixes with Rocket sauce, Rocket Burger's version of Russian dressing, to give the burger that extra taste of New York. Make sure you have plenty of napkins on hand, as the burger overflows with sauces.
The Bun: 7 Somehow, Rocket Burger fit all the elements of a pastrami sandwich on this white roll-like bun. Surprisingly, the bun held up pretty well. With the overload of sauces, I expected the bun to become an inedible pile of mush, but I was proved wrong: The bun kept the burger together quite well. Baked that day at Riccobono's Itallian Bakery in Chandler, the bun (along with my tight grip) managed to at least control the excess dressings.
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The Side: 9 Sure, the burger was good, but the onion rings are where Rocket Burger really shines. Most places will deep-fry their onion rings in a heavy batter, but not Rocket Burger. The onion rings are slathered in corn meal before going in the deep fryer and are much better for it. The soft, tender cornmeal coating surrounds the onion, making these sweet onions far better than others I've tried.
The Price: 7.5 Rocket Burger provides great value. It's a little more than $10 plus tax for the New York Burger and onion rings, but for the sheer size of the burger and the deliciousness of the onion rings, I am just hoping they won't raise their prices.
Overall: 7.6 Rocket Burger knows how to make a burger. The New York Burger is a reasonably priced meat-love's dream, but even without the burger, the onion rings alone are worth a visit.