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As you might know, I have regarded Hillstone‘s cheeseburger and baked potatoes as the best in the city for a long time. But I have a confession. Lately, I have been lying about that.
Something has been wrong and my stomach has been upset after eating the Hillstone burger. I disregarded the first episode of nausea as just being due to my sensitive gut. But tonight was the third time in a year that I have been unable to complete the sandwich.
I asked the manager to go over every ingredient, and we found the culprit. Because this Manhattan location is not allowed to have a true smoker, they place on the bottom bun an artificial smoke sauce. It is more toxic to the stomach than truffle oil.
If you ever ate McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets as a kid, and dipped them in that godawful “barbecue sauce”, or eaten a McRib sandwich, you will know how bad this Hillstone smoke sauce is.
Once I got started with the forensic autopsy, I am pretty sure now that Hillstone even uses sugar in their buns, like McDonald’s.
There is a bigger problem with this restaurant chain, though. Other menu items are down on the level of an Olive Garden.
I also had some California sushi rolls that had stuffed inside what resembled chicken salad. It was a mayonnaise-like sauce with ground up crab. It was also loosely constructed and fell apart when lifting with chop sticks.
My dessert of Apple walnut cobbler was all walnuts, a few apples, all drowned in sticky sugary stuff.
Another problem: the prices are high now too. The cheeseburger is $21.
I asked whether there had been a change in the corporate chef de cuisine and the manager said no. Well, something is wrong.
In summary, I no longer recommend Hillstone to anyone. The best cheeseburger I know of in this city is now at Jeans George Nougatine (seen below).