Monday, September 27, 2010

Urban Burger Bar

A group of friends and I decided to partake in a restaurant that seemed a good example of the new food fad, burger bars. Subtly good service was an important distinguishing feature of this particular establishment. As soon as we walked in with the group of five for a table for four, the maĆ®tre d’ was right behind us with that fifth chair and a menu. We didn’t even have to wait to be seated. When traveling with a five person group such as I was, an important feature of the restaurant, more for the other patrons than us, was the spacing of the tables. The arrangement provided enough of a gap that other restaurant goers did not feel like our party was shouting in their ear; though I’m sure they still caught wind of our more boisterous jokes.

When it came time to open the menu, or in this case, look down at the single page I was confronted with a wide range of burger topping options, which mostly consisted of the form patty, cheese, other, supplemental meat. Other could be an onion jam, an egg, an avocado or a similar culinary flourish. Supplemental meat could be from bacon to bologna, and mostly consisted of types of pork. Cheese is pretty self explanatory. While perusing the menu something caught my eye that I knew we had to order for the table: fried pickles. The pickles were sliced into board shapes, fried in bread crumbs, and accompanied by the house “Urban” sauce (reddish mayonnaise). It tasted pretty much like what one would expect, with the bread crumbs serving as a nice compliment to the soft pickle.

When the burgers came I was happy to have negotiated to make a swap with one of my dinner companions so that we could both try two halves of two different burgers, though the diversity stopped there as we both ordered sweet potato fries, rather than regular. One burger was served with mozzarella, prosciutto and an egg, while the other was served with brie and onion jam. The prosciutto added a nice saltiness to that burger, while the onion jam added a nice sweetness to the other. The flavor of neither cheese was particularly pronounced, though that should have been predicted by the cheese selection itself. The burger patty was fine, though not extraordinary, which is something that I wish I could say for the bun. Since this particular bun was not very toasted, did not have a noticeable crust, and was not adorned by seeds of any kind it provided a fairly bland base with a mediocre texture. The burgers were good, though the bun really kept them from being excellent.

The fries were of the soft variety and not overly salted, as is a common pitfall in a bar scenario. Along with the fries though, we were given a “sauce flight” consisting of several sauce options in small metal bowls all on one plate in the center of the table. It was a very interesting thing that I had not seen at another venue, though not particularly daring considering the makeup of the sauces. It is my belief that pretty much every cold sauce is made, in at least some part, of mayonnaise. This plate was no exception, so the sauces really ran the gamut from red mayonnaise, to white mayonnaise, to green mayonnaise. Each one offering a slightly different flavor, but a flavor similar enough that after first tasting it really wasn’t worth stretching the fry an extra six inches across the table to dip it in a different sauce.

After the meal we were debating whether to go for the traditional burger accompaniment, the milkshake. After a few jokes about three ways (referring of course to the chocolate three way shake on the menu) we placed our orders. I opted for the malted milk ball madness, mostly because I like alliteration that much (as you may have guessed from reading the rest of this). The shake was topped with a nice cream with milk ball accents, but when you got past the initial layer it was really just a good, but classic chocolate shake. While I would not recommend particularly traveling or going out of your way to stop into this burger bar over many others, if you happen to find yourself hungry nearby you should stop in.

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