Rare Bar & Grill
For JP’s birthday in late December, the gang met up at Rare Bar & Grill over on Lexington Ave for burgers.
As we waited for the rest of the gang to show up – BF & I were the first to arrive, surprisingly, exactly on time – I decided I wanted a (gin) martini. No, that is not a martini – I browsed the cocktail menu and found a drink called the blood orange cosmo; Absolut Mandarin, cointreau, lime juice and blood orange puree. But I didn’t want vodka, so I politely asked the server if he could switch both alcohols out for Bombay Sapphire (my gin of choice), and he agreed without a fuss. Awesome. Also, it tasted really good.
Once the whole gang was assembled, two orders of the fry tasting baskets were ordered for our table. The bottom of the special serving tray was loaded with sauces: ketchup, chipotle ketchup, garlic aioli, red pepper aioli and a maple syrup dipping sauce.
The top of the tray was filled with sweet potato fries – amazing with the maple dipping sauce! – cottage fries, which were also good, and regular hand cut fries. All pretty tasty, and for $10, not a bad deal.
When I saw fried pickles on the menu, I had to order them. JP and I talked briefly about them, and he asked me, “Well, how can you mess up a fried pickle?” I think he regretted asking me when I answered honestly and went into detail about the many ways to mess them up… In any case, these were not a good example of fried pickle. Though the dipping sauce was tasty enough, the batter on these was quite thick and kind of cake-like – it was sweet, and puffy. Very odd. I wouldn’t order it again.
Another appetizer for the table – a very serviceable spinach & artichoke dip with chips.
Side order of onion rings; another tasty item, though a bit difficult to eat with everything else on the table. Slightly greasy and near impossible to eat more than a few with my burger…
Though we were at a burger joint, BF decided he wanted one of the day’s specials. Chicken pot pie. I said, “But this is a burger place.” He said, “But I want chicken pot pie.” Okay, fine. I also pointed out in vain that I had homemade chicken pot pie at home that I could give him, and he grumbled, then ordered it anyway. I felt vindicated when he ate some and declared that it wasn’t “chicken-y” enough and was really just alright, though he did finish most of his portion.
My burger, the M&M – no clue where the name came from - which is their classic flambeed in whiskey, topped with caramelized shallots, cheddar and apple smoked bacon. Mmm.
Put it all together with a slick of mayo, and here’s the cross section. A damn good burger – I was pleased with the juicy meat, cooked to the proper doneness, and the flavor of everything worked very well together. It was a little on the greasy side, and I eventually had to put it down and eat it with a knife and fork as the buns had disintegrated with all the juices flowing out. Still: very tasty, and I wouldn’t be unhappy if this landed on my plate again.
MM also ordered the M&M burger but insisted that I take a picture of his burger. Actually, I had to hand my camera down the other end of the table for his wife, Spoon, to take this picture. He was just so enthralled with how big it was, that he felt compelled to ask me how to eat it; I responded by taking my own burger – which was the same - and shoving it in my mouth. Yep. I did.
Yvo says: I thought this was a fun place to hang out and grab drinks & burgers with friends, catching up. We were in the back room, so it wasn’t as noisy as it might have been in the front room, but still. It wasn’t cheap, but I thought for the quality of (most of) the items, it was in the right price range. Yum.