brgr: The Rtrn
Do restaurants put on a show for those who will write about them, only to fall back to mediocrity the rest of the time? There’s one way to find out.
I attended the opening of this location a few months ago, and being in the area at dinner time, it was high time I wandered back to try again, this time paying my own way, with the help of a $10 gift card received at that opening.
I arrived a bit past normal dinner hours, so I had much of the main bench to myself. A few patrons in ones and twos were scattered to my right and along the bar facing me, across the grass-screened tiles. As you might recall from my first post on brgr, the restaurant prides itself on serving grass-fed beef, both for taste and nutritional reasons, and its friendliness to the environment.
I was greeted by the same menus as before, only this time I placed a big order: a Fresh Morning Brgr, the Trio of fried goods, and a blueberry-pomegranate milkshake. Taking my number to my table, I awaited delivery of the goods.
Everything arrived in less than ten minutes, which is pretty standard for places cooking burgers to order. Like any good fried-food glutton, I wanted to attack the Trio first: regular potato fries, sweet potato fries, and “onion hay”: lightly-battered, deep-fried red onions.
Needless to say, I’d eaten a bit of each before the pictures were completed. The onion hay is the standout here. Just enough flavor from the batter, but the onions retain a little crunch on their own and a bit of sharpness. Of course they’re greasy. The sweet potato fries are better than average as well, with a crispness on the outer part yielding to a soft, but hot, interior. These are also salted well. The only clunker came from the basic fries, which were stiff and tough to bite through, like they were overcooked except that the color didn’t give that away.
What of the Fresh Morning Brgr? How could a
burger brgr with (in order top to bottom) thousand island dressing, lettuce, tomato, grilled onions, grass-fed burger brgr (okay, I’ll stop) patty cooked medium-rare, American cheese, and a fried egg, on a whole wheat bun, be anything but good?
Answer: of course it was good. While, again, the patty lost most of its flavor in the jumble of other flavors, it was very juicy and retained enough savory and salty to improve the sea of toppings otherwise overwhelming it. I’m a fan of egg on burger action, and so even though it was stuck under the patty away from all the other stuff, I succeeded in getting a bite of yolk nearly every time through. The onions disappeared and the bun was dry and a little on the stale side, as if it had been out for a few hours, but it soaked up the meat juices for me. Perhaps I’ll try using an English muffin next time.
The milkshake, sixteen ounces of ice creamy goodness, was a big ol’ blueberry bomb. No bitterness from the pomegranate. None. Just blueberries, and vanilla ice cream, a big chunk of which survived the milkshaking process. The straw, strangely, was the only problem here, as it was one of those compostable straws — go green! — and didn’t much work that well. And what use is a milkshake…
… without fries to dunk in it? Blueberries plus sweet potatoes equaled a big win.
I recommend brgr simply because there’s real care put into the meal. It’s better-quality beef, the toppings are solid, and the sides are very good and a step up from the usual burger joint. Now, the problem? The burger was $8, and was scarcely larger than a regular-size burger — think Shackburger or In-N-Out single size. With all the stuff on it, I think it makes its case. The Trio runs $4.50 where the regular individuals go $2.50-$3.50, but it’s easily enough for two to share. The milkshakes cost $5.50 at this size; it’s not a stupendous milkshake, so you can always save a few dollars by drinking fountain soda or lemonade, or even a bottle of beer.
I paid a shade under $20 for this meal — minus the $10 gift card I received at the opening I attended, $9.60 came from my pocket — and I left stuffed. I’m relieved, I suppose, that while I was treated well on the opening, the food quality hasn’t dropped off. Even the employees were still perky and helpful. It can’t be a regular hangout for me, but once in a while, when I want fresh, interesting flavors accompanying my cheeseburger? I’ll drop by without worry.