Friday, January 15, 2016

First Look at Burger Eatery

After more than a year in development, Burger Eatery opened at 238 1st Street in late December. I normally wait more than few weeks before reviewing a restaurant so they have time to actually settle in, but in the meantime, here's the first look:

The first important thing to note is that they're still hiring and definitely still in training so not all the kinks have been worked out. That said, I was pretty impressed with their speed and efficiency. The space is relatively small, but with more counter seating that I'd anticipated although I don't recommend going with a crowd. Call-in orders are accepted and their hours are currently 11am-10pm Tuesday through Saturday and 11am-9pm Sunday and Monday.

So what about the food?
Burger Eatery has stated that they use Pat LaFrieda hormone and antibiotic-free meat and they do offer some vegetarian and non-beef items. They make smashed burgers cooked on a flat top grill in a classic single and double style and have a selection of specialty burgers with gourmet toppings. They offer up lettuce (mixed greens, not iceburg), tomato, onion, and pickles free of charge (cheddar and American cheese are also free) and have other toppings - carmelized onions, an egg, pancetta, sauces, etc. for charges ranging from .50 - $1. They're generous with their toppings but don't overwhelm the admittedly thin patty although I did run into some layering issues. One major positive of the standard toppings was that the onions were very thinly and delicately sliced so you get just a slight sharp hint of flavor without spending the day knocking everyone over with your onion breath.

                                                    (the Lady Liberty portobello burger)

I did manage to try several burgers - two beef, two vegetarian and was relatively happy with all of them. My favorite actually ended up being the Lady Liberty (red wine glazed portobello cap, gruyere, crispy shallots, arugula and garlic herb aioli) which had a nice depth of flavor in the portobello cap although the crispy shallots were sort of a waste. The Indian spiced veggie burger was also tasty and heavily spiced but the toppings could be improved - instead of dill pickles, something like pickled onions would be ideal. The two beef burgers I tried were both pretty good although I'd like to see what they're like in a month or so because I think with time and experience they'll be a lot better. They were well-seasoned and surprisingly juicy for being smashed, but very very thin and it was almost like they got steamed, creating sort of a crumbly texture as I was eating.
(Little India veggie burger with chipotle tahini)
(Erie St. Burger with pancetta, brie, and fig jam)
(Classic single with cheddar & house B.E. sauce)
Prices range in the$7-$10 range mostly which doesn't strike me as unreasonable considering the variety and quality of ingredients, but there is the argument that you're not getting a lot of meat for your money. I think the value can be more easily established down the line once they're all set-up and have gone through the first several weeks of trial and error.

As a quick note on the fries, I'm pretty sure they come pre-cut and frozen which is a little disappointing but not surprising given the limited prep space and is also on-par with most quick/smashed burger joints. I'd probably skip the pecorino truffle fries and just opt for naked. The grated pecorino created a strange grainy texture and the truffle flavor got lost in the mix, but the fries themselves were very good and nicely cooked, crispy outside and soft on the inside. Happily, the sweet potato fries with cinnamon weren't as sweet as I'd feared, but were a bit mushy and I would hesitate to call them a must have right now.
It's great to see Burger Eatery doing a different style of burgers than most other places around town. They have a lot of promise and I look forward to seeing how they develop over the next month or so.

3 comments:

  1. LOL @ it taking a "year in development" to open up a burgers and fry place.

    JC is the absolute worst city in America to open a restaurant.

    And Im shocked to see what kinks and issues a place can experience serving french fries and ground beef.

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  2. I had the mahi sandwich on Saturday and though it was delish! The fish was cooked nicely and the slaw was balanced. We liked the pecorino truffle fries too, and ate $3.50/pop, they're a good value. Overall, a very welcome addition to the neighborhood!

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  3. I had the mahi sandwich on Saturday and though it was delish! The fish was cooked nicely and the slaw was balanced. We liked the pecorino truffle fries too, and ate $3.50/pop, they're a good value. Overall, a very welcome addition to the neighborhood!

    ReplyDelete