Monday, March 7, 2011

Proof that creating the perfect burger is, in fact, an art form.

Last weekend, a couple of my friends went to Atlanta and ended up having dinner at Flip Burger Boutique.  As an avid Top Chef and Richard Blais fan, I asked my friends if they wouldn't mind writing about their trip so I could post it here.  Both big food fans, they eagerly complied.  Thanks to A & S for documenting your trip!

I never miss an opportunity to eat great food. So when my girlfriend wanted to go on a weekend trip to the ATL, obviously my first thought was “Where will we eat?!” 

This is where we decided to go.
In Atlanta, the culinary options are endless. A quick google of “Atlanta restaurant” yields about 25.5 MILLION pages. To say I was quickly overwhelmed is an understatement. In order to narrow down the field I started with one of my favorite chefs from Top Chef, Richard Blais. I soon found that his restaurant, Flip Burger Boutique, is “first come, first serve.” I knew I was in luck. I hadn’t planned ahead enough to score a reservation, and I am stubborn enough to stand in line for half the day to get a table. And the menu at Flip Burger is solidly in my wheel house. Hamburgers and milkshakes? Deal.

The bar was packed when we arrived at 7:30 p.m. on a Sunday. However, it wasn’t packed with the kind of people I anticipated. Somewhere in my mind, I imagined that the restaurant would be full of trendy young professionals and foodies eagerly anticipating the night’s meal. I found these people sipping martinis at the bar, but I also found 10 year olds playing Nintendo DS in the corner while waiting on dinner with the family. Not yuppie 10 year olds in madras jackets; 10 year olds in cleats straight from soccer practice. I soon discovered that Flip Burger is more akin to a loved local burger joint. Well, a famous local burger joint. 

See the orange juice on top?
We started by having a drink at the bar. My lady had her eye on a martini that looked like something you’d serve at a Halloween party. I’m still not sure what was in it, but the liquid N2 made cold smoke billow over the side. I’m not going to lie: it looked pretty cool. She settled on an orange martini off the specialty drink menu. The martini didn’t come with smoke billowing off the rim, like we expected. But it have tiny bits of was appeared to be frozen orange juice peppered across the top.I ordered the specialty Manhattan. Both drinks were very good.

The bar area - like a modern take on a lunch counter.
I’m not sure what I expected to see from the dining room, but when we entered it I immediately thought of Richard Blais. The predominate color was white – white ceilings, white walls, white tables, and white chairs. Color came to the room like a great sauce, with lots of interest packed into small portions. Red carpet and design inserts add a colorful spin on an otherwise clean and modern atmosphere.
Accents in the dining room

The menu had a ton of burger options. Each one sounded delicious. While I tried to decide on my entre, I ordered some of the fried pickles as an appetizer. I was glad to see they were hand-cut fresh pickles. The cucumber flavor was refreshing, and the vinegar pickling spices were light. They were finished with fresh dill on top. Worth ordering every time. That is, if they are still on the menu when you go! 
Fried pickles with buttermilk ranch

I didn’t anticipate the menu being a la carte. But this didn’t bother me. I saw it as an opportunity to try new things. I was confident that any of the traditional beef burgers would be outstanding. So I chose the lamb burger (listed as the gyro burger on the online menu). It was made of lamb, and served with a tzatziki sauce and fresh pickled cucumbers and red onions. The red onions were particularly refreshing, and they helped cut through the fatty, yummy lamb juices. I was torn between adding the onion rings and the fries. Melanie, our spectacular waitress, had an excellent point. The fries are prepared with duck fat. That pretty much sealed the deal for me. Duck-fat-fries. Be jealous. I also added a bottle of Mexican Coke. I’m happy to report that I spied glass bottles of Cheerwine chilling behind the bar. How many other restaurants do you know that offer bottled Mexican Coke and Cheerwine?

Lamb (gyro) burger with tzatziki sauce
My date ordered the turkey burger. Yes, I know that we could debate for hours whether or not turkey can be made into a legitimate burger. However, let me assure you that it can. At least in the masterful hands of Flip Burger. The meat was juicy and flavorful, and the avocado, sprouts, and pomegranate ketchup pulled the burger together. I’m not a fan of turkey burgers, but I’d order Flip Burger’s version again. 

Turkey burger.  Look at all of those sprouts!

We ended the meal with dessert. I opted for the Krispy Kreme milkshake. This was a collision of two of my most favorite sweets. I wasn’t sure how they’d pull off this devilish infusion. You can’t just throw doughnuts in a blender, or you’ll get a gooey mess. I assume they freeze the doughnuts in N2 and then shatter them into tiny pieces. When you enjoy the shake, you get little pieces of Krispy-Kreme. It was all that I hoped it could be. My girlfriend is a chocoholic. In her world you can’t have dessert unless it involves chocolate. She went for the Nutella and burnt marshmallow shake. It tasted a little like a campfire smore, and it was very good. 

Krispy Kreme milkshake on the left and the Nutella & Burnt Marshmallow shake on the right

We had a fantastic night at Flip Burger. Everything we ate was great, and the entire dining experience was enjoyable. If I lived closer than 220 miles, I would eat at Flip Burger three times a week. And I’d enjoy that habit for the rest of my life.

Final Rating

You can find Flip Burger Boutique on Facebook, Twitter, or on the web

FLIP Burger Boutique on Urbanspoon

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