The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Can't a girl get a decent burger around here?

We recently visited two new burger joints in Brooklyn. Burger stands seem to be to new restaurants what "wolf" was to indie rock during the past 12-16 months: Wolfmother; Wolf Parade; Wolf Eyes; Peter and the Wolf; etc. Yesterday's lunch was at the Brooklyn Burger Bar in Park Slope, in the space formerly occupied by Bar Minnow, and where they tout hand-made black Angus beef patties. We were hipped to it by the Larrys a couple days ago, although you couldn't miss the garish yellow awning if you tried.

The first sign of trouble was when the waitress took our order without writing it down, a huge pet peeve of ours. I went with a medium burger with bacon and mozzarella, while DMR went with provolone and caramelized onions on the side, cooked to medium as well. She came back a few minutes later to confirm the cheese type and double check whether or not I had ordered bacon. Can readers with wait experience chime in on why there's such an abhorrence to taking a pen to paper, especially in a casual restaurant setting? Our burgers arrived on plate with a mound of shoestring fries (though special house fries are offered on the menu, they were inexplicably unavailable on this day), lettuce, a slice of tomato, a thin ring of red onions and a new pickle wedge. When our server asked if we needed anything else, I answered with black pepper, mayo, mustard, a couple place settings, oh and the top bun for DMR's burger!
I was appalled. I don't think Dan nor the server noticed and when I pointed this out, she in all seriousness asked Dan to check under the lettuce leaf! I wasn't sure whether to bang my head on the table or burst out laughing. I wish the missing brioche half was the only shortcoming of the day. Despite the burgers looking solid appearance-wise, there's not much else positive to report.
The fries were cold and a bit too oily. The burger was void of flavor and juiciness. The caramelized onions had been reduced to a sickly sweet jam, so off-putting I had to scrape it off my burger. When our bill arrived, we noticed we were charged $4 for a glass of fountain root beer. GTLO! We were trying to think of an explanation for this exorbitant charge. Perhaps there were free refills, although the menu doesn't note that (or the price). We needed an explanation and what we were told was that the root beer served used to be the more premium bottled Abita. Used to? Meaning when the Brooklyn Burger Bar was Bar Minnow, a completely different restaurant? So they just haven't gotten around to reconfiguring Ordertron 2000? DMR and I both got the impression that we weren't first customers to point out this price gouging. Why don't they just charge $20 for a burger and hope that most people won't say anything or won't even notice. Oh, and where does a restaurant get the nerve to not give back coin change? It's one thing if you get shorted a penny or two (although I still find that to be really arrogant and aggravating - if you don't want to deal with unrounded numbers, alter your prices to include tax and even it off), but seriously, where was my 27 cents today? I wish Bonnie's was open for lunch.

On the flip side, we are going to give 67 Burger a second shot even though the CLC, DMR and I weren't blown away on the first try. There were some problems with the food preparation and overrall flow of the place but also a couple of little quirks and glimpses of greatness they can build on. I was a big fan of 67 Burger's fountain beverage choices. On tap were RC Cola, Diet Rite, Bosco Chocolate Soda and Stewart's Root Beer. The $1.95 price includes a free refill, possibly even refills, because the drinks were casually filled and never to the top. The french fries, when not sitting on the counter, waiting to be delivered to your table, were piping hot and delicious. Unfortunately, one of our orders of fries had the misfortune to sit out too long and lost its crispiness. All three of our burgers were way overdone. The CLC had ordered hers medium rare, while DMR and I went with our usual medium doneness. Only my burger showed any hint of pink. The outsides were charred and hard as a rock, as were the buns (note the bottom right of the plate). The insides though surprisingly remained somewhat juicy, which combined with the sauteed mushrooms and onions, aided in the disintegration of the bottom bun.
These guys should really ditch the table service. It doesn't make any sense at any time, but especially when there's a crowd, as was the case when we ate here. You order at the register, so why then sit around and wait for someone to deliver your food? Was I supposed to wait for a server to come around to ask for a drink refill or was it kosher that I turned around, stood up and took the three steps to the counter to ask for one? Service issues aside, our pal Balgavy was shocked upon hearing of our not too stellar experience, as he's had a number of perfectly cooked rare burgers here. That gives us hope.

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Blogger China-Latina Chowhound said...

I am very serious about the doneness of my meat, so I was rather dismayed when my medium rare burger arrived completely cooked through, browner than brown in the center, not a hint of pink, let alone RED, which is what one should see when eating a piece of medium rare meat. Sorry for the run-on! But alas, I trust Balgavy on the burger front, so I'll definitely give 67 Burger another shot. And I do love free refills...

December 28, 2006 3:46 PM  
Anonymous marc b. said...

I picked up a medium rare burger to go (@ 67 Burger) after I heard about your over-doneness visit. It lived up to my previous experiences and was perfectly medium rare - and super delicious.

In an ideal world the burgers would always be perfect, but try stopping by around 8:30pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. And don't forget to try both the regular and curly fries!

December 28, 2006 6:15 PM  
Blogger surewhynot said...

Couple of questions:

Dan's measly half bun looks kind of biscuit-ish, while yours looks more And, is that fresh, Russo's-style mozzarella nestled under the (lone) bacon strip? As opposed to pizza-style mozzarella? Fascinating. Bar Minnow was kind of annoying, hopefully this is an improvement.

Also: I ate at 67 B tonight and was pretty pleased. My medium burger was cooked perfectly, and the bun was just dandy. The sweet potato fries were delicious. Onion rings were fine. But yeah, they need to decide if they're going to offer counter or table service.

p.s. those Santa strawberries are ridiculously adorable

December 28, 2006 11:14 PM  
Blogger youthlarge said...

hah, it does look like a biscuit bottom. both were on brioche.

it was indeed fresh mozzarella, so let's give them a point for that. i believe they also offered smoked mozzarella. also, there were two big strips of bacon but i gave one to DMR (in exchange for some of his onion jam).

you and marc further my belief that we just caught 67B during a bad stretch.

December 29, 2006 9:36 AM  
Blogger China-Latina Chowhound said...

We went to 67B on a Sunday afternoon around 2:00p - peak weekend brunch/lunch time. I'm definitely interested in stopping by on a quiet weeknight to see what's what. Marc B. already had me convinced and SWN was just the icing on the cake!

December 29, 2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Amy F said...

sujan, ya gotta try the beer milkshake at 67. delish!

January 03, 2007 3:01 PM  
Blogger Rog said...

If you want to venture further South into Windsor Terrace, I heartily recommend Rhythm and Booze. Despite the unfortunate pun-induced name, the burgers are very good - juicy and cooked to your specs.

February 20, 2007 12:20 PM  

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