With the nausea gone and my appetite back, I figured what better way to celebrate my recovery from food poisoning than with gourmet burgers, pickles, two types of fries, and dessert. Yep, I was right back on the bike today, riding into one of the newest additions to the West 4th restaurant scene: Romer’s Burger Bar. I’d heard great things from Special Features Producer and Future Tokyo Culinary Wingman Ivon Bartok, and I trust this guy. Not with my life, mind you, or any sort of financial investment, but certainly as far as lunch goes.
So, today, I met up with my friend Denise and we checked the place out. Now, given its recent opening, I’m sure Romer’s will be making some minor adjustments to the menu in the weeks ahead as they fine tune some of the offerings and, oh yeah, add some conspicuous-by-their-absence items to the line-up – mainly, milkshakes. I know, I know. What goes better than burger and beer? Well, if you’re under drinking age (which I’d wager a lot of the clientele at a burger joint is), don’t drink, or happen to be recovering from a case of food poisoning and don’t want to chance it, I’d say milkshakes would be the ready answer. Alas, no shakes on this menu which I found passing strange. And, according to fellow diners, I wasn’t alone. I settled for a nice cold bottle of San Pellegrino.
We split two burgers – The Magic Mushroom (all natural beef patty, locally-grown portabella mushrooms, arugula, herb and garlic Boursin cheese, and caramelized onions) and The Ultimate Kobe Classic (premium Kobe beef, foie gras pate, chanterelle mushrooms, onion strings, truffle mayo, and garlic mustard with a red wine demi-glaze on the side) – spicy Kosher dills, yam fries, and hand-cut double-cooked fries with truffle oil and Reggiano.
The buns were perfect – buttery, lightly toasted brioche with just a hint of sweetness. The Magic Mushroom was one damn tasty burger, nicely complimented by the cheese, mushrooms, and onions. The Kobe Classic, on the other hand, was a bit of a disappointment. Although Kobe beef tends to be a more forgiving meat, even it isn’t immune to an over lengthy stay on the grill. The patty was dry and measured up poorly against the juicier all-beef patty of the Magic Mushroom burger at half the price. Instead of topping their patty with pan-seared foie, Romer’s offers up a modest pate that ultimately ended up lost amid the other additions. Speaking of which – although the menu made mention of a red win demi-glaze being served on the side, my plate contained nothing but the burger. It was also missing the promised garlic olives and pepperoncinis (Denise was kind enough to offer me a bite of hers).
The hand-cut double-cooked fries with the truffle oil and Reggiano were so good and so plentiful, I kept eating them long after I should have stopped. The yam fries were also very good.
I didn’t want to push it, so I decided to go with two instead of the usual three desserts: apple pie a la mode and the home made mini doughnuts served with three dipping sauces. The pie was great, crowned with a scoop of (unfortunately not home made) ice cream. It was also served with a side of mascarpone cheese which, while offering an interesting textural combo, didn’t really add anything in terms of taste. Had it been lightly whipped and slightly, I would have been all over it. The mini doughnuts were perfect – ten in all, sweet and crispy – served with a trio of sauces: chocolate, maple-whiskey, and a limoncello that seemed out of place, delivering a mouth-puckering contrast to its much sweeter neighbors.
Overall, a promising start for the new kid on the block. With some fourteen different burger variations on the menu, I’m already planning my return visit.
Hey, speaking as a writer-producer of SF television, I know how tough it is to imagine future trends. Ask yourself: What will fashion look like fifty years from now? Or cars? Or, uh, dancing? Well, in the case of the latter, I’m sure it’ll look nothing like this…