“Forgiving the gimmick” – Review of Bare Burger
BY HOLLY HAGAN
When an organic burger joint opened in my neighborhood, I was skeptical. It seemed gimmicky, so I avoided BareBurger as long as I could. Every time I walked by, it was hopping, so I shelved my suspicion and sampled my first all natural burger.
BareBurger sits on a corner of a quiet, leafy stretch of Astoria that is dotted with cafes, bistros and boutiques. The floor-to-ceiling windows open onto the sidewalk, and we snagged the last petrified wood-topped table.
Our server came over and asked if this was our first time to BareBurger. We nodded that, yes, it was. She launched into an awkward speech. I figured it would be about the burgers, but instead she told us how everything in the restaurant was recycled or organic. The floors are made of bamboo, the tabletops are from trees destroyed in hurricanes, and the to-go containers are made from corn and sugar cane fibers.
“We don’t use any products or materials that hurt the environment,” she said. “Like our menus are printed on recycled paper.”
I nodded encouragingly. I was starving, and I wanted her to hand me an environmentally friendly menu.
The BareBurger menu consists of nine burgers with your choice of nine different meats and four different buns. It could have been overwhelming, but thankfully, each burger came with a patty recommendation. Our server mentioned that the ostrich was her favorite. It was similar to beef and very flavorful, but lower in fat and cholesterol than beef.
I ordered the ostrich in the Big Blue Bacon Mushroom Onion burger ($11.95) and a basket of fresh cut French fries that came with three dipping sauces: curry ketchup, chipotle mayo and BareBurger special sauce ($4.95).
BareBurger is alcohol-free at this time. I don’t know if this will change, but their logo is a bear on a bicycle with a burger in one paw and what looks like a mug of beer in the other, so I think it will. Instead, they have gluten-, sodium- and caffeine-free sodas and organic milkshakes with your standard vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but also peanut butter, peanut butter chocolate, raspberry and pistachio. The pistachio almost let me forgive them for not having beer.
The burger was stacked high with toppings, mostly sautéed mushrooms, but the meat was tasty with a creamy, soft blue cheese and thinly sliced caramelized onion. The fresh baked brioche made it difficult to take a bite, but I tore into it. The only thing missing were the fries. I was about halfway through my burger when I got the server’s attention.
She said she was sorry, but it was a preoccupied apology. She went to the kitchen and returned without them.
“They’ll be ready soon.”
Another few minutes passed by, and I thought about canceling the order. I was almost done with the burger and felt ready to pop, but then they arrived.
I managed a few fries, and decided to take the rest home to become soggy and limp in my refrigerator. The snafu was minor, and the food made me forgive the gimmick.