Thursday, June 2, 2011
First Thoughts On BGR The Burger Joint
BGR The Burger Joint opened last month in Columbia, and it's a variation on the limited menu and counter service that has done so well for Five Guys, Elevation Burger and other small chains.
BGR's niche is quality. Burgers are made to order. They come in variations like lamb and tuna. They serve sides like sweet potato fries and grilled asparagus. It intends to sell good, unique food, which always attracts me in world where people could just open another Subway.
But it's hard to focus on the food when you paid more than $4.50 for six onion rings.
I'm trying to remember that BGR opened just a few weeks ago, and we may have walked in during the dinner rush. But we paid almost $30 for two burgers, two sides, and one drink. We also waited more than 20 minutes. So I just couldn't help noticing that my "Cuban" burger had been cooked too far, then left to cool.
I'd ordered it medium. The cashier had nodded. I'd ordered onion rings. They came huge -- two inches thick and fried with a thick crust. Mrs. HowChow went with the regular burger and sweet potato fries.
I noticed that my burger came wrapped even while the other "eat in" orders sat on platters. Now, I assume mine was done too early. When I sat down, I went straight for her fries. That's delicious with all the fun of regular fries and an interesting flavor too. The onion rings were sweet inside with a good crunch. Then I went for the burger.
Look, BGR's results are clearly mixed. Comments on my prior post have gone up and down. Brent the Brewer ranks it his #4 burger in the county. But both of our burgers were overcooked. It's a nice bun, a special piece of bread. The pork and other toppings were neat. And we were enjoying ourselves in the sunset, alternating between the burgers and the fries.
It was just distracting to think this was a restaurant-size bill -- without the restaurant kitchen paying attention to the meal that I bought. Afterwards, I realized it would have been different at a full service place. A waitress would have asked how everything had been. I would have pointed out the medium burger was cooked all the way.
Instead, we ate. Fine night. We had fun with the special Coke machine. We watched folks eating frozen yogurt at the Tutti Fruitti next door. We ate most of the burgers. I thought that I might try the Wellington on another visit, definitely eat more sweet potato fries. But eventually, I put the burger down.
My next burger out has to be at Victoria Gastro Pub: a burger, beers and a night on the patio. If I'm right, Victoria's burgers and fries cost about the same as BGR.
BGR The Burger Joint
6250 Columbia Crossing Circle, Suite D
Columbia, MD 21045