Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bummer at The Burg

Build Your Own Burger Menu
We decided to check out The Burg located in the now defunct 104 St Grill space on the corner of 104 Street and 102 Avenue. Unlike the previous tenants, 104 St Grill, who had moved into the old Ric’s Grill space and seemed to have done little to change and make the space their own, The Burg had transformed the space! What was once a dimly lit and dated room filled with dark woods and booths was now a large, open and bright restaurant! Gone were the majority of the booths, replaced with light coloured bar height tables and chairs. They had significantly increased the amount of light in the room with natural light streaming through windows along all of the exterior walls. Without all the booths in the middle of the restaurant, the light was able to permeate throughout the large space. The lighter floors, walls and furnishings were a stark contrast from how the space looked before, which made it look modern and inviting.

Vanilla Bourbon Gelato Shake with Kahlua
We settled into a booth with our friend, @BeckiPeter, and ordered drinks including beer, a vanilla bourbon gelato shake made with a shot of Kahlua and a salted caramel gelato shake for the male human. Although the shot of liquor was an additional $3.25, a fairly hefty price addition, I thought we would give it a shot since they sounded delicious as they were made with Fiasco Gelato instead of the traditional ice cream. We ordered potato chips to start, which were house made, fried to order and available in a variety of seasoning.

@BeckiPeter opted for a Build Your Own Burger with a vegan patty on a prairie seed bun, while the female human also chose the Build Your Own Burger route, opting for an 8 oz feeb patty made with certified Angus feeb and seasoned with their own spice blend, on an onion bun, with chipotle mayo, lettuce, caramelized onions, Rockfort cheese and house cured bacon. The male human decided to go with their burger combo which consisted of a 6 oz CAB ground chuck patty on a brioche bun with your typical burger toppings such as lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles, along with their signature Burg sauce and a choice of side. Although their regular sides consisted only of fries, potato chips and devilled eggs, he asked if he could get yam fries instead, which were listed as premium sides. Our server wasn’t sure and had to ask the kitchen, as another table had asked the exact same question, but she never did come back to let us know what the answer was.

BYOB w Chipotle Mayo, Lettuce,
Caramelized Onions, Bacon and
Rockfort Cheese
The beer arrived swiftly but it was a much longer wait for the gelato shakes, with no mention from our server when they might arrive even after delivering the beer, and coming back significantly later after we ordered to ask @BeckiPeter and the female human if they wanted a side with their Build Your Own Burger. Some confusion might have occurred here as neither wanted a side, mentioning that they had ordered potato chips and that would be more than enough food for them. I have a sneaking suspicion that this prompted our server to think that instead of bringing the potato chips out as an appetizer like we had all hoped for, that we wanted it with our burgers as a side, as we wound up receiving all the food at once.

Although the gelato shakes were slow to appear, the wait was worth it. Although the milkshake glass was already full, they also brought out the metal shake container which contained enough gelato shake to fill the glass a second time. The bourbon vanilla with Kalhua had childhood nostalgia about it, with a grown up twist with the addition of alcohol. It was smooth and creamy without being overly thing. Meanwhile the salted caramel had a distinctly salty taste to it without being overwhelming, and the caramel had just the right hint of sweetness to it.

BYOB w Chipotle Mayo, Lettuce,
Caramelized Onions, Bacon and
Rockfort Cheese
Knowing that they had only been opened for just over a week, I knew that there would likely be a lot of things The Burg would have to work out over time. In the past I’ve found that newly opened restaurants generally have issues with service, timing, and The Burg was no exception. It was pretty clear as our meal progressed that our server was inexperienced and that the kitchen was still working on their timing as it took quite a long time to get our meal. The one thing I hadn’t counted on however was for their feature product - the burger - the one item that their entire restaurant concept was built around would be disappointing, in particular, the patty.

The server had explained when we ordered that the feeb patty should be a bit pink in the middle however, neither of the feeb patties we got were pink, they were both overcook, dry and devoid of seasoning. The male humans toppings and sauce didn’t add any additional flavor to the burger and they did wind up providing him with yam fries. However, the yam fries were visibly burnt and upon tasting, they lacked the sweetness that yam fries normally have. Despite the fact that they were burnt and should have been crispy as a result, they were soggy and lacked seasoning.

Potato Chips
The female humans burger toppings actually helped a great deal, with the chipotle mayo adding quite a bit of heat and flavor to the bland patty, balanced by the sweetness of the caramelized onions and the pungent Rockfort cheese. However, the house-cured bacon was very chewy and looked more like pork belly than bacon. The vegan burger was probably the worst of the three though. The patty was apparently made of chickpea, barley, oats and gluten free flour but had a pasty texture and was devoid of flavor. The potato chips might have redeemed the meal had they been tossed in salt as they were light and crispy, however when they said plain they really meant plain, sans seasoning.

Burger Combo with Yam Fries
It’s clear that The Burg needs to spend a bit more time working with their servers to teach them how to be servers. During our visit, there was a lot of utensil and plate dropping that happened behind us. As well, simple tasks such as stocking the condiment candy with utensils and napkins between diners had not been done and wound up being done at an awkward time during our visit. We had to ask for both when our server delivered our food and asked if there was anything else she could get us. Then another server came to stock our condiment caddy with utensils and napkins the moment @BeckiPeter got up from her side of the booth to use the washroom. The server climbed into @BeckiPeter's side of the booth just opposite of us, with us still seated, to reach the condiment caddy. That’s certainly something that could’ve waited until after we had paid our bill and vacated the booth, since they would’ve had to wipe down the table after our visit anyways. I can't say that has ever happened to us anywhere before. It would have been less awkward for everyone involved had they just waited or at least simply asked us to pass the caddy over to them instead of crawling into the booth with diners still seated across from them.  Also, it was obvious our server needed more extensive training in general, as she probably could and should have asked what sides we wanted when we placed our order instead of 10 minutes after we had already ordered, and returned to let us know if we could substitute regular fries with yam fries for the burger combo, and if there would be any additional charge associated with that.

As I said earlier, I was expecting service and timing issues, so the slow speed of service was expected from a new restaurant, but if they are to last, they need to revisit the seasoning on their feeb patty to ensure that it shines. I hope that The Burg manages to iron out the kinks in service and for now, I will give them some time to find their feet before I return to see if they’ve managed to improve both their food and service issues.

The Burg
10190 104 Street
Edmonton, AB  T5J 1A7
780-760-1780
Twitter: @TheBurg4St

The Burg on Urbanspoon

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