Monday, March 24, 2008

The Burger Shoppe: How to Be Gassy and Happy and Full

Photo: Steve Bryant

The other night I checked out Burger Shoppe, the latest addition to this city's mania for burgers. It's in the Financial District, deep in the Financial District, right in the seamy monied and at the moment panicked heart of the economy. Kevin O'Connell, who is the man who created the original Pop Burger and consulted for my personal favorite burger, the Hickory Short Rib Burger at the otherwise douche-infested Spitzer's Corner, is in the kitchen. Heather Tierney, the very very good looking restaurant concierge behind sorted, is responsible for the look of the place which is extremely retro. First floor is a straight-out-of-the-1950's diner countery place and the second floor is a more restaurantish bar with actual tables. The remaining three or four floors (they have the whole building) may or may not be developed into an exclusive club (a la Upstairs at Cipriani's, minus the D-bags) or, hopefully this one, an illegal poker room (my idea). The man who will make this happen is Greg Seider, the mixologist once from Norwood, who is just killing time until the place gets its liquor license. (It's already been approved by CB1.) Really this all wouldn't mean anything if the burgers are crap.

Thankfully the burgers aren't crap. One particular burger is extremely far from crap. The Shoppe Burger which is reminiscent of the Pop Burger: a grilled Hereford beef burger with Cheddar, lettuce, tomato and Shoppe sauce is delicious. It rivals and perhaps beats Shake Shack or any other simple retro burger. The Burger Shoppe's entry for nouveau burger, the Barroom Burger, (gruyere, braised pork belly, sauteed mushroom and onions) needs a little more work. (Too much mushroom. Too pork belly-ee) but is again pretty solid. The sleeper hit of the menu, for me, is the House Chopped Chicken Livers and the Short Rib Pudding. One is oniony and creamy; one is red-winey and creamy. One lacks the metallic aftertaste that spoiled me on liver, the other lacks the caloric information that spoiled me on pudding.

In terms of milkshakes, yes. Banana Rum Walnut, I think. It had Kahlua in it and made my gassy drunk and happy for the rest of the night.