1st Annual Octobërgerfest - Burger Diaries Day 5
For the 5th and final installment of Octobërgerfest, we decided we'd go big or go home. Bobby's Burger Palace at K and 21st NW, eponymous burger emporium of one Bobby Flay-- yes, he of FoodNetwork fame, the Iron chef himself-- sits just outside the range of easy lunchtime walking distance. Not ones to be swayed by celebrity buzz or detered by proximity however, we approached our task with all the same objectivity as all our previous entrants. TV is one thing, but this was real life. Despite Mr. Flay's consistently lauded FoodNetwork cuisine, the million dollar question remained.. --how are the burgers? Would the 'Palace' be deserving of such a regal title?
**Check out our inaugural post to get a run-down of the Octobërgerfest manifesto and rating system**
Victor - Philadelphia Burger (provolone cheese / griddled onions / hot peppers), CRUNCHIFIED, side of hot sauce
Corey - Palace Classic Burger (lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle spear), side of fries
Kye -Bobby Blue Burger (blue cheese / bacon / lettuce / tomato)
First -- whoa, my burger is at least 6 inches tall! In order to get it down to a manageable size, I press the whole thing down with the palm of my hand, resulting in a satisfyingly loud crunch.
Next, wow. First bite is incredibly tasty! The burger is juicy, meaty, messy, (CRUNCHY) and awesome. My patty, topped with a heap of fiery peppers, is tamed by a gooey provolone and onions so caramelized they've been practically transformed into a jam-like spread. The stack of potato chips, which I was hesitant about at first, adds a terrific textural dimension to the whole experience. The bun is tender and crisp around the edges, and is sized just right to accomodate its contents without getting in the way. Condiments are offered in a drove of squirt bottles, right at our table. There's regular ketchup, chipotle ketchup, jalapeño sauce, spicy yellow mustard, and something called "burger sauce," which tastes like the deepest, darkest, molasses-brown smokepit sauce you could imagine.. and its terrific. Accompanying everyone's burger is a pleasantly tangy dill pickle spear, a perfect compliment to cut the richness of the burger.
Unfortunately, Bobby's downfall is in the french fry department. The fries are limp, lifeless and undersalted. And rather than perk things up a bit, the spiced mayo the fries are served with suffers from a similar blandness, offering little to help save the fries from their shortcoming. To our surprise, the same need not be true for Bobby's onion rings. The onions are cut thick and fried in a golden batter reminescent of funnel cake in its crisp airiness. Both sides are served in a miniature aluminum tin-- a quaint, if oddly industrial touch that's in keeping with the decor of the place.
The restaurant is a zany composition of colored tiles, tall ceilings, anchored tables and chairbacks upholstered in green leather. A long, winding bar-top style communal table runs through the center of the restaurant, remiscent of a slot car race track. Unique to say the least. Indeed, second to the delicousness of our burgers, the decor (and super-friendly staff) are the most memorable part of Bobby's. Keep it up Mr. Flay, we're quite impressed.
Taste - 9/10
Presentation - 5/5
Originality - 5/5
Wildcard - 5 (pretty novel burger options--Crunchified? come on. super friendly staff, great looking place)
TOTAL - 24 / 25
Taste - 9/10
Wildcard - 3 (wasn't impressed with the fries, but they did serve each meal with a pickle. Loved the ambiance of the restaurant - and the burger itself was great
TOTAL - 20/25
Taste - 9/10
Presentation - 4/5 (See for yourself: the layers of goodness were all mine for the taking)
Originality - 4/5 (Bacon and Blue Cheese on a burger is not original; it was the extra blue cheese sauce that made it ever so tasty)
Wildcard – 4 (The onion rings were lightly battered and crispy; the burger sauce is not to be missed)
TOTAL - 21/25
As you can see, Bobby's made a very good showing. Although we're sure Mr. Flay himself wasn't behind the kitchen, his burgers are at least deserving of an Iron Chef ranking. But will his cuisine reign supreme? Tune in on Monday when we declare a winner for the first annual Octobërgerfest!