Monday, July 16, 2012

Vincent A Restaurant

Vincent A Restaurant is a French-inspired restaurant in downtown Minneapolis that has routinely won accolades for its burger. Dig this: a ground beef and braised short rib patty combined with smoked gouda, Jucy Lucy-style. Are you hungry yet?

The burger is only available in the bar area of the restaurant, which is fine -- a Jucy Lucy, even a fancy one, doesn't really fit the white-tablecloth aesthetic of the main dining room. Normally, the burger is $14, but if you go during one of Vincent's two nightly happy hours, the price drops to only $8! I ordered mine with a side salad, but if the fries are the same as the ones that come with the poutine we ordered as an appetizer, they're also a good choice. The burger is only cooked one way: a little past medium to ensure the cheese inside is fully-melted.

The first thing I noticed when the burger arrived was that the patty was quite a bit smaller than the bun. I didn't take a cross-section cut before eating it because that would have allowed the delicious cheese to leak out. Unlike at Matt's Bar(and I'm aware that it's a little ridiculous to compare Matt's Bar to Vincent), Vincent's take on the Jucy Lucy is immediately edible without scalding the inside of your mouth with napalm-like melted cheese, which to me belies the attention paid to the cooking process. And those bites are truly glorious. I am a big fan of smoked foods, and the smoked gouda in this burger is fantastic. The meat itself was perfectly seasoned in the first half of the burger that I ate, but veered towards too salty as I got to the end. One unexpected surprise was the nice crust on the outside of the patty that made the whole experience a textural pleasure. On the other hand, the bun was soft and fresh but nothing exceptional, and the tomato was also, sadly, a bit mealy and lacking in flavor.

Despite the partially-errant seasoning, overall the flavor of this burger is great -- there's a reason it wins all those awards. It's worth a trip to downtown.

Vincent A Restaurant
1100 Nicollet Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 630-1189

Monday, July 2, 2012

Red Stag Supperclub

I am a fan of Red Stag Supperclub. Located in the Central/University (St. Anthony East) area of Northeast Minneapolis, I have consistently had great food and a great experience -- so much so that my wife and I decided to have a pre-wedding family dinner there. Despite having been there numerous times, I had yet to have their cheeseburger. So, I decided to change that.

On paper, the burger looks great. Heirloom Limousin beef, pickled red onions, and garlic aioli? Hell yes. I ordered mine medium. With the included fries and the addition of a slice of white medium cheddar, the total was $13.50.

Upon arrival, I was dismayed -- why would you list everything that comes on the burger except the pickles? Luckily, the pickles were sweet pickles and not dill pickles, so the inevitable pickle juice contamination was not too severe. The burger looked to be about a half pound, fit the nicely griddled bun well, and had a good amount of nicely melted cheese. When cut in half, the meat was cooked to a perfect medium-to-medium-rare in the middle, transitioning to medium-well at the edges.

On the flavor front, this burger was darn near perfect. The beef itself was delicious and perfectly seasoned, and the garlic aioli and pickled onions added a kick that really went well with the rest of the burger. The bun was just hearty enough to make it a perfect complement to density of the meat without being overly tough or chewy. My only complaint is the unevenness of the meat's done-ness -- towards the edges where it was cooked more, the meat tended towards dryness and that particular well-done beef flavor. Still, overall -- an excellent performance. I would definitely get this burger again.

Red Stag Supperclub
509 1st Avenue Northeast
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 767-7766