Friday, July 17, 2009

BareBurger by Guest Reviewer Aaron

A passionate Astorian, Aaron recently wrote about his experience at Bare Burger, the newly-opened organic burger joint on 31st Avenue. He went through the trouble of writing a very insightful review so I decided to share it with you. Hope it's helpful - it sure made me want to try it!

BareBurger - 33-21 31st Avenue, Astoria NY 11106

N/W Train to Broadway

Went to BareBurger a few weeks ago. I didn't know it was open yet when I passed by on the way to Il Bambino, but I decided to try it.


The atmosphere was fun, playful and stylish. Being that it's summer, they have the place opened up to the street. A garage door, which has been painted yellow, serves as the opening to 33rd Street, which I thought was a nice touch. The metal seating is comfortable and a cross between an outdoor patio chair and something industrial. Tall, greenish booths line the left hand wall and chandeliers made from spoons hang above each of the three tables. A faux, wooden plank floor and ceilings gives it an odd lodge-type feel.

There is something quirky and joyful in the spirit of the place. A flat screen TV is mounted high on the right hand wall, up near the counter, but the sound is turned off and a mix of 50's to 90's music was playing over a sound system. Although there are seats and a waitstaff, there is a counter, much like any burger joint where you can order take out.

We both went for the original Bareburger ($8.95) which comes with Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce (shredded iceberg), tomato, raw red onion and BareBurger's special sauce. We shared a basket of onion rings which came with ranch dressing and peppercorn steak sauce. We ended by splitting a vanilla milkshake to go.

Overall I enjoyed the meal. I found the burger tasty, but slightly salty. I don't know whether they put spices in the meat or if it was the special sauce, but it could've been a little more neutral. If for no other reason than it would allow the taste of the meat to stand on its own. The bun was delicious and though it may sound strange to say, it fit the burger perfectly and stayed with the burger through the whole meal. You know how sometimes a burger and its bun seem destined to be eaten apart? Not this burger.

The onion rings were delicious, if slightly greasy. I don't want to mislead you here...onion rings are always greasy, they are fried after all. These were not overly greasy, but they were definitely deeply fried and not healthy, organic or not. The thing is, the basket they brought us was huge. I think if you eat a few it's OK, but three or four people could easily be satisfied by a single basket of rings. There were two of us so we probably ate more rings than we ordinarily would have. Even admitting to this gluttony, we didn't finish them.

The vanilla milkshake was tasty, not overly thick or sweet, rather it was a clean and refreshing finish to the meal.

Everything is organic at BareBurger beef, milk, ice cream, coffee, poultry, name it, it's organic. They serve Boylan soda, which is probably a little more expensive than your average Coke or Pepsi, but it's tasty and constitutes something other than the status-quo. It also goes along with their natural/organic theme as Boylan's advertises itself as all natural

Service and Cost:

The service was friendly and exuberant. Our waitress seemed a little overly pumped, but not in a negative or obnoxious way. She was on top of everything without being on top of us.

Two original Bareburgers, one basket of onion rings, two sodas and one vanilla milkshake came to $38.38 with tax. With tip the meal came to $46. Forty-six dollars is not a back-breaking expense, but it's not cheap for a night out grabbing a couple of burgers. When I think of having burgers in the summer (the way I think of them, when I was a kid) it was one of those quick, cheap meals that cost a couple guys $10-$20. It was something you ate when you didn't have a lot of money on you. Compare it to cooking at home where you can easily make four non-organic burgers with all the trimmings for roughly $20 and you realize the premium you are paying for the special sauce and organic everything.

That said, the food was delicious, the atmosphere was fun and energetic and the service was good. I would definitely recommend trying BareBurger.

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