During my trip to Atlanta, I ate a lot.
Well, I guess I should substitute “trip to Atlanta” to “life,” but you get the picture.
One place I was dying to check out was Richard Blais’ molecular gastronomy influenced restaurant Flip Burger Boutique. This Top Chef contestant had always made really cool and unusual food on the show, and when I heard about tableside frozen nitrogen shakes and burgers with blue cheese foam, I knew I had to check it out.
The feel of the restaurant is very cool and sleek, like something you might see in Santa Monica. You could get a cozy booth or be sat at one of the long communal tables. The server we had was extremely efficient and friendly – we had, in fact, only exemplary service during our whole time in Atlanta. The food came out quickly.
This burger was only good where it could have and SHOULD have been great. It was brought down because it was overcooked, so the meat was bouncy and a little tough. It was brought down by a very sweet jam that overpowered the umami, salty vinaigrette. It was elevated by the tangy shallots, tender frisee, and delightfully soft, absorbent bun. The cheese was very good – creamy and funky without being overwhelming. It just…could have been so much better. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be.
The sweet potato tots were greaseless, sweet, and spicy with cayenne. The onion rings, while a bit heavy on the batter, were fresh and piping hot. Now that those are covered, let’s get to the important stuff. The fries are some of the best in recent memory. Fried in beef tallow, they have a very hearty, deep taste that positively reverberates in the mouth after the first bite. The fries themselves are crispy and hot, and dipped in the blue cheese foam (airy and funky – one of Blais’ molecular touches) or the house made ketchup they are excellent.
I know what you are thinking – this is going to be awesome – fatty, creamy, faintly heady with the taste of foie echoing in the background. Kinda weird, kinda gross, TOTALLY awesome.
SO NOT WHAT IT WAS.
I mean, it was good. It was a very nice, thick, cool vanilla milkshake. Fragrant…with vanilla. Tasting…of vanilla. Where was the foie? And where was the tableside liquid nitrogen pouring? If they stop doing the tableside presentations, they might as well just do old fashioned milkshakes.
Less disappointing, though the lack of chemical mixing at the table was still a letdown. Nutty and a little bitter, it was balanced out by the sweet marshmallows. Recommended.
Flip burger confuses me. The food is good, and some of it is great. However…where are Blais’ sensibilities? Where is the drama, the molecular gastronomy, the sense of the weird and wonderful? My guess is that he has toned this all down in hopes of attracting more people to his restaurant, but sadly, I think that it might attract fewer.
Bring back those milkshakes and I will gladly return to try other burgers on the menu – I think that they have a lot of potential!