I can simply just say I love Burger and Barrel. Firstly, I love the diversity of the menu. While burgers, indicated most clearly in the restaurant name, are the main reason for visiting B&B, there are entrees from fried chicken to pork chops, as well as Mexican and Italian influenced items like tacos and enchiladas and lasagna and meatballs. While some places let a diversified menu be the downfall, everything I’ve tried thus far has been pretty good to fantastic. In addition, the service here is really something worth noting. Every course is perfectly spread out; you aren’t eagerly awaiting the arrival of your next course, and dinner isn’t brought out while appetizer plates are still on the table. The waiters/waitresses on each of my visits were helpful, attentive and flexible with all orders. I also even loved the music they had playing – lots of catchy 70’s and 80’s music. There were times during the meal when I easily could have busted out singing and dancing right there at the table. Burger and Barrel has great food, an energetic environment and an extensive wine, beer and cocktail menu – it’s a great pick all around.
Chicken Lollipops: These may be my favorite item on the menu. You can get these with the ancho chile bbq sauce or spicy buffalo sauce, which both sounded appealing, but I’m always partial for a spicy buffalo sauce. When I’ve ordered “chicken lollipops” in the past, they’ve been some variation of a chicken finger on a stick. Burger and Barrel’s chicken lollipops, however, are “manicured” chicken wings. The bottoms of the wings are trimmed off to give a lollipop-like handle, making it very easy to get after these awesome chicken wings. They are a great size with a nice crispy outside and the spicy buffalo sauce is spot on. It has a nice balance of sweetness and spice. Even the blue cheese does not disappoint; it is also really good. I consider myself to be quite the wing connoisseur and these are really something. Get them!
Meatballs and Fresh Ricotta: I love how these arrive. You have a bowl of 4 meatballs, with a side of ricotta and 4 slices of bread toasted or grilled and covered in olive oil. I liked being able to make my own open-faced meatball sandwich. Though the sauce that the meatballs come in is a bit thin, it has a great flavor, as do the meatballs themselves. And they give you a lot of really fresh ricotta, which only adds to the already great meatballs. While I like the option of the bread on the side, it didn’t seem entirely necessary to the appetizer and I probably could have done without it. Nevertheless this is a great starter, as well.
Bash Style Burger: This burger is the star burger on the menu. It comes with caramelized onions, a bacon jam, pickles and cheese. I loved this burger. The bacon jam is so unique and flavorful, and while I don’t always love pickles on my burgers, I thought the two really complemented each other well. The burger was perfectly cooked; I asked for medium and it came out medium. I also like the additional touches with the onion rings and a nice portion of fries. Perhaps my only complaint is that the burgers come pre-cut, which I think can detract from the juiciness of the burger. This is probably just a personal preference; I like eating my burgers whole. Nevertheless, this ended up working out nicely because I was splitting two burgers and I didn’t have to end up having to cut it myself.
Lamb Burger: This burger came with sautéed ramps, mozzarella, and a ramp aioli and was fairly average. I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away the way the Bash Style Burger did. The aioli gets kind of lost and the lamb is a little dry. This was the only dish I was disappointed with.
Sweet Potato Fries: These are awesome. They are perfectly salted and fried and come with an amazing aioli that tastes like the love child of ranch and cucumber tzatziki. You can sub these in for the fries, which while good, are not as good as the sweet potato fries.
Fried Chicken: Technically this fried chicken is a cornish hen and it comes with mashed potatoes with gravy and cole slaw. I really enjoyed this. The meat was really juicy, the batter had a great crunch and a nice amount of grease. With some Southern roots, I like my fried chicken greasy. I also liked that because it was a hen, it was smaller in size, and thus I found it manageable to eat all three pieces. It’s not the very best fried chicken I’ve had, but it’s certainly a good option. The cole slaw with this is exceptional. It wasn’t too mayo based and it had a great, fresh flavor. As for the potatoes and gravy, they were pretty standard. While they were nothing to write home about, they were still really solid and delicious.
Chocolate and Strawberry Milkshakes: The chocolate milkshake is great. I loved the added touch of hot fudge and/or authentic chocolate sauce (this was no Hershey’s syrup) lining the inside of the glass. The milkshake also had a great consistency and was the right amount of chocolate, if there is such a thing. The strawberry milkshake was disappointing. It was thin and only had a hint of strawberry flavoring. It may have been that batch of ice cream because B&B I believe makes the ice cream from scratch. But if you want to ensure deliciousness go with the chocolate shake.
(Perhaps) Next time:
Signature Truffle Burger: This burger comes with white truffles, robiola cheese and a truffle aioli on brioche. While it sounds like heaven, it also comes with the hefty price of I believe $45, which I just cannot justify spending on a burger no matter how good it is.
Burger and Barrel: 25 W Houston New York, NY ($$-$$$)