Monday, June 3, 2013

Opening: Bobby's Burger Palace

Bobby Flay - Photo by Ben Fink
Chef Bobby Flay opened his fifteenth all-American burger joint, Bobby's Burger Palace, on Tuesday, May 21st in Woodbridge, Va.  Fans and early birds began to gather as early as 9:30 a.m. in preparation for the 12:00 p.m. grand opening.  

Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

With copies of Flay's cookbooks in-hand, the crowd patiently waited for a chance to meet the popular restaurateur and grill master and taste his regionally inspired burgers.  Thankfully, I didn't have to wait in the heat since Capital Cooking was allowed a first-timer's glance at this immediately popular fast-service restaurant.

Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

The curved bar, friendly staff and bright cheerful interior is both relaxing and reminiscent of old diners and drugstore soda fountains.  

Photo by JoLynda Lawecki
There is also something comforting about being able to see into the kitchen of a burger place.  Unlike a standard fast-food restaurant, guests place their orders with the cashier, are given a number to place at their table and then their order is delivered to them by a server.  Though tips are not required, they are accepted and you may feel yourself happily encouraging the staff in this manner due to the overall pleasant and professional atmosphere.

Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

The menu is easy to navigate and is easily customizable since guests can choose either certified Angus, ground turkey or chicken breast as their sandwich base.  Additionally, sandwiches are available "topless" which provides the more health conscious the option to avoid carbs by leaving the bread for the birds. 

Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

I really want to point out the amazing feast for the eyes that is served up.  When I asked for a standard photo to include in this review, this is what I was sent (below).

Crunchburger BBP Signature Burger
Photo by Ben Fink

I was very impressed that the actual product that was delivered to our table during my visit was  similar to the "stock" photo.  To me, the visual attractiveness of food is often 50% of the experience, and amazingly these burgers held up to both visual and taste satisfaction.

Crunch burger
Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

Flay explained to guests that his desire for his burgers are that they be perfectly seared on the outside, well seasoned and juicy.  And they were.  Not so juicy that your bun turns to mush, but juicy so that you know that the quality of the meat is good and there's little doubt that the line cooks know their business.  Burgers are made to order and Flay highly urges guests to "crunchify" their burgers...a complimentary service provided to fans of texture.

I had the Bobby's Blue Burger, served with blue cheese, bacon, tomato and lettuce.  As suggested I tried a some of the BBP's Burger Sauce, but it wasn't really needed because the burger was so flavorful.  Due to the width and depth of the sandwich, I deem these burgers fork-and-knife burgers; meaning, one needs to have a large bite or a fork and knife handy to accomplish the business of finishing one's meal.

Bobby's Blue Burger.
I was too eager to try the sandwich
that I messed up the initial presentation.
Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

Flay also requires his staff to completely melt the cheese on each burger before placing it on the bun.  Emphasis on completely!  I think the complete meltdown, if you will, seals in all the flavor, though Flay says that completely melted cheese is just more appealing texture-wise.

You can tell that a lot of thought and time went into the making of each burger since there was a lot of silence once everyone had begun eating.  Well, *silence* if you include the nom, nom, nom sounds of happy eaters.

Flay believes that burger establishments should have a three-fold focus: perfect burgers, creamy, dense and well-blended milkshakes and, of course, perfectly crispy fries.

Bobby's Burger Palace makes their fries in the French brasserie-style.  This two-day process includes soaking the hand-cut potatoes the night before; blanching/frying them at lower heat; then, prior to service, frying them at a higher temperature until they're equal amounts crispy and dense.  

Sante Fe Burger
Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

In case you're concerned that you need even more to satisfy your cravings, sweet potato fries and beer battered onion rings are available to stave your hunger.  And if you're a vegetarian and/or health conscious, grilled cheese options and salads are also made to order.

Milkshakes.  Milkshakes.  Milkshakes.  I can't say enough!  The milkshakes can be ordered malted and with or without whipped cream.  Flay said that his  favorite milkshake as a child was and still is the Black and White malted (no whipped cream), which is available for those who love their vanilla and chocolate.  A firm believer in malted shakes, I was down-right psyched to see this option on the menu.

I tried the pistachio, which Flay mentioned has a cult following.  It was excellent and tasted of actual pistachios, unlike the weird green ice cream that so often typifies pistachio flavored desserts.  A server also said that the coffee milkshake has bits of expresso beans for the caffeine freaks.  Be warned...these shakes are addictive and come with 20 oz. of ice cream per shake, so they are not for dieters.  I'm pretty sure once you try a malted shake, you will need to return to try all the flavors.

For the adults, there's a nice variety of beer, wine, spiked milkshakes (like pineapple coconut rum) and even frozen cactus pear margaritas (borrowed from Flay's, Mesa Grill).

Malted Pistachio Milkshake
Photo by JoLynda Lawecki

Orders can be eaten-in or taken to-go, but I urge you to take the time to enjoy the atmosphere and ambiance of this fun intimate restaurant...if you can find a place to sit.  The Woodbridge location is just outside of the main entrance of the Potomac Mills Mall (near the movie theater entrance) and is open 11am-10pm Monday-Thursday's, 11am-11pm Saturday's and 11am-9pm on Sunday's. If you're concerned about lines or need to grab-and-go due to time restraints, orders can also be placed online.

Photo by JoLynda Lawecki
Bobby's Burger Palace on Urbanspoon

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