By: The Scholastic Epicurean
The Scholastic Epicurean is a guest blogger who lives in the Metro Atlanta area. He is a culinary expert with a refined palate and a love for fine food and drink. He has traveled the world and like the Intercontinental Foodie, he is always in search of the perfect meal.
The nice thing about being relatively new to a city is that just about any time you go out, it is a new adventure. One of the things I’ve grown to love about the city of Atlanta is that there is no shortage of great restaurants, whether it’s more formal fare, or something as casual as a burger. Thankfully my friend Nurse Awesome-Sauce is also relatively new to Atlanta, and is always up for a fun time and a great meal.
In celebration of another competed semester at Kennesaw State University that included straight A’s, this afternoon’s adventure took me to Chef Richard Blais’ Flip Burger Boutique in Buckhead. Some of you may recognize Chef Blais’ name from his time on Season 4 of Top Chef (Which in my opinion was the last good season of the Bravo show). Watching Chef Blais work his culinary magic on TV, I was impressed with his ability to blend science and technique to come up with what appeared to be rather amazing dishes. I knew watching him, that if ever given the opportunity, I would have to see if the creations lived up to my imagination. It appears that today was my lucky day.
Walking into the restaurant, one of the things that struck me was the décor. It had a very chic and modern vibe to it. White and black served as the main colors, with red accents throughout. The lines were very clean, and it was obvious that someone had taken as much time on the décor as had been done with the menu. This didn’t have the feeling of your standard burger joint, and gave off the vibe that this was going to be an experience.
Nurse Awesome-Sauce and I decided that seeing as how it was a beautiful summer day, we were going to sit outside and enjoy it. The restaurant wasn’t terribly crowded, as it was 12:30 on a Tuesday, so we were able to pick a great spot and enjoy the people watching of the area around us.
We started off with some drinks. I had the Raspberry Moscow Mule, which was made with vodka, fresh raspberries, lime juice and ginger beer. Nurse Awesome-Sauce decided to indulge in a freshly made Peach Sangria. When our drinks came, I noticed that there was a fair amount of “smoke” rising off of it. I’m not sure if this had anything to do with the temperature of the drink (cold) vs. the temperature outside (a balmy 83 degrees), or if this was a sign of liquid nitrogen usage (which Flip is known to use)! Either way, that first sip of the Moscow Mule provided a nice kick! It wasn’t so much the vodka I tasted, but that crisp taste of ginger. I loved it!
The Peach Sangria that Nurse Awesome-Sauce was drinking had a very subtle peach flavor to it. It was a stark contrast to the Moscow Mule I was enjoying. I’m not normally one for sangria, but this was something I would order from the menu if I were looking to try something different. In talking with our server, we found out that the drink menu like the main menu is seasonal, so there is always something new going on. In my opinion that’s a great sign, as it means that the Chef’s are willing to experiment and not rest on their laurels. It definitely keeps things from becoming stale.
As we relaxed with our drinks, we started poking through the menu, to determine which of the many burger creations we were going to try. There are about 16 different options, and there is something to fit just about any particular palate or price point. I decided on the Lob-steer Burger and Nurse Awesome-Sauce decided that the Lamburger was the way to go. Since everything Flip is al la carte, we also decided to grab a side order of their vodka battered onion rings to go along with our burgers.
The Lob-steer burger can be best described as surf-and-turf on a bun. The burger had giant pieces of lobster, mustard caviar, garlic butter, and caramelized onions spread over top of a hand ground beef patty. I decided to pass on the mushroom ketchup; but it was described to me by our server as being more like a mushroom ragout as opposed to ketchup with an essence of mushrooms in it.
The Lob-steer burger was pretty good, but it was cooked a little more than I like (though in fairness I don’t think I was asked at what temperature I wanted my burger cooked). I also felt that for its $21 dollar price point, that it lacked a little flavor. I’m not sure what could have been added to it (maybe the mushroom ketchup), but I just felt like something was missing.
Nurse Awesome-Sauce decided to go with the Lamburger, and I think she was the one that ended up with the real winner of the day. While I like lamb, I have to be in the mood for it. The way this was prepared, makes me want to go back and order another one.
The Lamburger was well cooked, and it was topped with herbed goat cheese, saffron pickled zucchini, and Harissa ketchup (Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili sauce made from piri-piri, Serrano pepper, and other hot chilies). The goat cheese melted over the top of the burger and created a rich, creamy contrast to the ketchup. Nurse Awesome-Sauce was afraid that the kick from the ketchup was going to be a little too much for her, but the combination of ingredients made for a very subtle flavor. The saffron pickled zucchini made for not only a nice visual contrast, but also a great texture when biting into the burger.
As we both ate our burgers, we snacked on the vodka battered onion rings. The onion rings were well cooked, and provided a nice little crunch as you bit into them. The onions themselves were cooked through, yet still firm. When combined with the beer mustard, it created a very light taste. It was an excellent side to the meal.
When scanning the menu earlier, we noticed that Flip makes liquid nitrogen milkshakes; even better these milkshakes have the option of being served with a shot of liquor. Nurse Awesome-Sauce and I looked at one another and asked “How could we possibly go wrong?
Flip Burger has a selection of five different shakes to choose from, ranging from Krispy Kreme to Strawberry Shortcake. After checking in on Facebook earlier, one of my Chef friends who had been to Flip Burger last year, suggested emphatically that I try the Foie Gras Milkshake. While he and many like him have significantly broadened my epicurean horizons, I wasn’t feeling quite brave enough to take that leap. I decided to take a much safer route and have the Strawberry Shortcake shake, while Nurse Awesome-Sauce went with the Nutella and Burnt Marshmallow shake.
I decided to spike the Strawberry Shortcake shake with some UV Whipped Vodka. The drink came out with a slight fog rising off of it. The shake had chunks of strawberry and shortcake mixed in, and was topped off with fresh whipped cream. It was one of the better strawberry shakes I’ve had. The vodka turned what would normally be a dessert for kids, into a much more grown up drink. I was able to taste the vodka, but it didn’t overpower the rest of the drink.
Nurse Awesome-Sauce’s Nutella and Burnt Marshmallow shake did not disappoint either. When it came out, the shake had a nice layer of burnt marshmallows over hazelnut goodness. The drink was spiked with a shot of Kahlua, and in the end what we ended up with was a cold version of a hot chocolate.
Both desserts provided an excellent end to an overall good meal.
From a service perspective, it wasn’t bad. But then again, it wasn’t one of those places that you remember because of how amazing the experience was and rave about it to all of your friends. We arrived at the restaurant and were seated about 12:30pm and we didn’t get our check till about 5 minutes before 2pm. The service felt a little slow at times, especially for a restaurant that didn’t have a lot of traffic in it. If you’re short on time, this may not be the place to go for lunch. On the plus side our server was very knowledgeable, and she almost talked me into the Foie Gras milkshake. If I’d not know what was in it, I would have seriously considered ordering one based on her description.
When it came to value, this was one of the more expensive lunches I’ve had. For two burgers, two drinks, two desserts, and a side, the bill was just under $90 before any tip had been included. Had I not ordered the Lob-steer burger, the bill would have been about $10 less, still a touch pricey for lunch for two. In all, it was a fun afternoon; and really when it comes to what matters the most about a meal, it’s ultimately about the company. Good food is just ends up being an added bonus.
Service & Value: B
Flip Burger Boutique is a place that I would recommend to someone who is looking to experience a unique twist on the familiar.
Flip Burger Boutique:
3655 Roswell Road. Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30342
Credit Cards: Yes
Good for families: Yes
Full Bar: Yes
Monday – Thursday: 11AM – 10PM
Friday – Saturday: 11AM – 11PM
Sunday: 11AM – 9PMBurgers