Bobby’s Burger Palace: A 10-Point Review
In Hungry Dads’ 10-Point reviews, we go out of our way to share constructive criticism in addition to high praise in order to keep it interesting. But trust us – we devoured our meal along with much of our wives’ meals. We also ate whatever food our kids left behind that wasn’t dropped on the floor or dissected like a science project. And we felt truly sad when all of the food was gone. If there were leftovers, they probably got eaten in the car on the way home. So, yes, we liked it, we’ll be back, and we recommend it. With that, ten things we want you to know:
1. + Epicurean, but Still Okay for your Blue Collar Dad – TV Chef Bobby Flay tries to elevate the working-class hamburger with “higher-end-but-still-down-to-earth” offerings.
2. + Celebrity Burgers – Joining the ranks of other “As Seen on TV” burger purveyors, at least Bobboy Flay is a chef – unlike WWF’s Mean Gene Okerlund (remember his burger joint?) and two thirds of the Wahlburg brothers who started Wahlburger’s (Paul is a chef – Donnie and Mark are not).
3. + “Crunchification” – Bobby offers you the option to “crunchify” any burger, by topping it with potato chips.
4. – Good meat? I dunno… – We got a “Dallas Burger,” “crunchified” – but can’t properly review the meat itself on account of all of the competing flavors (sauce, chips, pickle) that seemed to dominate.
5. + Bobby’s Soft Buns – Bobby’s bun was great, second only to our beloved potato bun. You’d be surprised how many “higher end” burger places use “fancier” bread that’s too dry or crumbly. Not Bobby.
6. + Not Quite Community Seating – Bobby’s unique seating provides long curved counters in lieu of tables. I was afraid I would have to interact with strangers, but there was plenty of elbow room between certain seats, with other seats bunched together for groups.
7. – Try as he may, Bobby Just Can’t Beat Ketchup – The dipping sauces made for a fun taste testing experiment. Interestingly, none of the specialty sauces had a sweetness like ketchup or classic BBQ sauce. The “BPP Sauce” had a creamy, red pepper flavor. The Burger Sauce was okay, with a certain indistinguishable taste (perhaps mole’?). The Jalapeno Hot Sauce wasn’t too hot (in a good way) with as much vinegar as jalapeno taste. The Chipotle Ketchup was thin and runny – it didn’t stick to fries in a nice big glob the way I like ketchup to do. The regular ketchup was awesome!
8. + Crazy Friendly Service – We went to the Baltimore location (note the Old Bay at the table for a nice local touch) and the service was super-duper friendly with big, genuine, smiles from the staff. This may be a feature of the chain, or more likely, just on account of the nice folks of Charm City.
9. – A Soda Jerk’s Dilemma – On one hand, Bobby offers self-serve, refillable soda. That’s awesome! A Hungry Dads favorite. But the cups were hard plastic with no cover – like from a diner. Not the kind you can carry out with one last refill. : (
10. – Good (not amazing) Fries – What can Bobby really do? Fries have been perfected at so many places. Bobby’s fries were good, thick and seemingly fresh cut. McDonald’s ranks with that perfect texture and flavor for processed fries. Five Guys ranks for giving a giant greasy bag with enough fresh cut fries to choke a camel. We’re not sure there is anything like that we can say about Bobby’s fries to make an impression.