Thursday, December 11, 2008

Restaurant Review: Flip by Kisha Solomon

The concept of Flip is fairly simple – burgers, sides, and shakes – American classics that everyone can identify with. But when the creative consultant behind the concept is local celebrity chef, Richard Blais, you can expect the simple classics to have some very modern updates.

Located on Howell Mill just past Chattahoochee Avenue, Flip Burger Boutique looks and feels like a retro burger joint with Sex and the City flair. The interior aesthetic could be best described as a post-modern Johnny Rocket’s. Stark white predominates, highlighted by flashes of red and chrome. A bar flanks almost the entire length of the room, opposite a few cushy benches set into intimate alcoves. In the center of the space, two rows of adjoining high-top tables create a communal feel, which is ideal, since you’ll invariably be tempted to peek over to see which of Flip’s many gourmet burgers your neighbor settled on. At the rear of the restaurant is the open-air kitchen where you can observe two chefs feverishly churning out the goods.

The burger offerings are split into two categories, beef (organic, of course) and ‘flip’– non-beef alternatives that will satisfy vegetarians, those who shun red meat, and anyone with a hankering for a pork patty. All of the burgers are slider-sized and served on buns that are part-Kaiser, part Hawaiian sweet roll. Actually, they’re more like sliders on steroids, so depending on how hungry you are, one might suffice, but two are recommended for larger appetites and for indecisive diners. Here’s a sample of 4 different selections my group tried:

From the Beef side:
Butcher – with red wine jelly, caramelized onion and Cabrales blue cheese, this burger was my absolute favorite. The red wine jelly and caramelized onion added a hint of sweet and a lot of savory, while the tiny amount of Cabrales blue packed a tangy, funky punch.

Southern – featuring a fried patty w/pimento cheese, was definitely my least favorite. I’m not a huge fan of pimento cheese, plus the super-crispy coating encasing the burger shredded the roof of my mouth. Not fun.

From the Flip side:
Po Boyger – A shrimp patty topped with lettuce, tomato, a fried lemon slice and Old Bay mayo. Delicate flavors, but still very tasty. I was pleased that the patty wasn’t overly pureed, and I could still identify what I was eating as shrimp.

Bun Mi – An interpretation of the Vietnamese banh mi hoagie-style sandwich. This burger features a ground pork patty topped with cilantro and pickled veggies. It’s spicy, exotic, and complex – I can definitely see it becoming one of the restaurant’s more popular creations.

Sides and Dessert:
For our sides we ordered a sampling of sweet potato tots, french fries, and vodka battered onion rings. Accompanying them were ketchup, a dill mayo, and a honey mustard. Fries and rings were decent, nothing terribly remarkable about either. The tots were slightly disappointing – while the flavor was great, the texture was more mushy than crispy.

For dessert, we ordered one of each of the shakes on the menu – The Krispy Kreme and the chocolate. The Krispy Kreme actually has doughnuts blended into the vanilla ice cream base, and the chocolate shake comes topped with marshmallows given the hand-torch toasting just before being served. The shakes are cooled with liquid nitrogen, which aside from just sounding, well…cool, actually makes for a thick, creamy treat that stays that way until the last slurp.

Service was attentive and friendly if not a little gregarious. My bill – which included 2 burgers, a side, and a shake – came to over $20. With the baby burgers averaging about $8, it’ll be interesting to see how well the restaurant performs after the initial excitement wears off and the reality of a tight economy settles back in.

Flip Burger Boutique
1587 Howell Mill Rd.
Atlanta, GA 30318

Kisha Solomon reviews food, music, travel and more of the good life on her blog,

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