2012-05-30 / Restaurant of the Week

BareBurger

What started as a one-store, unique concept restaurant in Astoria has grown to become a franchise of nine locations in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. BareBurger was the brain child of a group of friends from Astoria who wanted to build a better burger using only farm-raised, grass-fed meats and all organic ingredients. The result is truly a better burger served with all your favorite accoutrements including delicious fries, onion rings, milk shakes and even wine and beer.

BareBurger’s atmosphere is rough-hewn, utilizing reclaimed materials, sustainable bamboo floors, cork walls and high tech hand dryers in the bathrooms. The service is friendly and casual, making all the BareBurger locations ideal for families, friends and casual dates. Debra, an executive from the organization, visits all locations and helps to ensure quality and consistency. A farm girl herself, she says this is one of the nicest places to work thanks to the lovely staff. You can taste the good karma in the food!

The menu, printed on recycled paper, of course, features burgers, salads, wraps and “cubby meals” for kids. Start by choosing the kind of meat or vegetable you want your burger made from. You can really taste the difference in the quality, farm-raised beef, protein-rich bison, elk, ostrich, wild boar or lamb. There are also organic turkey burgers and free range chicken sandwiches all prepared on your choice of multi-grain bun, brioche bun, or whole wheat wrap. The menu recommends which meat goes best with which toppings but you can always have it your way. If you don’t eat meat at all, try the savory veggie burger, which is dairy and nut-free, or a juicy Portobello mushroom burger that tastes like a steak right off the grill. You can even go “bun-less” and wrap it up in lettuce leaves.

I’m told the most popular burger is the California burger, topped with sharp cheddar, avocado, maple bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and cilantro lime dressing ($11.95). Next, the Big Blue pleases the crowds with Danish bleu cheese, sautéed mushrooms, smoked onions, bacon, lettuce, and apple chutney ($11.95). Spice up your life with the Jalapeño Express that goes great with elk and is topped with lots of pepperjack cheese, red onion, jalapeño relish, horseradish mayo and chipotle ketchup. I’ve been to BareBurger several times and always gravitate towards The Original with Colby jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and that irresistible Bare- Burger sauce. Try this one with elk or ostrich meat, which are high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol.

BareBurger fries are freshly cut from premium, organic potatoes and fried in pure peanut oil

which gives them their addictive flavor and crunch. The large order comes with a trio of dipping sauces: curry ketchup, spicy chipotle mayo and fabulous BareBurger sauce. The onion rings are great too and we also tried the fried bread and butter pickles which also have an addictive quality, especially when dipped in the spicy mayo.

BareBurger sandwiches require two hands and a hearty appetite. One of the newest is the wild boar Cuban sandwich layered with Canadian bacon, Swiss cheese, dill pickle relish and stone-ground mustard. The Haas avocado chicken club remains one of the most popular for its tender, grilled chicken, avocado, applewood smoked bacon, tomato, red onion and mayo resting between three slices of multi-grain bread ($11.95). Next time I’ll try the Buffalo chicken sandwich with spicy panko crusted chicken breast and tomatillo sauce. Freshly tossed salads are also great and generously sized, including the classic Caesar, Cobb, beet and goat cheese salad, and the cranberry bleu salad tossed with baby organic spinach, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, bleu cheese and balsamic dressing ($9.95).

Treat yourself to a creamy, cool, old fashioned milkshake made from organic milk and ice cream in flavors that include vanilla, peanut butter, chocolate and raspberry. There are all natural sodas, craft beer and wine as well. For a light meal, get some BareBurger sliders to go along with your shake, served three to an order. The “Cubby” meals are a hit with the kids and include organic hot dogs, chicken fingers and multi-grain mini grilled cheese sandwiches.

Even if you haven’t “gone organic”, you can still enjoy a BareBurger because the quality is exceptional and the dining experience is pleasant for all. Check out their Website for all locations, hours and menu. Make mine a Bare- Burger!

33-21 31st Ave., Astoria
718.777.7011

and nine other locations in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan www.bareburger.com

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