2014-05-21 / Restaurant of the Week

BareBurger

 Although Bareburger is already on many peoples’ list of favorite burgers, this ambitious franchise never stops getting better and better. What began as one humble location on 31st Avenue in Astoria around six years ago has grown into a mini empire of organic, grass- fed burgers made from the finest ingredients. Everything here is natural, sustainable and pesticide free so you can feel good about a meal at any of Bareburger’s 18 locations throughout Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Bareburger was begun by a group of community- and familyminded friends who wanted a healthy alternative to fast food. Indeed what is more American than a hamburger but industrialized meat production just isn’t right. Bareburger sources organic, grass- fed meat such as beef, bison, ostrich, elk, lamb, wild boar, chicken and turkey to create their unique variety of burgers, made to order. There are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans that include the new quinoa veggie patty, black bean patty, and Portobello mushroom burger.

What’s new at Bareburger? In most locations, a cool, new stone slab bar serves locally brewed beer and organic spirits, and allows diners to come in for a beer or cocktail and a quick meal at the bar, as well as providing a nice place to wait for a table during peak hours. New booths and comfortable seating have been adde d and many locations have outdoor dining too, making Bareburger ideal for families, friends and casual dates. Jubair, the knowledgeable barman served up a number of beers to taste such as Wolovers from Vermont, Bronx from The Bronx, and Blue Point from New York. Soon they’ll be pouring Silvercut beer brewed right here in Astoria. Cocktails such as the John Deere, the Rachel Carson, and the José Bové are refreshing and flavorful, made from natural spirits and fruit.

Bare bu rger’s menu lists more than a dozen burger items and recommends which meat goes best with which toppings but you can always have it your way. Still, you are invited to design your own burger with the “Barest Burger”. Jimmy, one of the friendly owners suggested I try the new “Southern Burger” which is a juicy two- hander topped with pepperjack cheese, thick- cut, appl ewood smoked bacon, pickled green tomatoes, and fried onions with a smear of grain mustard on your choice of brioche bun or multigrain roll. The bison meat I chose was juicy and flavorful and is known for its lean, low fat content. The pickled green tomatoes are outrageously delicious and the overall combination of all these layered flavors and textures is a winner in my book. My companion had the “Supreme Burger” made with organic beef and

topped with Colby jack cheese, country bacon, crunchy onion rings and special sauce that he deemed “well- balanced and delicious”. The “California” is one of the most popular, ideal with meat or veggie burgers, then topped with avocado slices, sharp cheddar, green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and salsa verde. The “Maui Wowie” suggests wild boar to complement the sweet pineapple, turkey bacon, and mozzarella toppings.

Bareburger has an impressive list of Bare Salads, composed of fresh, organic greens, vegetables, and ingredients such as pancko crusted goat cheese, long stem artichokes, pears poached in red wine, shaved parmigiano and homemade croutons to name a few. The “Bare Wiches” rest on fresh ciabatta bread and are filled with yummy buttermilk fried chicken and pickles, buffalo chicken, pepper jack brisket and more. There are “Cubby Meals” for the little ones, using the best ingredients too, so parents can feel good about bringing their kids here.

For starters or as a side dish, it is difficult to choose among Bareburger’s tempting options. The cornmeal crusted pickle spears are so good, and the sweet potato croqs are simply addictive. These crunchy morsels are made from mashed sweet potatoes and organic sharp cheddar cheese, fried until golden and served with habanero chipotle mayonnaise and stone ground honey mustard. Pancko crusted chicken tenders and butter pickle chips are great to snack on too. By far, Bareburger’s hand cut fries are a must with every order. Dana, our lovely server suggested we take the leftover fries home for hash browns and eggs for breakfast the next day… what a wonderful suggestion! Sweet potato fries are great too and large orders of fries come with their own dipping sauces such as habanero chipotle mayonnaise, curry ketchup, thai chili mayo (great for the sweet potato croqs), ranch, and smoked paprika mayo, all of which are made in house from organic ingredients.

Try to save room for dessert where the new “Bare Sammies” are taking over. These ice cream sandwiches are made with homemade chocolate chip or Snickerdoodle cookies, filled with organic, high quality ice cream. A very special dirty mint chip ice cream Sammie is now offered and all proceeds from its sales are going directly to the Queens Theatre in the Park. A generous and delicious dessert! Vegan carrot cake is not for vegans only and the flourless chocolate cake throws caution to the wind. The milkshakes and root beer floats will please kids and adults alike.

Whether you are health- conscious and seek out organic alternatives for dining out or you just enjoy a really good burger, Bareburger is for you. The staff is very helpful and friendly and the atmosphere is casual and comfortable. All locations are open seven days a week and now you can enjoy a cocktail or beer at the bar and al fresco dining in many locations. You can order on- line with free delivery to your home or office and their gift cards make great gifts for anyone. Thank you Bareburger for taking the guilt out of good food and adding extra flavor.

33-21 31st Avenue & 23-01 31st Street
Astoria  718.777.7011

and 16 other locations in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan & Long Island

www.bareburger.com

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