Burger month is almost over, which means you need to consume as many burgers as possible by the week's end. If that sounds difficult to do, don't fret -- Michael Mina 74 is setting out to make the task feasible. Not only did the restaurant roll out four burgers (one a week) for the special month, but has also added four additional burgers to the menu permanently. That means you can chow down on any of these bad boys well after Saturday night.
To close out the month, the Backyard BBQ burger will be available till Saturday, celebrating Memorial Day with house-smoked BBQ brisket glazed in a homemade BBQ sauce. So in case you didn't make it out to the beach last week (with good reason), this is reason enough to cross the bridge this weekend. Short Order was invited for a sampling of the new burgers. Pictures after the jump.
The dry aged steak burger ($26) isn't new, but it's definitely worth talking about. It was actually our favorite of the evening. Chef Thomas Griese was on a trip in San Francisco and conceptualizing burger ideas with the group when they thought of the dry aged steak burger. "We really wanted to make something special that would be representative to what Michael Mina is all about and not be your regular burger," Griese said.
That resulted in a blend of wagyu brisket and chuck, which is sourced for Locker 28. Locker 28 is the in-house dry aging room that dries steak for FB Steakhouse and for Michael Mina 74's dry aged steak burger program. After drying the short rib, they get the ground and blend everything. Bacon and cheese are added, because well, bacon and cheese. Griese elevates this once again by double smoking the burger, which they also do in house. It's then finished with smoked gouda and a secret sauce.
This picture doesn't do this baby justice.
The MM74 burger ($26) is an interesting take on a blue burger. You've got caramelized onions for some sweetness, crimini mushrooms to brighten things up, and blue cheese to make things smooth and pungent. There's also truffle aioli, but it's mixed in with kale. "We really like to make each burger special in its own way," Griese said. Griese was previously chef de cuisine at the Restaurant at the Setai.
Griese also offers a healthy alternative to those who looking for a lighter burger without foregoing taste. Turkey breast gets ground with apricot and jack cheese and a harissa aioli adds some flavorful spice. Combined with house made guacamole, it creates a refreshing combination. "It's my second favorite," Griese said. His first is the dry aged steak burger.
Michael's falafel burger ($18) is a vegetarian delight that uses dill, fresh fava beans and fresh peas instead of your typical garbanzos. Don't be fooled by the outside appearance, which is brown, crispy, and crunchy. One bite into the patty will uncover the vibrant green color and taste of the falafel. Tomato confit adds some acidity, while tzatziki and fresh mint bring in a cool factor.
I'm not really a fan of salmon. It's my least favorite fish, so I was a bit skeptical when the Korean BBQ salmon burger hit our table. It turned out to be my second favorite burger and a burger I will now crave. Griese takes the salmon and marinates it in ponzu. He then separates the meat of the salmon filet. "It's like it shreds almost," Griese said. Then it gets mixed with a Gochujang Korean spice paste and cilantro before reassembling. This technique gives the burger a flaky sandwich consistency and cucumber, kimchee, pickled fresno, and ginger aioli give it big flavor.
The burger you could have had.
All photos by Carla Torres
On our visit, we indulged in the Rossini burger, which highlighted French luxury week. The patty was glazed with a black truffle demi jus and topped with a foie fondue. Instead of lettuce, crispy frisee and watercress with black truffle vinaigrette cut the richness of the foie and patty with some crisp acidity.
You can get French fries, or you can listen to your mama (in this case Griese) and eat some veggies. Brussel sprouts are all the rage. These particular brussels are a mouthful (good luck finishing the order), and tossed in pink lady apples and fish sauce.
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"Ever since I was younger and wanted to be executive chef I swore one day I'd have rocky road on the menu," Griese said. "I love rocky road." Griese did just that by whipping up some rocky road profiteroles, finishing the meal on a sweet, nostalgic note.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha