Locally Sourced

Bromance with a Burger at Whisk

It's easy to coax a brother out to lunch when meat is involved.  Especially if it's the organic sirloin served up a new way every Friday at Whisk Gourmet in Coral Gables.

That was my trick when I asked bro Kevin, back from Babson College for the summer, to meet me and Mom for a bite to eat last Friday.  Worked like a charm.

SPOILER ALERT: Caution, clicking through the jump will reveal this week's special burger.

Whisk is a fitting place for a family rendezvous. It's own'd, operat'd

and chef'd by hometown sibling team Kristin and Brendan Connor, alumni

of Gables High down the street who ventured north for higher education

and the start of their culinary careers.  She was groomed for private

party and restaurant management with NYC's Myriad Restaurant Group

(Tribeca Grill,) and he in the kitchens of Anson's and Hominy Grill in

foodie-hub Charleston, SC.  They've now returned to go into business

with each other, a pipe dream fulfilled.  It was pouring rain when we

dropped in, and they were still packed -- outdoor tables inside and overflowing full. Gosh I love these kind of stories.

We ordered up the Southern Slaw Burger, last Friday's creation, comprised of lick-your-lips-yummy Carolina gold BBQ sauce, crunchy cole slaw, grilled sweet onions, muenster cheese, lettuce, and tomato.

All Big Friday Burgers come with either herb salad or a garden trowel-sized scoop of paper-thin, lightly fried "House Chips" sprinkled with Parmesan snow.  We couldn't stop eating those things.  Chef Brendan has seriously figured out how to make a potato melt in your mouth without a pound of butter mashed in. The whole shebang will set you back a whopping $13.95, but that's because of Whisk's commitment to only the best ingredients.  The portion ain't skimpy either.

"The beef is grass-fed and usually comes from Vermont,"  says Kristin.  "Occasionally we get it from other places in the country, but mostly there.  We always knew we wanted to sell a burger, but ground beef is best when it's fresh. So we chose Friday to be our 'Big Friday Burger' day and intend to sell out. People seem to eat salads at the beginning of the week, and by Thursday they want burritos, burgers, steak, etc. It would have been a waste to have 'Big Burger Monday'."

Then Chef Brendan went the extra mile and surprised us with a preview of the 5/29 burger -- on paper and the plate. 

Before I could say bresaola bro was bogarting the burger preview. It's cool though.  When it comes to beef, I don't mind sharing, and I'm not about to deprive this growing, sporting carnivore from his protein fix.

The cool thing you'll notice about the restaurant is its multi-generational clientele. On a regular afternoon here you'll find high school kids, young professionals, old professionals, singles, couples, soccer moms and families young and old -- all with the same uncomplicated desire, a common psychographic, if you will, summed up neatly in a sign painted on the window: "Good Food Served Here." It draws a crowd, because the restaurant stays true to its vision on a consistent basis. Kristin updates the menu daily online with specials from Brendan's kitchen depending on what's fresh, local and organic. My first encounter was few months ago for my Kitchen Interviews blog, when I interviewed Kristin about the concept and the restaurant's intimate ambiance.

"When we started out we were just going to be a catering outfit, hence the small space,"  adds Kristin.  "With that business being so seasonal, it started to make sense to offer lunch, and early dinner and takeaway. Things just took off from there."

We hear the pair is scouting for a bigger home to accommodate their growing scale. You build it, and bro and I will come!

Hungry for more meat patty action?  Our critic Lee rates the city's finest for Burger Battle '09, his Cafe story in this week's paper, on stands now.

Whisk Gourmet Foods & Catering
(786) 268-8350
4702 S. Le Jeune Rd.
Coral Gables, Fl. 33146
Monday - Friday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday: available for catering only, the restaurant is closed.
Sunday: closed (catering minimums apply)

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Jackie Sayet