Sunday, July 18, 2010
2901 12th Avenue South
You walk out of a burger joint and a half-hour later you’re at the farmer’s market chatting with the farmer that raised the beef you just ate. That’s pretty cool. And the quality of the beef and local sourcing is one of the things that make Burger Up a welcome, albeit expensive, addition to the dining scene.
Burgers using locally sourced, grass-fed beef have been around for years in Nashville fine dining joints. What makes Burger Up different is that it combines the quality ingredients with a bustling and festive vibe. It may not be a typical burger joint, but it manages to give that comfortable feel, even in a modern, well-designed room.
Bite into the Woodstock burger and you can taste the sweet and dense beef immediately. It comes from Triple L Ranch in Franklin, and it is different from what you get at a typical burger spot. Benton’s bacon provides salty pop and Jack Daniel’s maple ketchup some zip. The soft, fresh buns are made in house and they bring it all together. Interesting- no tomato or lettuce for some burgers and veggies for others. They clearly have thought through what actually adds to the flavor, not just providing an obligatory topping. The meaty sweet potato fries arrive standing up in a silver cup. They’re a bit floppy and kinda mushy, but still rather tasty. Throw in a Yazoo Pale Ale and you have the makings of a fine lunch. The price tag for this: $22 with tax and tip. Is it worth it? We argue yes. If you were simply paying extra money for hipster surroundings we wouldn’t say that. What you do get is a better burger.
The lamb burger is juicy and also featuring a dense consistency. Melted boursin cheese and peppermint Dijon puts it over the top. It’s an excellent combination of flavors. You can smell the truffle oil as soon as the truffle fries arrive. The bartender recommended the honey Dijon aioli and they worked well together. A stack of Vidalia onion rings was unremarkable although not unsatisfying. They make a big deal out of the various condiments here, even having someone work a condiment station of sorts. The spicy lemon lime remoulade perked up the onion rings.
Veggie Eater: OK, so the bar is really tall. And if your ethnic heritage harkens back to Sicilian washer women, you practically have to climb the bar stool and perform a dismount upon exit. That aside, the space has soul. The old barn boards (rehabbed? Distressed to look old?) add to the overall charm. On to the food. We started with the cremini mushrooms in a Yazoo beer batter; the mushrooms were juicy with an almost tempura like batter. These are served with ranch ketchup. My quibble was with the parmesan dusting; it’s superfluous; it doesn’t stick to the shrooms and then you look like a yahoo as you try to scoop it up with your fingertips. I opted for the Marathon, which is a quinoa black bean burger. The quinoa adds great texture to the burger, but the burger was a bit dry. Perhaps the mixture is too difficult to keep together on the grill if it’s moister. It’s serviced with lettuce, tomato, red onion and a cilantro lime crème fraiche. It could have used more of the crème fraiche to even out the dryness and although the crème fraiche was advertised with cilantro and lime, they did not appear to be willing to make an appearance on this visit. We opted to sub truffle fries and onion rings for the usual fries. The truffle fries are hearty, greasy, and a bit limp. As you get to the bottom of the silver cup housing them, they are downright soggy. The flavor was great, but a bit of a texture violation. There are all sorts of fabulous looking salads and a Portobello burger as well to entice a veggie eater to this burger joint. If I lived in the 12 South area, I think I’d probably visit regularly.
Meat Eater: I still love the divey, greasy burger joints in town. To pay a few dollars more for something different doesn’t seem out of line. You gotta love a burger place with a bunch of small batch bourbons, interesting wine selections and some decent beers. Some folks have complained about the noise, but I think the loud nature of the room matches the fun vibe of the place. If you’re looking for a quiet, romantic dinner, go elsewhere. First visit for one was $22 as previously mentioned. The second visit for two was $50 for two burgers, two beers, sides and an appetizer.