Since we were downtown, we decided to do lunch there. And I'm going to amend my rule of "Only Northside restaurants will be reviewed here" to "Only Northside restaurants, unless they have Richard Blais". I'm just fascinated by that guy and what he does to food. I may blog about my opinions of the guy later when I get a chance.
So anyways, we ended up at Flip, Blais's new burger joint, for lunch. Flip is part of that growing trend of taking something incredibly common and making it with premium ingredients and attention to detail. Blais is the "creative consultant", which means he designed the menu, but someone else executes it. From what I understand (and also from what I witnessed today), he's pretty hands on about making sure that vision is accurately represented.
Flip is cool. Very, very cool. We were seated in the back at a bar where we could see the kitchen and watch them put the finishing touches on each plate before serving. There's another bar, with mirrors and HD TVs and plush stools as well. The booths look very comfortable and plush as well. Next time I'm bringing a big group so we can snag one. The colors are bright and busy. It's almost a bit TOO busy for my tastes, but then I spend my working day trying to get people to calm down, not jazz up.
Our attention was immediately attracted by the barman whiping a batch of toasted marshmallow with liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen is a Blais trademark, so it was pretty cool to see it in action. In fact, we were so impressed, we ordered a couple Krispy Kreme shakes ourselves, which were still smoking when they were brought to us.
These were perfect. The ratio of ice cream and milk was just right. The donut had been pulverized, so other than that yummy sweetness, the only sign of it was a faint gritty texture. And due to the super cooling, it stayed chill and firm all through out our meal.
I was going to order a plain Flip burger initially (classic burger, with lettuce, tomato, etc.), but was sorely tempted by the more adventersome choices. I ended up choosing a Po Boyger, a patty made of ground shrimp, topped with Old Bay mayo, shredded lettuce, and a fried lemon.
This was pretty tasty. The fried lemon was a bit strong though. I'd order it again. I also got a side of fries, which were crispy and airy, and lightly seasoned with salt and chives. Not much potato flavor to them, but not bad either.
My husband got a real winner though. He ordered the Philly cheesesteak burger.
It's a beef patty smothered with green bell peppers and onions, and a dollop of Cheeze Whiz. It came out like canned whipped cream. That's awesome. The beef was cooked medium rare and was tender and juicy and full of big, beefy flavor. He ordered the vodka battered onion rings with his. I'm not a big fan of onion rings, but I took a nibble of the breading. It was light and crunchy, much like my French Fries.
While we were eating, Richard Blais came in and worked the room a bit, saying hello to other guests and allowing people to take pictures with him. I didn't speak to him, but in the small dining space, it was easy to see that he was a nice guy who enjoyed meeting his fans. In fact, the first person he made a beeline for, was a middle school aged girl out for lunch with her mother. Blais spent the longest talking to them of everyone. It was very cute seeing how star struck the girl was by her encounter with him.
Soo...Flip. I would definitely come back to this one. The shakes alone are worth the drive down. I really want to try some of their other burgers too.