Trouble With Toast

Flip is No Flop | December 17, 2008

Ever since Top Chef runner-up Richard Blais left Home earlier this year, Atlanta has been abuzz, wondering what his next culinary move would be.  For now, at least, Chef Blais has landed as creative director of Flip, an upscale burger boutique off Howell Mill Road.  Having missed the burger boom in DC (which saw the opening of, among others, fellow Top Chef-er Spike’s joint in Capitol Hill), I was very excited to see and taste how Chef Blais would bring his unique food vision to an item as iconic as the hamburger.

Fiance and I visited on Friday night; the wait for a table at around 7 PM was only 15-20 minutes, but we snagged two seats at the bar almost immediately. Also almost immediately, we saw rB walking around and gladhandling. He needs a haircut.

The menu is divided into beef and non-beef burgers, and sides are a la carte.  The burgers aren’t mini, but they’re not full-sized either, so the idea is to get 1-2 per person (though one bartender confessed that she watched a guest devour 5 in one sitting).  We started with 2 burgers and 2 sides. The pork belly and cheese burger ($7.50), which was Flip’s play on a bacon cheeseburger, was tasty and perfectly cooked (which is funny, because the server didn’t ask how I’d like it done–but it came out rare to medium rare, which suits me just fine), but I really couldn’t taste the pork belly. The pickled cukes were a highlight of the toppings, which also included onion, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayo. The shrimp po boyger ($8.50) was amazing–the patty had great texture, and the fried lemon and Old Bay mayonnaise were lovely compliments. In terms of sides, the vodka-battered onion rings ($4) were wonderfully crunchy, with just the right proportion of batter to onion. The remoulade dipping sauce was nice, too. The sweet potato tots ($4.50), while tasty, were WAY WAY WAY oversalted. The portion was also fairly small for the price (I didn’t have either of those complaints with the onion rings).

We were still a little hungry, so we ordered the codfish burger ($8.50) and a Krispy Kreme shake ($7). Sadly, the shake came out first. Well, only the timing was sad–the shake was happy, happy, happy! I mean, it tasted EXACTLY like the iconic glazed donut. Except better, because it was frosty and creamy. Strange how Chef Blais took something so delicious when hot, and turned it into a fabulous chilly treat. Bravo.  The cod burger was very good, though I could have done with less tartar sauce and my fiance could have done with less of the pea shoot salad (personal tastes, what can I say).

Service at the bar was mostly good, though one bartender clearly outshone the other. Beer selection was decent, but I found the wines to be unvaried and overpriced. For example, there were only 5 red and 5 whites by the glass, and a glass of Hess chardonnay went for $12 (which is more than I’ve paid for a bottle of the same in some instances). I’ll stick with the suds until they start playing around with crazy cocktails.

I think this place is going to explode.  It’s an interesting concept.  Its price point is relatively reasonable. It’s family friendly. It’s going to be awesome in the warmer weather when they can open their patio. And, in all likelihood, it’s going in my regular rotation.

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2 Comments »

  1. Was Richard’s, ahem, *wife* there?

    Krispy Kreme shake? That might warrant a trip to Atlanta.

    Comment by freckledk — December 19, 2008 @ 6:16 pm

  2. Haha, no wife in sight. Though I have seen the whole Blais family, wife and baby included, out and about in various Atlanta spots. They are actually a very cute clan.

    And the Krispy Kreme shake, combined with actual Krispy Kreme donuts (there’s a shop right down the street from my place), might merit a trip.

    Comment by bettyjoan — December 21, 2008 @ 5:56 pm


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