August 18, 2010
TV celebrity chefs: You watch them week after week on TV. Based on 30-60 minutes of edited video, you come to conclusions about their food. You build expectations. Then when you finally get the opportunity to try their food, they either meet or don’t meet those expectations.
For those that meet them, everything’s fine and dandy.
However, for the ones that don’t, you leave more disappointed than you normally would because of those stupid expectations.
Flip Burger, started by Top Chef’s Richard Blais, is one of those restaurants that falters because of preconceived expectations. It was one of two restaurants I absolutely HAD to go to while in Atlanta (the other one, Woodfire Grill, was also chosen due to its link to TV stardom) so yes, I had expectations for Flip Burger. I don’t think they were unreasonably high – I wanted a good burger and, as with any restaurant, I wanted exactly what I ordered.
(And I got the good burger…it just wasn’t what I was expecting.)
Honestly, the downfall in this entire burger was the inclusion of the word “Korean” in its description. If it hadn’t claimed to be a “Korean BBQ burger”, I may have considered the burger a success. However, as a girl who has been to her share of AYCE KBBQ, I expected to taste (what I consider) distinct Korean flavors, ones reminiscent of gochujang (i.e. Korean red pepper paste), sesame oil and salt or that tangy Korean salad dressing. (I realize now that I basically expected Kogi in burger form. Is that unreasonable for Atlanta? I don’t know.)
However, topped with pickled carrots and radishes (like those found in Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches) and sesame krispies (similar to Japanese sesame/rice crackers), the burger I received seemed to be influenced by all of Asia, rather than just Korea. It was supposed to include a kimchi ketchup – I didn’t get any hint of kimchi anywhere in the burger. And although its American wagyu patty was moist and juicy, I couldn’t judge the burger for the beef alone.
While the burger didn’t quite live up to its description, the nutella and burnt marshmallow milkshake was exactly that. This milkshake is not for the faint of heart (or, more accurately, for the lack of sweet tooth). I could detect the the scent of toasted sugar as it was being brought out and I could taste the heavy nutella flavor in every spoonful. Delicious as it was, it was overwhelming halfway through the glass – I just can’t consume that much sugar. Plus, I didn’t see a drop of liquid nitrogen during my meal! (I thought all the milkshakes at Flip Burger were supposed to be made with liquid nitrogen – you know, as an homage to Blais’ molecular gastronomy background – but maybe I was mistaken.)
You know, I really feel bad (almost guilty) that the above review is all based on expectations – I understand that some experiences are best when taken at face value, without all this background hype floating around. But at the end of the day…Flip Burger just didn’t meet my expectations. There’s nothing more I can say but that.