Going in for the big bite at Bobby's Burger Palace
Pete and I enjoy watching the Food Network, especially "Iron Chef America" and "Throwdown with Bobby Flay". One night before Giftmas, I was having trouble getting to sleep, so I turned on the Food Network. "Throwdown" was on and we laughed so much--the challenge was to make a French Yule Log called a "Bouche de Noel." We're still laughing over it, especially Bobby's pronounciation of the word "Bouche". Anyhoo, we met up with my friend Madelyn last weekend who told us Bobby Flay opened Bobby's Burger Palace at the Monmouth Mall recently. Today we decided to check it out.
On the way to the restaurant, we were so sure we were going to meet Bobby. One of my shore-dwelling coworkers said she heard he is there all the time! I even planned what I would say to him if I met him: "My favorite epi of ICA was Battle Peanut. I loved it when you said the Pad Thai was Thailand's homage to the peanut, and Jeffrey Steingarten said, "No it's not!"" Yeah, maybe you had to have watched it.
Anyway, once we approached the BBP, I was pretty sure we weren't going to see Bobby. There was a line into the vestibule of the restaurant. We traversed a Disney-esque queue and then made it to the front where a cashier took our order. We were given a number sign and were told we could sit anywhere we wanted. The restaurant had communal seating at long tables. We were able to get two seats after about a minute of waiting. The drinks were delivered in a few minutes and the burgers shortly after that. Their male waiters are heavily tattooed. The milkshakes were really delicious--my "dark chocolate" one was definitely chocolately (maybe even too chocolatey) and Pete's vanilla shake was right on target. Maybe next time I'll try the "black and white" shake. I had the Bobby Blue Burger, which is blue cheese and some kind of sauce. I opted out of the bacon. Pete had the Palace Classic burger. We both asked for ours "crunchified", which is Bobby's term for serving the burger with potato chips on it. I thought the chips were the best I ever tasted. Pete thought they were just ok. Pete thought the fries were really good. I agreed--not greasy, not brown, right amount of crispness, quite nice. The burgers themselves were good too.
The ambiance is a bit "New York". You get your food, you eat, you leave. No hanging around this place. Also, we were seated near the window where the waitstaff dumps the used plates, and we could see the hands of the dishwasher sorting through the mess--now there's a job I don't want to have! We could also see into the kitchen, where we kept looking for Bobby.
The total cost was $31, a bit pricey for not having full waiter service and the overall ambiance. If Bobby had been there, it would have been priceless.
The title is a homage to Madelyn. She watched this place being built and wondered who Bobby is and why we should care about his burgers.
More pix are on my Flickr Random 2009 album.