There's a scene from a 1981 episode of "Little House on the Prairie" (my sister made me watch it) with a man in a white suit, hat, and Fu Manchu goatee who pulls up to the town's restaurant. He proposes turning the place into part of his new chain of fried chicken places. The restaurant's owner laughs the man off her porch, saying he's wasting his time.
Col. Sanders, or at least his spitting image, replies with a smile: "Time will tell. Time will tell."
Of course, he was right in 1981, when every town in America had or was soon getting its own KFC and McDonald's. And he's right again three decades later, when every other new restaurant seems to be a high-end burger joint.
Rok: Brgr in downtown Fort Lauderdale's Himmarshee Village is the newest incarnation of the one-plate concept. And luckily, they make a damn fine burger.
The concept here was to create a space with the feel of a prohibition-era speakeasy, with
the kind of comfort food anybody would want with a pint of something
cold. The look is all exposed brick and leather, with a bar that spans
half the space on one side. Windows open up to Himmarshee, with stools
outside facing inwards.
Chef and co-owner Marc Falsetto created a
menu featuring burgers but with a fair share of steaks, mom's meatloaf,
and other comfort foods.
Like all burger joints, the place may
live or die on the meat, and Falsetto has certainly thought out his
"secret blend." He orders certified Black Angus from a supplier in
Nebraska, and his American kobe comes from Mishima Ranch in California.
He grinds it daily.
The concept even spans the drink menu:
Martinis come with a blue cheese-stuffed olive wrapped in bacon, and a
pair of cocktails come with a bacon-infused bourbon.
corn dogs ($12 for four) combine lobster meat with a sweet batter more
akin to apple fritters. Outside, they had the texture of the crispy
edges of funnel cake, while inside the batter and the meat melded
together in a crabcake-like texture. That one appetizer answers any
question whether Rok: Brgr can survive the burger joint trend.
The fry trio plate ($10) includes hand-cut fries, truffled numbers, and sweet potato fries as tender as mashed potatoes inside.
include a Mediterranean with wonderfully gamey lamb and cooling taziki,
a Las Olas with gruyere and wagyu, and an Australian with a fried egg
over pineapple and beets.
The beers are cold. The fries are crispy and salty. And the burgers? Yeah, Rok: Brgr is good enough to survive the trend.