If you've perused the New Times Best of Broward-Palm Beach edition already, you might've noticed something curious. We named Rok:Brgr the Best New Restaurant but gave Big City Dogs our Best Burger award. So, how could the best new restaurant that also happens to be a burger joint not win Best Burger?
First, an explanation of why Rok:Brgr beat out many excellent new restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach counties this year. Quite simply, the place nails the gastropub
concept better than any of them -- and there sure have been many
gastropubs in the past few years. It's clear the ownership scrutinized
everything. Inventive dishes like the lobster corn dogs are the kind of
thing that will likely be copied on many other menus. That's true with
the drinks too, which include an old fashioned made with bacon-infused
Maker's Mark. Then there's the ambiance, which was clearly scrutinized
down to the cool outdoor bar that faces in, the antique brick on the
walls, and the alt rock that gets progressively louder as Himmarshee
But if there's one complaint I've heard about Rok:Brgr, it's that people don't want to spend double digits on a burger.
They range from $9 for the simple classic to a whopping $20 for the
king, a Waygu burger that comes topped with foie gras and a red wine
reduction. Of course, most of those I've heard complain haven't been,
because if they try the morning glory -- a beautiful number with
American cheese, bacon, and a fried egg -- there's little argument that
this is our Best New Restaurant.
That said, there's a
cost-per-bite analysis that has to go into the Best Burger calculation,
and there, Big City Dogs comes out slightly ahead. Big City Dogs' burger
has also been scrutinized down to every detail. It starts with a fresh
and fluffy bun buttered and griddled. The toppings are everything you'd
want -- mayo, mustard, ketchup, tomato, lettuce, grilled onions, bacon,
and pickle spears (that's right, the kind of spears you'd find on a
Chicago hot dog, and they provide a great crunch). Oh, and the secret to
the patty: The fresh-ground burger is fortified with lard. This is no
foie gras-topped gastropub number, but it's fantastic, and it's gold for
So there's good news to all of this: We seem
to be in the era of hamburger restaurants, and for residents of Broward
and Palm Beach counties, we've got two damned good burger joints with
Rok:Brgr and Big City Dogs.
Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB. Follow Eric Barton on Twitter: @ericbarton.