I hope you burger fans can never get enough of a good thing.
Burger Tap, yet another contender for your burger dollars, recently landed in Morningside. Given how well- planned the restaurant seems to be, it should come as no surprise that the team behind it has done this before, and plans to do it again . The masterminds behind the concept include some of the founders of yogurt franchise Yoforia.
However saturated the gourmet burger market may be and however unoriginal the concept has become, there is always a little more room as long as the food holds up.
To that end, the Burger Tap crew teamed with Los Angeles’ Sean Park as executive chef to create an Asian-inspired menu for their take on the gourmet burger and beer concept. Park has worked in sushi in L.A. for the past six years, most recently at WP24 at the Ritz-Carlton.
Burger Tap has a brightly lit, modern, industrial feel, with a blend of stainless-steel beams, stained wood and colorful design prints of words like “desire” and “gourmet.” The setup is fast casual; diners order at the counter and perhaps get a pint of one of the 25 beers on tap, take a number and seat themselves.
Park’s menu keeps things à la carte free, so don’t expect a laundry list of toppings for custom burger builds. Each burger is a deliberately designed flavor profile. He smartly keeps the menu parsed down, focusing on a handful of burgers and sides, and avoids the brain-scrambling overload that plagues other fast-casual competitors in town.
Brace yourselves, because this next part seems to throw folks for a loop: The burgers are rectangular.
Despite what your eyes may initially tell you, the oddly shaped burgers — about the length of two square sliders — aren’t as bite-size as you think. Each starts with a grind of brisket, chuck and short rib and comes in a quarter-pound single or half-pound double for $2 more. Purists will enjoy the freedom to have their meat cooked to order, a welcome change from the many overcooked-by-default patties in town.
For those eager to dive head first into the gourmet, start with the truffle burger ($5.80, single). Park covers a mass of melted Gruyère cheese, fried onions and garlic mayo with a white truffle glaze that gives more of a hint of the unmistakable pungent fungus than a wallop. Aside from keeping the price in this stratosphere, this restraint doesn’t overpower the beef. It is more of an ensemble role than a starring one, and it works well.
Given my policy that egg makes anything better, it comes as no surprise that I make quick work of the breakfast burger ($5.80, single). The addition of crispy hash browns to the bacon, egg and cheeseburger makes this a hearty heart-stopper, even with only a single patty. Or, you can always go the traditional route with the classic, topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion and familiar BT sauce.
However, the sweet barbecue sauce dripping from my spicy southwestern ($3.80, single) dominates even the fried jalapeño slices and jack cheese. There is no hope of tasting the beef when the sauce is so strong that you miss the heat from the peppers.
Aside from their shape, the buns add to the burger experience . Part Hawaiian sweet roll, part Krystal bun, the soft and sweet breading gets a slather of butter and a crisping on the grill before serving.
At first, I was unsure of my side of panko-crusted Asian sweet potato fries ($2.80). But I discovered that, unlike the traditional orange-fleshed variety, these have a firmer texture and a slightly nutty flavor that makes finishing a basket easier than the sweeter versions more commonly seen. My side of fried zucchini ($2.80), cut french-fry style and breaded with panko, was also a welcome change from the norm.
Frankly, any of the sides at Burger Tap are a solid choice, except the fries ($2). The too-thinly sliced fried potatoes fall flat, and become unwieldy when you must fit 15 in your hand just to get a mouthful. Instead, try a side of the lightly salted and crispy fresh cut chips ($2).
Ultimately, Burger Tap doesn’t reinvent the genre, and may not be worth a special trip across town, but folks in the area should definitely give it a shot.Burger Tap 1409 N. Highland Ave., Suite D, Atlanta, 404-249-7191 Food: Asian-inspired burgers and sides, and an impressive beer selection Service: friendly Best dishes: truffle burger, Asian sweet potato fries Vegetarian selections: one burger and the side dishes Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Hours: 11:30 a.m-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays Children: family-friendly Parking: limited street parking, plus parking in a few adjacent lots Reservations: no Wheelchair access: yes Smoking: no Noise level: moderate to loud Patio: yes Takeout: yes