NOM, NOM, NOM, NOM, NOM (3 NOMS out of 5)
More than a few of my 300 "Friends" on Facebook have been discussing their recent trips to the new hip burger joint cropping up all over the Pittsburgh region; the cleverly monikered-Burgatory.
In my research, I discovered the flagship restaurant had been established in 2011 and created specifically for the people of da Burgh. I know it's 2015 but when you live almost 50 miles away in an area known as East of Bumfuck, you tend to get your information a little late. But with a menu boasting hormone-free meat and a decadent "create your own burger option" it sounded like it could be worth the trip.
During our visit to Burgatory, we were greeted by a spunky color changing little fountain.
The frenetic spitting and spewing waters felt welcoming as my husband, Ed and I walked toward the metal and glass doors into the cavernous bowels of Burgatory! Cue demonic giggles. Yes, I said giggles.
At 9 p.m. the restaurant was dimly lit. I guess for ambiance. We were escorted through the restaurant by a lower level female minion whose fatigued smile was painted on like the Joker's.
As we made our way through the shadowy maze of customers I stumbled into an unforgiving metal chair and fell into a customer’s table. As I righted myself I clung to what I thought was one of Burgatory's signature pillowy brioche hamburger buns. This was not so. What helped break my fall was a soccer mom's inflated breast. I apologized and attempted to correct the situation by complimenting her on how natural her fake boob felt.
Our Minion took that as her cue to shepherd my embarrassed husband and myself to a table far away from the woman but unfortunately the place was packed asshole to appetite. So we were seated in a booth where there were three tables. When the tables were pulled apart it made room for 3 small groups of people. This put us in close quarters with two college girls. They were not hot college girls. They were lukewarm at best. Oh well.
This arrangement did not make Ed happy. He enjoys consuming great quantities of food in the comfort of his own personal space. I was not happy either since I enjoy cursing and mocking others at a distance. But we decided to let the food determine our experience and not just our...experience.
I'm going to attempt being serious now...wish me luck. I don't know how long it will last.
We perused the limited but very interesting menu. Now let me qualify this by saying there were limited offerings-meaning the choice of dinners not burger choices. Because as one would expect with a name like Burgatory, there were burgers. Plenty of carnage filled burgers.
But Burgatory is also known for their shakes too, virgin or sullied with adult libations. With slick names like Grand Dad's Secret, featuring bourbon and caramel and Espresso Love, drunk on Patron XO and well...espresso they were marketed to be delicious! A few tables around us ordered the Campfire S'more shake. A giant marshmallow rested its fluffy laurels on gobs of thick ice cream and it looked awesome. I wanted one. But I hate marshmallows. So...never mind.
Like any good burger and shake joint, Burgatory's menu boasts appetizers and fries too. Fresh cut fries with an assload of topping, sauces and condiments to be exact.
Here’s a cute cat drinking from my water glass that has nothing to do with the review. You’re welcome.
So after choosing and re-choosing and choosing again, we finally decided on the Blue Cheese and IPA Fries. Sounds good doesn't it? The Bangkok Steak Fries, which were not fries at all but tempura fried portabella mushrooms with a peanut Thai dipping sauce. And the Morty's Steakhouse Burger, crusted with peppercorns, horseradish cheddar haystack onions and cabernet sauce.
I tucked into the fries first because well...they came first. I shoved a forkful in my mouth and waited for the ecstasy that my young cute waiter had said would ravage my mouth and make me bendable like Gumby. At least I think that's what he said. Well, that's what I heard in my head. As I chewed, the flavor of the IPA, (IPA means Indian Pale Ale beer for those of you who are not beer connoisseurs or alcoholics), was overpowering and bitter. I love the soapy flavor of blue cheese but it was put in the corner like Baby from Dirty Dancing. All I could taste was beer logged potato and green onions. Okay, this was not a winner.
So I delved in the generously portioned tempura battered shrooms. These bastards were 6 inch long. They were mutants! I hacked into one with my fork and chopped it into bite sized pieces. I drizzled a little Thai dipping sauce on the morsel and 'nommed' it like a boss. The sauce was nice. A touch heavy handed on the mustard and vinegar but quite tasty. The battered shroom itself was....ehhh. Without the sauce it didn't have much flavor. If I didn't know better, I could have been eating the woman's squishy but resilient fake boob, just a little greasier. Luckily, I do know better. And there were more green onions as garnish. Holy green onions Batman!
If you look closely, you can see a green onion in the leftovers we took home.
"How's the burger?"
And he said...
I took a bite, since my palate is more refined than his. Shut up it is. And as the meat stroked my taste buds (pervert) I was overcome by familiarity. Where did I taste this before? And within seconds the little hamster in my head stopped dead in its wheel and screamed, 'Oh my God it's Burger King!' Yep. The 12 dollar burger was comparable to the flame broiled taste of BK. Which unfortunately, I am not a fan. Sorry, I suck.
Okay, but what about the toppings?
I'm glad you asked. The horseradish cheese, fried onion haystacks and cabernet sauce weren't strong enough to cut through the smoky cremains of the cow that died for your sins and eating pleasure.
Was it terrible?
No. It wasn't terrible. I am just not a fan of my meat tasting like charcoal briquettes. Now, if you enjoy and seek out that flavor, then this burger is all YOU.
At the end of the meal, we were given vanilla flavored fortune cookies. My fortune was a bit sketchy.
Hummm.....kind of disturbing Burgatory. Will I dye of salmonella? Get it? DYE. Never mind and shut up. It amused me.
So how does Burgatory rate?
I give it 3 Noms out of 5. So....Nom Nom Nom.
The presentation of the dishes was casual with a hint of devil may care- while the delivery was quick as a bunny by the nubile wait staff. Many of which were barely fetuses when I started college in the early 90's. Damn I'm old.
The décor was nice and warm. Neutral tones with some splashes of bold color made the dining experience pleasurable. Although a tad more light would have been nice. (Sorry about your free mammogram Boob Lady.) But maybe if I was on a date instead of out with my husband, I could have appreciated the mood lighting for some stealth 'reach-arounds' and a little dry humping in the corner booth. Oh wait, never mind, we were seated butt cheek to butt cheek with strangers!
But I digress, speaking of butt cheeks, the bathrooms were very clean; modern with their granite and metal, yet strangely inviting. I didn't mind sitting on those seats without a crab guard. Kudos!
On the downside, I was not impressed with the food. It didn't measure up to the hype. But to be fair, I think I need to sample a little more of the menu. Especially the booze-filled shakes!
All in all, I'd go back. People of da Burgh seem to enjoy what Burgatory has to offer but they also like the Pirates too...
Any hate mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out their website for their full menu!