Sunday, January 2, 2011

American Burger Bar – St. Paul, MN

Last week, I got talked out of having a burger for lunch, but I was still craving one when I got home. D.Rough had been talking about going to this American Burger Bar in downtown St. Paul, so we decided we needed to go there to cure my craving. I’m super glad we did.

The inside of this place is old school. Like mobster/gangster old school. Dark wood, dark carpet, red leather booths, and small alcoves with velvet curtains where you can have some privacy to whack people who haven’t paid up. Super awesome, even with the lighting super bright. Apparently, this place hasn’t changed much since the prohibition days, and I’m glad for it. It also used to be Matty B’s which was kind of a guys hangout for steaks and cigars and such but I’m glad it got a new lease on life with this new concept.

The concept is burgers. They have other things, but there’ not any point in getting anything else, when they have perfected burgers. Everything on the menu is amazing-sounding and it’s very difficult to decide what you want here. We asked a lot of questions of our waitress, but she stayed with us and made sure we got what we needed.

I needed a DRINK was what I needed. I ordered a Reno Rottweiler – Kahlua, vanilla vodka, cream, and root beer. D.Rough also needed a drink, so she went with the Ab Pear – Absolut Pear, pineapple, and a splash of sour. The drinks came out in plenty of time while we struggled with narrowing it down. Rottweiler was top notch. I will get this again and probably make a pitcher of these at home.

We also talked ourselves out of an appetizer, since we knew we’d be eating plenty. They all sounded awesome though. Next time, maybe.

The restaurant puts flags next to their house specialty burgers, which made me laugh considering the burger I had my eye on was called “South of the Border”. It just made me laugh. Sorry. D.Rough built her own burger with Angus Beef (not the awesome men’s roller derby skater we love), caramelized onions, blue cheese, and jalapeno bacon. Well played, D.Rough! We also had trouble deciding on the fry situation. I’m not usually a fry guy unless there’s something special about them. We asked the waitress about them, since the menu has sweet potato fries, truffle-parmesan fries, and onions rings for an upcharge. She talked us into truffle fries and I wanted onions rings with mine.

The food didn’t take long to arrive. I snapped a couple of photos of these awesome things and jumped right in. I wish it wasn’t so dark in there, so you could really saw how large and awesome constructed these burgers were. Since I didn’t explain what the South of the Border burger was, I’ll do it now. Black Angus topped with a Chorizo patty, jalapeno bacon, pepperjack cheese, onions, button mushrooms, spicy salsa, and guacamole on a ciabatta bun. This burger ruled on 13 levels and 5 continents. Holy crap was it good. It had a little bit of spice to it, nice guac flavor and was perfectly cooked to medium This thing was awesome. Aside from the burger, the onion rings were ginormous and tasty! Beer battered to perfection and easy for a 5-year old to pull the onions out to eat just the fried part – yup, I do that.

D.Rough’s burger was also fantastic. Plenty of blue cheese flavor and a little bit of zing from the jalapeno bacon. But the best part of hers was the incredible truffle-parmesan fries. They were very addicting and it was a struggle to share them – on both sides. Really, if you get these, don’t plan to share them.

Overall, this was a fantastic meal and completely satisfied my burger craving. Next time, I'll get a milkshake though! We know we’ll be back here to try a bunch of their other burgers. They have two happy hours here, including a late night happy hour after 10:30pm. The burgers are pretty pricey here (but worth it), so if you’re on a budget due to Christmas shopping sprees, show up after 10:30. You won’t be sorry.

Top 5 things about The American Burger Bar
1. South of the Border Burger
2. Truffle-Parmesan Fries
3. Build Your Own Burger
4. Reno Rottweiler
5. Super old-school swank (and amazing menu)

Bottom 5 things
1. It’s pricey for a burger place
2. We saw a guy with a girl he had clearly rented for the night go into the restroom together…
3. The place was deserted when we left – I hope it’s doing well so I can keep going back!
4. Ab Pear wasn’t all that awesome, frankly.
5. D.Rough’s martini glass had a vagina

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