Prairie Dogs – Great Potential; Needs Time

prairie_1I really wanted to love this place. With two of my favorite dishes, burgers and dogs covered with creative toppings, I was hoping for a great couple of options. The website espoused local, fresh and natural ingredients, the combinations looked great and it was in a neighborhood which is beginning to boom with great food.

prairie_2I arrived at 600 on a midweek night and there were a couple of people at the bar and a few at tables. The interior is well done, relaxing with a great Marilyn Monroe poster adorning the rear wall and the entire left wall is covered with a chalk board menu. The owner (I think it was the owner) approached and I asked for the “Tree Fort Root Beer” on the menu. They did not have it and he suggested, and I ordered, the Boylan’s Birch Beer.

prairie_4I looked through the menu and ordered the Bahn Mi Joy Dog and a BYO Burger with American cheese, crisp onion strings, and B&B pickles. He suggested that a small order of fries would be a great accompaniment.

prairie_3The Dog was all-beef in a natural casing and topped with char siu pork, chicken liver pate, pickled carrot, daikon, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro and a schmear of shoyu mayo. The dog was surprisingly mild in flavors with just a hint of saltiness. The pork was almost tasteless with a boiled meat flavor and texture. The liver was the highlight of the ingredients and delivered a good amount of flavor, the carrots and daikon were crunchy and also flavorful. I was hoping for a bright bold set of flavors in this combination and it just fell flat and was a bit disappointing

prairie_6The burger had great potential. The meat had great flavor and was cooked with a loose grind, but a little sparse at probably 4 ounces. The strips of bacon added just a hint of smokiness and saltiness and the American cheese was creamy and perfectly melted. The crispy onion rings delivered a touch of pungency and crunch and the B&B pickles were excellent. Unfortunately, the kitchen overcooked the burger to medium-well, eliminating all of the juiciness, and then over-salted the patty before placing it on the bun. A little more care may have made for a great burger.

The kitchen took both a similar and slightly different approach in the preparation of the fries. First they were under-cooked, and then they were over-salted. Not a good combination.

Overall I still love the concept and if they can get the correct balance of flavors and instruct the kitchen to prepare as ordered and as the product deserves this may become a really good burger and dog place, but they still have growing pains to address.

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