Flipside (Fairfield) – Disappointing Burger

bl1The Best of the Gold Coast Awards were announced recently and one of the areas of personal interest was the winner in the Burger Category. When I saw that Flipside was this year’s winner I immediately placed this venue to the top of my must-try list. I visited a couple of years ago and it never made my “Best of…” list so I was curious if the burger was different from what I sampled.

Flipside is located on the Post Road slightly east of Brick Walk on the south side of the street. Parking is located in the lot behind Ring’s End. There is a long bar, indoor tables and booths plus seating outside for 40-45 guests. It was a beautiful evening so I decided the terrace would be a great way to enjoy a burger.

Burgers are very much front and center at Flipside. There are sixteen predetermined combinations or guests can mix and match from 9 “meats,” 27 different toppings and a variety of 12 sauces. “Meats” include beef, fried chicken, ahi tuna, turkey, salmon and that ever-present veggie burger. I would caution ordering some of the pre-determined offerings as you can save a little money if your order the same combination a la carte. Just check.

I ordered a 6-ounce beef patty (medium-rare) with bacon and American cheese. Fries are included and I decided to keep it simple with regular fries, versus substituting (for a small fee) with sweet potato fries or onion rings.

bl2When the burger arrived I cut it in half and was a little disappointed that it was more raw-rare than medium-rare. The meat had a decent flavor but nothing outstanding. There was no char whatsoever on the exterior and the kitchen forgot to place any seasoning on the patty. The bacon was well cooked and delivered just a touch of saltiness. The cheese was generous and well melted. The bun was in the same category as the other ingredients, basic and it was not grilled, straight from the bag to the plate. The other item of note was the burger tasted as if it was cooked on the same griddle as the onions, there was a significant oniony flavor on the meat.

The shoestring fries were also basic. They were somewhat greasy and most of them were limp, plus the seasoning was extremely inconsistent.

Overall it was an OK burger in an area that has numerous burgers that I view as better options. With all of the votes that Flipside is serving the best burger around I had high hopes and was disappointied.

Click to add a blog post for Flipside Burger Bar on Zomato

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CHIPS (Fairfield) – Best Pancakes in CT

For years I have heard about the pancakes at Chips in Fairfield. Year after year I see them rated as the best pancakes in CT. Time after time I have tried to eat there only to be met by 1+ hour waits. But today, it happened…we drove to Fairfield and there was no line. We were immediately seated, given the four page menu and waited for the pancakes.

While my wife and daughter looked at the egg options, I immediately decided on the chocolate chip pancakes with bananas. I enjoyed a couple of cups of coffee while we waited and then the plate arrived.

The stack of 5 large pancakes were filled with both chips and bananas plus more of each on top. Butter accompanied the pancakes. Most people place the syrup atop the pancakes, but I place on the plate and then dip each forkful. Dipping the pancakes versus topping with the syrup keeps the puffiness intact in each pancake, a definite game-changer. The first bite was fantastic, the pancakes delivered an airy texture and the flavor was outstanding. There was a certain nuttiness to the batter and the sweet chocolate chips were the perfect complement. Perfect texture and flavor.

After my first pancake breakfast at CHIPS I fully agree that the pancakes are the best I have eaten in CT.

Chip's Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Senor Salsa (Fairfield) Delivers Mexican-Inspired Flair

The taco craze is alive and well in Fairfield County and if you are looking for a large variety of tacos, and other Mexican inspired cuisine, head to Senor Salsa in Fairfield.

The menu begins with their Senor Salads where Romaine lettuce is combined with Cotija cheese, tomatoes and avocado and top with steak, shrimp or fish.  Then move to one of four quesadillas ranging from a classic steak or carnita, or choose a vegetarian variety filled with a mixture of wild mushrooms, served with guacamole, sour cream and salsa. The taco choices focus on the sea, with mahi mahi or shrimp, or look to the land by adding chicken or a vegetarian taco filled with grilled red and green peppers, caramelized onions, black beans, and salsa.

It is the Senor Burrito options that will grab your attention with ten different combinations. For the early risers, the breakfast burrito starts the day with eggs, chorizo, jack and cheddar cheese, avocado and salsa, or for the incredibly hungry diner, the overstuffed grilled burrito with a double portion of chicken, habanero jack cheese, salsa & guacamole, all wrapped in a tortilla and grilled (steak or carnita can be substituted for the chicken). And for those who cannot decide, order a combination platter and add a few chili rellenos to share.

Senor Salsa offers a wide variety of choices, from a breakfast burrito at the beginning of the day to combination platters to share with friends as the sun expires.

Senor Salsa Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Best Restaurant Burgers – #2 Chelsea / Match

This is not the first time I have written about the cheeseburger at Match and its sister restaurant Chelsea…they are both so great. I witnessed the creation of this masterpiece and it continues as an incredibly delicious array of flavors and textures. Chef Matt Storch continues to push the envelope with flavor combinations and the burgers at both of his restaurants are fantastic.

What separates this burger from the others is the Bacon-Cheese Béchamel sauce. Unlike any other cheese topping in my tour. And the French fries were also the top of the list.

bl2 chelseaThe “Chelsea Burger” and the “Match Burger” each delivered an incredible array of flavors. Chef Matt Storch’s burger started with Craft Saugatuck Butchery’s rich, grass fed short rib, chuck and brisket combination. After grilling to create a crisp char and smokiness, the burger was dipped in a Bacon-Cheese Béchamel, a process created by Chef Storch. Bacon bits sat atop the cheese-dipped burger to add saltiness and then sweet-sour onions finished this presentation. The burger was encased in a sweet onion brioche from the Good Bread Company in Port Chester, which added just a little more sweetness to the burger. The fries at Match were the best I tasted, and Chef Storch told me he worked years developing his technique; crunchy on the exterior, soft and moist on the interior and were the perfect complement to the burger.

See the full list of the Best Restaurant Burgers from Greenwich to New Haven at http://www.ctbites,com:

http://www.ctbites.com/home/2013/5/19/ten-best-restaurant-burgers-greenwich-to-new-haven-2013.html

Ciao

Match on Urbanspoon

The Chelsea on Urbanspoon

Jfood’s Top 10 Bar Burgers – Greenwich to New Haven #2 Super Duper Weenie

The First Runner Up for Best Bar Burger after tasting close to 70 different variations in restaurants comes from a haunt that is know for serving one of the best hot dogs in these parts. But as I stood in line one day I saw a little sign for “The Natural” and decided to give it a shot. And boy was I pleasantly surprised, it was absolutely delicious.

sdw the natural

The “Natural” burger was 6 ounces of delicious chuck and sirloin from Newtown’s Butcher’s Best Market. Owners Gary Zemola, John & Lorin Pellegrino created a very distinct flavor in the meat and the kitchen perfectly seasoned the patty. It was served on a bun from Chaves Bakery (plain or potato depending on the season) that allowed the flavor of the burger to shine. The grill-master cooked it to a perfect medium-rare. The bacon and cheese were excellent additions. You may also want to try one of Zemola’s house-made toppings (recipes are the same for over a decade) to add other great flavors and textures.

See the full list at:

http://www.ctbites.com/home/2013/5/5/top-10-bar-burgers-from-greenwich-to-new-haven-2013.html

(photo courtesy of Super Duper Weenie)

Super Duper Weenie on Urbanspoon

The Chelsea (Fairfield) – Burger From Paradise


20121124-231200 Chelsea Chelsea Burger PlateWhen I heard that Matt Storch, the chef/owner of Match in South Norwalk, was opening a more casual sister restaurant in Fairfield called The Chelsea, I was excited. I’ve enjoyed many meals at Match, and the combination of The Chelsea’s more casual atmosphere and menu plus Storch’s talents should be a winner.

The Chelsea has seating for 80, whether you want to grab a drink in their English-style pub area featuring a long wooden bar with about a dozen seats, or sit at a table in their airy and inviting atrium. Their menu includes a wide variety of gourmet bar-food options plus eclectic and fusion dishes, all under $25. It offers two burgers: the Salt and Pepper Burger ($12.95), a plain and simple char-grilled patty on a seeded brioche bun, and the Chelsea Burger ($13.95) featuring a “cheddar dip,” sweet-sour onions, and chopped bacon on an onion brioche bun from Good Bread Bakery in Port Chester.

The hamburgers at The Chelsea are definite A-Listers. I ordered each medium-rare and the kitchen complied with perfectly grilled patties. The burgers came pre-cut—not as ordered, but as done to all of their burgers. When I asked about the pre-cut process, I was told, “We like the customer to see the meat and the juice.” Separating the halves revealed a promising pink interior plus a coarse, tender grind.

20121124-231200 Chelsea S&P BurgerThe meat is a 75/25 blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib from local organic purveyor Saugatuck Craft Butchery that is dry-aged for two weeks. The seven-ounce burgers are ground with an extra-coarse die and hand-pattied each morning and again before dinner. The gas-fired grill imparts a crispy char on the exterior, while the coarse, loosely packed interior stays juicy.

20121124-231200 Chelsea S&P Burger OpenSince there aren’t any toppings on the Salt and Pepper Burger, it’s all about the flavor of the beef. And aside from being neither salty nor peppery, it succeeds with pronounced smokiness from the grill and a deep, rich, beefy flavor. The burger is served on a toasted seeded brioche bun that makes the meat-to-bun ratio a little heavier on the bun side, but the flavors of the meat balance well with the buttery brioche bun.

20121124-231200 Chelsea Chelsea Burger OpenThe Chelsea Burger elevates the basic burger with the addition of numerous toppings—cheddar dip, sweet-sour onions and chopped bacon—and a switch to an onion brioche bun. I was concerned that the flavors would fight each other, but they work in perfect unison. The cheddar isn’t just a few melted slices but a complete cheese-wrap due to the finished patty getting dipped into a bacon-cheese Béchamel sauce before being placed on the bun. The crumbled bacon lends salty-smokiness and crunch while the onions add the desired onion flavor improved with a kick of sweet and sour, plus a soft texture that complements the crunchy bacon bits and the patty’s char. Everything balances perfectly with the bun’s soft texture and buttery flavor. This is one of the most flavorful combinations of meat, toppings, and bun in the area.

The accompanying fries were very good—crispy on the outside, moist and soft on the inside, and well salted. They come sprinkled with Parmesan cheese for more saltiness and parsley that added more color than flavor. I enjoyed the fries more with the Salt and Pepper Burger than the Chelsea Burger—maybe the additional flavors presented in the latter were a little too powerful for the fries.

For a delicious basic burger the Salt and Pepper Burger is a great option, but to truly appreciate The Chelsea’s burgers, go for the Chelsea Burger.

The Chelsea – 12 Unquowa Place – Fairfield –  (203) 254-8200

This review was originally published on A Hamburger Today on January 10, 2013 at http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2013/01/the-chelsea-burger-review-fairfield-ct.html?ref=pop_a_hamburger_today

The Chelsea on Urbanspoon