Restaurant Review: Bareburger
Bareburger: it seems like a good thing.
Sure, there’s a little bit of chain-ness to the new Short North burger barn. The chairs and tables have a sturdy suburban accent to them, for example. But the big salvaged Yankee Trader sign that hangs proudly on one wall gives Bareburger street cred for independent spirits.
The rumors are true, the burgers are a little pricey, but not painfully so. And for the price, you get an obsessively obsessive good-for-you eating experience. The origin and composition of all the meats are listed. Same with the breads and the condiments. And the restaurant uses concrete, unambiguous terms like “non-gmo” and “cage-free”. Even the hot dogs on the kiddie menu are uncured and organic.
Whatever an organic hotdog is.
Back to the healthy angle: everything is good-for-you in the non-chemically sense. And the gluten people can get rice buns. That said: if you define “healthy” as involving low-fat or low-sugar: be prepared to see milk shakes on the menu.
For first-timers, it’s helpful to accept a server’s offer of a menu tour. It just makes the ordering process much slicker. While you can order a salad or a sandwich, the main action comes from burgers. Ordering a burger, even a custom combo, is going to involve making a decision about what animal you’d like to eat (several birds and mammals available) and what sort of bread you’d like to surround your animal.
Starting basic: The Classic ($8.95). For options, beef and brioche make a very classic, very tall hamburger. It is smushable, for eating purposes. The classic also hosts pickles and grilled onions. It is, in fact, a really good beef-burger. It’s not oily and has a charred accent that has all the addictiveness of a summertime grill binge.
Explore, a little: Smokehouse Portabella ($11.95). For options, turkey -and wheat for a bun. Again, it’s a very tall burger. Personal preference is for the big portabella to be more well-done and squishy, but any disappointment is far outweighed by the fantasticalness of the turkey meat. Usually, turkey is an acceptable substitute for beef, but at Bareburger, the turkey has a turkey flavor that’s complimented by more of that charred grill accent. Good quality meat makes a difference that is appreciated.
Explore, more: Roadhouse ($12.15). It’s got bacon, avocado, grilled onion, mayo: put some Elk meat in that one. It’s a glorious mess, and the elk is a little peppery and little dense and not gamey at all.
There are no free fries or onion rings on the side with these orders. Little perks are picked from the menu and sold individually. The french fries ($2.65) are worth the money: they have oily crisp outsides, with soft potatoey guts. Or, for the salad eaters, a small House Salad ($3.50) is available -and a “small” actually delivers a deep bowl that is topped with a garden of fun things, including cucumbers, little radishes, and a nice dressing.
For dessert, there are several milkshakes available. The draw of the Bananas Foster Milkshake ($5.95) is irresistible: thick, cooling with a little natural banana amping it up. Plus, that banana makes it healthy, like a smoothie, right?
It’s worth noting that poking around the institutional website at www.bareburger.com leads to one unsettling discovery: Carrot Cake French Toast with fried banana fritters. Whatever that is, Columbus needs it on the menu here. It’s time to lobby for breakfast hours.
Bareburger does a good thing for the local food scene. It offers lots of comfort, party foods -with a style that embraces organic, non-gmo lifestyles. There’s room for that in Columbus.
(Bareburger can be found at 463 N. High Street in the Short North.)
For more information, visit www.bareburger.com.
All photos by Walker Evans.