Editor's note: Every week, we'll spotlight a culinary treat found around Dallas-Fort Worth — whether it's a new opening, a dish at a restaurant, or a grocery find.
Dish: Veggie burgers and fries
Location: BurgerFi at Mockingbird Central Plaza
BurgerFi, a "better burger" fast-casual chain from Florida, is a new arrival to Dallas. The first DFW location opened in Arlington in August 2017, but that's way out in Arlington, whereas a branch just opened in Dallas in the former Burger King at the corner of Mockingbird Lane and McMillan Avenue.
BurgerFi is said to deliver an all-natural burger experience with meat that contains no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals, or additives. The fact that this is something that merits mention should be enough to give one pause about eating meat at all — but yay, additive-free beef.
The restaurant is also promoted as eco-friendly, with furniture and fittings that are recycled. It's definitely a clean and cool space, with Scandanavian-style pale recycled wood and paper packaging for burgers, ketchup, and fries.
The thing that compelled a visit were the comments posted on Facebook about their fries. So many raves for the fries.
There are people who like crinkle-cut and people who like shoestring, and they have a right to their opinions, no matter how wrong they may be. BurgerFi's fries seemed perfect. Factors include:
- They were cut into perfect rectangles measuring about 3/8 inch on either side, some still with skin on.
- There were many very long fries and some medium-long fries and very few irksomely hard-to-eat small bits.
- They had crisp edges in some places, but others were kind of saturated and moist. But not oily tasting. They fry in peanut oil.
- They still tasted like potato.
- They were sprinkled with a fine crystal salt.
They reminded me of the fish 'n' chips a New England family might have once ordered on Friday nights, where the fish restaurant would put all your food in a big brown paper bag. They'd throw in mini brown paper bags of fries on the bottom, then toss the beer-battered fish fillets on top of the fries.
They say you like what you grew up with, and the fries at BurgerFi remind me of what I grew up with: just the taste of salted, cooked potato, with a texture that was sometimes moist and dense, and sometimes crisp.
In addition to an order of fries, you can order them topped with things like chili and melted cheese, or else in a combo with onion rings. The onion rings were fun, though not as great as the fries. (As an aside, I would like to call them French fries, but the style at CultureMap decrees that the French is lower-case, and it upsets my stomach to see french fries lower-case.)
The onion rings were big thick bangles, which can be an indicator of good onion rings. But the batter was thin and had a weird sriracha thing going on. They're useful to break up the fries experience, if only they were a little better.
Two veggie burgers
BurgerFi also offers not one but two veggie burger options, both served on multi-grain buns.
1. Their house-made veggie burger is a patty made from quinoa and various diced vegetables; I saw a few carrot shreds. It's not vegan; they use egg plus parmesan and fontina cheese to bind the burger. It was not a bad veggie burger, but it had the unappealing mushy texture that befalls many veggie burgers.
2. For vegans, they have the plant-based Beyond burger, made from a blend of soy and pea protein. The Beyond burger is a convincing fake with a meaty texture, made by California-based
Impossible Foods Beyond Meat, that's become increasingly available at many restaurants, Twin Peaks for example.
At BurgerFi, it had an interesting crunch on the outside that almost made it seem like it'd been deep fried. They top it with the assortment of toppings that make a burger taste like a classic burger: ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and onions. If you didn't know you'd ordered a Beyond burger, you might have mistaken it for a regular burger.
BurgerFi is sort of fast-food but not fast-food prices. Their veggie burger was $7.39, and the Beyond burger was $9.79, which is about par for the course; it's usually about $10 no matter where you go. The onion-ring/fries combo was $5.99. For one person, the bill was $15.77.