Recent newcomer BRGR Bar on Brown Street in Portland had been on our radar since it first opened, and in May we finally got to sample its wares. What we expected was gourmet burgers, and we were not disappointed. What took us by surprise, however, was the plethora of delectable apps.
Between the 1.5 dozen of us, we were able to order and share most of the starters. Each one was more sumptuous than the last. It pains me to say it, but BRGR’s fried pickles give the ones at Po’ Boys & Pickles a run for their money. The buffalo brussels sprouts were an unexpected treat, a strong contender for a spot in my top 5 places to get brussels in Portland (along with Eventide, Green Elephant, Blue Rooster, and East Ender). The poutine was solid. Then there were the ricotta-stuffed sweet potato tots with a cliantro aioli. Let me repeat that. RICOTTA-STUFFED SWEET POTATO TOTS. The all-caps are definitely warranted, as these snacks were out of this world. My only regret was that there were only 3 or 4 to an order, instead of a huge bucket full of them. These things still haunt my dreams, and I yearn for the day we can be reunited.
The burgers were all on point– important, seeing as BRGR is the name of the place– and all stacked high with meats and toppings. I had the Up in Smoke, a bison burger with smoked gouda, grilled red onion, avocado, some of the thickest and most flavorful applewood smoked bacon I’ve ever tasted, and a tangy bourbon BBQ sauce. Perfection. On the side, I opted for the parmesan truffle fries, a must for any would-be diners. I was fondly reminded of the truffle chips at The Salt Exchange on Commercial St.– may it rest in peace– while eating them. Sully, upon trying a few, almost wept for having opted for the plain fries with his own order instead of these decadent delights. Other members of our party reported back that burger selections such as The BRGR, the Oo-Mommy, the Mac Daddy, and the Miso Hungry were likewise top-notch.
For dessert, BRGR Bar offers two varieties of thick, creamy milkshakes– ones with alcohol, and ones without. I had the Thin Mint, which boasts brownie bits, chocolate syrup, rum & peppermint schnapps in addition to ice cream. By the time I was done, I still had an entire brownie’s worth of crumbles at the bottom of my glass.