By Sara Liss
The goods: The city has gone burger-happy. First, there's 8 oz. and it's nonstop buzz and now swanky temples of beefdom like Bourbon Steak are getting in on the burger action. The posh Aventura outpost of chef Michael Mina’s restaurant empire recently introduced their Bar Burgers menu to coincide with several lounge-friendly events including their weekly Wednesday night “Bourbon and Blues” soirée where live blues and 25 percent off their epic bourbon selection make for a festive evening. The Bar Burgers menu is available only at the restaurant’s bar and lounge but that’s no real caveat since every seat at the glossy restaurant takes advantage of Tony Chi’s luxurious design with plush leather chairs, glass-enclosed wine cases and soaring ceilings.
The grub: Gourmet riffs on classic fast food fare. There are five types of burgers to choose from – the all-beef (mixed with American Kobe), turkey, lamb, salmon steak and a vegetarian-friendly falafel, touted as the Cairo-born Mina’s mother’s recipe on the menu. Prices are relatively low for this upscale joint. Burgers range from $12-$18 and sides like Mina’s legendary trio of duck fat fries and red onion rings are $5.
Once you’ve settled in at the bar or lounge table you’re handed a clipboard and can either choose from the restaurant’s signature combos or build your own burger by choosing a protein and six toppings from a lengthy list that includes high-end ingredients like Maytag blue cheese, fried organic eggs, oven-dried tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, watercress and arugula as well as exotic sauces like yogurt raita and harissa aioli. Super-gluttons can also outfit their burgers with bacon and seared foie gras. Creative touches don’t end there; the lamb is enlivened with a pinch of garam masala giving it a fragrant kick and the salmon steak burger comes Vietnamese “banh mi” style with crunchy carrots, cilantro and jalapenos. Dieters can also order the burgers “no carb” style, which leaves off the bun and presents the patty with the six toppings as a side salad.
Make sure to try one of the “adult” milkshakes, which include a Jim Beam-spiked malted, a rum raisin mixed with Appleton rum and a minty grasshopper made with chocolate liquer and crème de menthe.
Verdict: Burger-lovers now have a ritzy option to feast on pampered fast-food style eats.
Bar Burgers at Bourbon Steak, 19999 West Country Club Dr., Aventura; 786-279-6600. 6 - 10:30 p.m. Sun-Thurs, until 11 p.m. Fri and Sat.