Burger21 is something of a new wave fast-casual place that prides itself on its expansive selection of burgers. Of course, in a classic Andrew move, I’ll be eschewing that and taking a look at its buffalo chicken burger.
The restaurant’s got a 21st century minimalistic décor thing going on, which, despite its hints of hipster, I can get behind, so the atmosphere is pleasing.
Price-wise, it’s reasonable and affordable, and what you pay is exactly what you get. I paid $6.49 for the buffalo chicken burger, $2.59 for a regular fry, and $2.99 for a cup of turkey chili.
The first thing that stood out when the buffalo chicken burger came was the almost total lack of buffalo, which is not the first time that’s happened to me at a restaurant. What is with these places not committing to the buffalo sauce? I ordered a buffalo item – I expect a good amount of buffalo sauce on it. I asked for a side so I could actually have some buffalo sauce on my buffalo sandwich, which is apparently a pretty radical concept. The service, which was polite and attentive for such a casual eatery, gladly fulfilled my request.
The sandwich itself is a mouthful and will need to be squished down to fit in your gullet. The blue cheese crumbles are a welcome touch, but it would have been nice if they were distributed a little more evenly on the bun.
Burger21 does a good job of hiding the fact you’re eating unhealthy food. It’s not a grease sewer, and you can tell someone cared enough about preparation to not just say “screw it” and throw a pile of re-hashed American food on a menu.
The french fries, which you find in the “Fries etc.” part of the menu (Gotta love the almost comedic lack of creativity there, which seems intentional) are nothing special, but they get the job done. They come topped with something green, which doesn’t make much sense because while the effort is nice, let’s not pretend fries will ever be even slightly healthy. If the greens were for flavor, that doesn’t make sense either because you can’t taste it.
I dipped mine in the turkey chili, which was unlike any chili I’ve had before. Usually these kind of places all have similar-tasting chili, but Burger21’s really stood out in terms of a bold flavor. It has ground turkey, red and yellow bell peppers, onion, celery, black beans “select herbs and spices” in it and has cilantro cream and scallions on top. It’s a shame they don’t list what those herbs and spices are because they’re definitely what define the flavor. Get this if you’re looking to taste something different.
My friends picked up a mixed fries basket, which I picked at for a bit. The sweet potato fries are frustratingly skinny (where’s the fluff?), but tasty otherwise. Despite criticisms with the lack of buffalo sauce, Burger21 is a place you should go back to at least enough times to have a go at each of their specialty burgers. They’ve nailed the ambiance, and the food is good for the price point.