The burger: It isn’t every day that a burger joint waves a patent at its customers, but that’s what happens when you step up to Saltbrick Burger at Revolution Hall, the new food hall at Rosedale. Patent No. 7998517 was awarded in 2011 for a process for dry aging meat, one that involves a temperature-controlled room that’s equipped with a wall composed of bricks of pink Himalayan salt. Over the course of 40 days – and thanks to an air circulation system -- the room’s salt-heavy climate seasons the beef.
And how. This is a burger where the beef flavor grabs the spotlight and never retreats, an attribute that’s normally associated with a thick, meatloaf-like patty. Not here. This one is thin and wide, and yet with those dimensions it still manages to radiate a pronounced beefiness. It’s seared on a hot flat top grill, a tried-and-true technique that gives the patty that all-important crust. “It also cooks fast,” said Kevin Krejsa, the hall’s director of operations. “Since we’re in a fine/casual establishment, we can produce more burgers, quickly.”
Yep. Mine arrived in less than five minutes. The intentional architecture of this burger yields one textural contrast after another. The bun, golden from an egg wash, is so soft that your thumbs leave temporary imprints after you pick it up; the indents slowly retreat and the bun returns to its normal dimensions, and yet the bread isn’t vacuously doughy. The bottom half of the bun is swiped with a punchy, roasted garlic-infused aioli, and then the stacking begins: still-sizzling patty, cheese, bacon, tomato, pickles, red onion, shredded lettuce, top bun.
The cheese is aged Gouda. “It’s something a bit different,” said Krejsa. “So often we see American, or a Cheddar, but we thought Gouda complemented the dry aged beef very well, and stood up to its strong flavor profile.”
The Gouda’s gooeyness also reacts nicely against the bacon’s crisp (and smoky) bite. Then there’s the veritable salad bar that’s stacked on top: a so-so tomato slice (it’s there strictly for color, because it’s contributing little moisture and zilch flavor); a layer of fantastic bread-and-butter pickles that contribute a slightly acidic juiciness and a marvelous snap; a few rings of palate-cleansing onion; and that comfort-food flurry of shredded iceberg. It’s all about crunch, crunch, and more crunch, in a really appealing way, a strategy that in no way detracts from the beef’s rich flavor.
Beyond this “Patent Burger,” other iterations include a “Curry Burger” (cauliflower relish with a curry mayo), a “Banh Mi Burger” (green papaya slaw and chicken liver pate), a “Breakfast Burger” (fried egg, bacon and Cheddar) and a “Mediterranean Burger” (a cucumber-mint yogurt, feta); all are $6.95.
Don’t miss the made-to-order shakes. I tried a malted chocolate shake ($5), and it was terrific: thick and ringing with a rich chocolate flavor. Next time – when it’s a little later in the day -- I’ll try the adult version ($9), which gets a shot of whiskey. There are also Oreo/vodka, salted caramel/bourbon, Nutella/Frangelico and vanilla/Kahlua combinations.
Saltbrick Burger is one of 11 concepts inside this next-generation food court, which is the first-of-its-kind work of New York City-based Craveable Hospitality Group. There are tacos, poke bowls, noodles, pizza, sandwiches, salads, chicken and waffles, desserts, coffee, cocktails and other on-trend items, all sprawled across a two-level complex inside a former Borders Book Shop. Once again, as retail retreats, food comes to the rescue.
The doors opened in November, and Saltbrick Burger has quickly nurtured a following.
“Every day, it competes for most-popular concept,” Krejsa said. “Most of the time it wins.”
Price: $6.95, highly reasonable. “We just want to make some really great food that’s approachable for everyone,” said Krejsa. “In our minds, it doesn’t have to be exorbitantly expensive to be good food. We’re trying to give everyone the option of having something delicious.” Adding a patty — highly recommended — adds another $3.
Fries: They are $3 extra. Waffle cuts or tater tots, both exactly as expected.
Where he burgers: “When you asked me that question I instantly knew the answer, I knew it even before I lived here,” said Krejsa. “It’s Parlour. I have family in the area, and when we came to visit, a cousin took me out and said we were going to have the best burger I’ve ever had. You hear that a lot, right? But we went to Parlour, and it blew me away. I’ve now been to a couple of different ‘This is the best burger’ spots, and I still think that Parlour knocks it out of the park.”
Address book: Revolution Hall is located on the east side (near Von Maur) of Rosedale Center, 1595 Hwy. 36, Roseville, 651-400-7918. Open 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 am. To 7 p.m. Sunday.
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