Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tarpon Bend - Fort Lauderdale, FL

Tarpon Burger
BRR = 7.90

If you're from South Florida and you like to drink then you know Tarpon Bend. I can't count the times I have been to this place wasted on a Friday or Saturday night, so when we walked up for a Sunday lunch I was quite taken back. This may have been my first time downtown while the sun was still up. Tarpon has been recommended to me by a couple friends now and I did give them a try at Burger Battle, but this was a seafood restaurant. Ordering a burger at a seafood joint just seems weird to me, but hey it's the job!

Did I mention it was my friend Larry's birthday? Larry is a cook over at Duffy's in Plantation, so it was a no brainer to take him out for a b-day burger! We started with apps - Oysters on a Half Shell and the In-House Smoked Fish Dip. I know it's not a month that ends in "r" but we are almost there so whatever (if you don't follow oysters are in season on months that end in "r"). Wait let me go back for a minute before ordering appetizers we started with Jager shots and beer, then we ordered, then we did another round of shots. I like raw oysters, even though the description probably sounds gross. They're slimy and salty (compare them to better tasting phlegm), but when you place atop a cracker with a little horseradish, cocktail sauce, and hot sauce it becomes a very unique experience; good or bad depending on whom you ask. I'm not the biggest fan of fish dip, but this was quite tasty. It was made from smoked Atlantic king mackerel and served with sesame flatbread and celery and carrot spears.

The Birthday Boi

A few more Jager shots and the burgers arrived. Larry and I ordered the same thing, the Tarpon Burger. Visually this thing was appealing. Actually, everything we ordered was well plated, but as I know from experience the best looking food doesn't make it the best tasting. I started by trying the fries. They were thin cut and tasted fresh with a very nice combo between being crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside. Very good. I decided to leave the raw onions on the burger, where as I toss them away like money at a strip club. They used thin sliced red onion and visually went well with the red tomato and green lettuce. The burger to bun ration was on point. It was light, airy, flavorful, and stood up the 10 oz patty without disappearing. Surprisingly, I liked the onion on the burger. It definitely had its place, but the stand out for me was the pickles. They had a nice snappy texture with that salty, briny, dill flavor that shined through. I have this weird little quark about loving crinkle cut pickles and despising flat cut ones. I mean just look at the picture. You can tell they don't just throw them on the burger, each pickle was placed just so to get that juicy crunch on every bite. The actual burger was grilled. Maybe a little too much. I ordered medium-rare and ended up with the high end of a medium burger. Okay so they didn't cook to temp as requested but taste is even more important and they got high marks in that department. Even with a medium burger it was juicy and had a fair amount of salt which helped elevate the taste and bring out more of that big beefy flavor. I can't complain enough about the lack of salt being seen on burgers these days. It is such a key ingredient with any food. Tarpon takes care with their food. It's good to eat somewhere where the food tasted as good as it looked. Usually, it's the other way around.

Tarpon Bend is not just another place to get drunk at with your friends. It's a place to get drunk and eat at with your friends. Give it a try!

Tarpon Burger
10-oz. burger of fresh-ground chuck, applewood smoked bacon, melted sharp cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, pickle, mayo and mustard.
Burger Total: $9.95 (With fries)

Burger Boi Rating (BBR) = 7.90

(35%) Burger patty 7.5
(20%) Toppings 8
(20%) Bun 8
(15%) Sides 8.5
(10%) Wow-Factor 8

Tarpon Bend Food & Tackle on Urbanspoon

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