Thursday, May 17, 2012

Firkin - Libertyville, IL

1/2 pound "Akaushi" Hamburger

Well I was back up in the Libertyville area for work and if you read anything about my last culinary experience there then you already know it was pretty shitty. The food up here was a major disappointment and this time was no different, EXCEPT for this one place. I am speaking of Firkin.

When I walked into Firkin the first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful bar running across the length of the restaurant. They offer a tremendous beer selectionm with 15 or so on tap. I wasn't in a beer mood so I took my usual Jack and Coke and waited for our table to be ready. This place seemed to me like an semi-upscale old English pub with what I am calling a "fancified" menu. They had your normal bar food such as chicken wings, sandwiches, salads, and burgers, but just re-imagined with a semi-gourmet twist that you won't find offered at your local watering hole. I of course went with a burger, as did like 90% of my co-workers for some reason.

The Burger - 1/2 Pound "Akaushi" Hamburger $13.95 - Texas Raised Wagyu from Komomoto Prefecture, Japan Buttery and Rich when cooked Rare to Medium Rare - Extra garnishes: Mushrooms ($.65) Laak Brothers Wisconsin White Cheddar ($.95)

I knew when I bit into that this was something I liked. I ordered medium-rare and it came out medium-rare, more towards the rare side which was ok with me. Still a surprising feat since most chefs still fail to get that right. Any more cooked and you would lose the integrity of the beef, which as described was buttery good and held a nice amount of juice. Strong grill marks ran across the body of the patty and the Labriola bun was soft, delicious, and stood up to the beef well.  The Laak Brothers Wisconsin White Cheddar was not strongly pronounced, but gave a slight nuttiness to the hamburger, while the mushrooms though tasty were scarely placed around the burger. I didn't even get a shot where they showed up in. Otherwise a pinch more salt to the patty would of been nice, but now I'm really reaching for something. This was a GREAT burger. My only real criticism would be the plating. It was served on a tray with wax paper, which made it seem like you were in a sandwich shop. This is a restaurant. Put your food on a plate like an adult.

Side - Fries

Seemed odd but they go with crinkle-cut fries, which to me is very juvenile. In my opinion you don't serve crinkle-cut with an adult burger. Taste-wise the fries were pretty ordinary. Some were crispy, some were limp. Would have liked to see them do something to elevate the fries the same way they do with other things on the menu. They could have added fresh herbs, maybe some rosemary, or added fresh garlic, or truffle oil...something...even a dipping sauce would have went far.

Drink - Jack & Coke

I was pretty buzzed, which was a good thing as I had to deal with all my coworkers continuously asking the waitress to card me because of my super good looks and boyish charm.

Conclusion: Definitely worth the stop if you are in the area. The burgers are beyond good, they are great. The rest of the menu is just as intriguing and look forward to trying some other dishes the next time I am up that way.

Firkin on Urbanspoon

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