Burger Home Away From Home?
I am probably the last food blogger in the city to eat at Bocado, Chef Ginsberg’s chic try at “contemporary American” on Howell Mill Road. Hype like the kind built around Bocado is usually enough to turn a strong meal into a disappointing one, but today I was as excited going into the meal as I was walking out the front door. Just reading the menu online is enough to send you to the pantry looking for something to eat. It’s a fresh menu, one goes just beyond the norm: roasted cauflower with Chinese & Thai eggplant with spicy mayo, short rib sandwich with gruyere, preserved cherry tomatoes and garlicky jus, a roasted turkey breast sandwich with lemon creme fraiche. These are all familiar dishes twisted just slightly to become interesting again.
On a sunny afternoon the inside of Bocado was gorgeous. The sun was shining through Bocado’s large windows and even in a dining room that channels the modern warehouse look we’ve been seeing across Atlanta, it felt home-y and clean. What’s better than this? Lunch on Bocado’s patio.
Bocado has a reputation for its burger, which I’ve read draws inspiration from the infamous one at Holeman & Finch where it is served only past 9pm to 24 lucky diners (of which I haven’t been one). The Bocado Stack is two thin, hand-patted burgers served with American cheese between buttered buns from H&F. Burger joints have been opening across Atlanta for the past two years (Flip Burger, Yeah Burger, Wonderful World, Farm Burger), and as expected many fail to separate themselves from their peers. What makes Bocado’s burger the absolute best (gasp!) is the meat. Places like Farm Burger choose to focus on elaborate toppings, but that isn’t the heart of this American classic. The meat is, and that’s where Bocado takes advantage of the thin patty to sear it to juicy, crispy goodness. The burger sent me back to my dad’s restaurant where I declared that only he could truly sear a burger. Now, Bocado joins that list. And I almost forgot, the house-made pickles and herbed french fries dipped in a light ranch dressing are perfect additions to an already perfect burger.
The meal didn’t start and stop with the burger. Bocado’s roasted poblano and pimento cheese sandwich with bacon and a fried green tomato perhaps bordered on overkill but was every bit as delicious as I expected. The texture isn’t mushy and nothing is too salty by itself or together. The sweet poblano pepper comes right to the forefront of this sandwich, and to anyone who can’t imagine eating a sandwich without meat, I ask you to try this one. Yum. In between bites I snuck in some deviled eggs which were smooth and balanced, neither too tart nor too mustardy.
I am refraining from giving Bocado any kind of rating. After a lunch like this one, I want to comb through the menu to see if the restaurant’s other dishes are equally satisfying and if the place is consistent. The dinner menu doesn’t look as interesting as the lunch one, but still I have high hopes for this place, as does my stomach.
Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318