Generally speaking, I don’t typically support corporate franchise eating establishments for any number of proto-snobish reasonings but I’d heard some very nice things about Bareburger and since there was one on my way to an appointment and none of the other fare in the area seemed to peak my interest at the moment I stopped in.
First things first, it is a franchise and has that very inescapably pre-packaged and horribly homogenized feel to it. This isn’t a comment just to the one I ate in, there’s a few others in Manhattan in close proximity to places I frequent so I poked my head in just to be sure. Everything about it screams a consistent personality of kitchy but middle-of-the-road acceptability.
That being said, the menu is quite intriguing (as are all the menus for the new wave of organic, all-natural types of franchises that have popped up) as it begins with: “all Bareburger meats are free-range, pasture raised, humanely raised, antibiotic, gluten and hormone free” and then a litany of possibilities including: beef; turkey; lamb; wild boar; elk; bison; ostrich as well as not one, not two but three veggie potions: farmers quinoa; black bean; portabella mushroom along with a lively selection of delivery vehicles, including: brioche; multi-grain roll; iceberg lettuce wrap; wheat flour tortilla; tapioca rice bun and so on.
I’ve had nearly all of these options, many of them much closer to the source than a franchised restaurant in mid-town Manhattan so I wasn’t really looking to experience what most normal visitors would out of Bareburger per se (exotic meat). I just wanted a damned good burger and a beer. What I got was certainly a damned good burger and a beer. Surprisingly better than all but a small handful of choice burger joints in the city (Paul’s, Genesis, Jackson Hole, I’m looking at you).
The wild boar (served medium) sliders on brioche with colby, garlic dill pickle chips, special sauce along with raw red onion; side of Sweet Potato Croqs and Wolavers Organic Beer.
Everything was solid, enough so that in a pinch for something to eat I would go back again (but perhaps not so much so that I’d go out of my way for it like I would Paul’s in the LES). If my town lacked a legit burger joint and this was an option I’d probably pick it four out of five times, but that’s not the case for me. Nonetheless, the boar was cooked correctly, was rich and juicy, the special sauce was a good compliment with the rest of the toppings and the overall serving size of everything was appropriate. Seated at the bar my bartender was attentive and in typical fashion just the right amount of chatty and disinterested (my favorite kind of bartender).