Sitting in the parking lot at Thompson and Cary Streets, adjacent to Elwood Thompson, I eagerly awaited for my party to arrive so that the activities of the night could begin. Next to my eating destination, my nostrils were teased by the smell of sweet, rich barbecue sauce with a hint of hickory and bacon that slinked through the air conditioning in my car. When my party (the rest of my family) arrived, I exited the car, and the aroma strengthened in power and seduction. With my mouth watering, I was enticed and impatient to enter Burger Bach, a haven for empty stomachs and burger lovers.
Burger Bach was created by well-known restaurateur Michael Ripp, who was inspired by his various trips to New Zealand in his creation of the restaurant. Burger Bach is known as a gastronomical public house, also known as a gastro pub, meaning that they are committed producing higher quality foods by using improved ingredients and preparation.
As I entered the restaurant, the aroma, once a quiet storm, erupted into a roar of welcoming scents that beckoned you to sit and dine. In addition, I was greeted with Burger Bach’s modern venue, with flat screen TV’s that line the walls showcasing various games, wooden overhangs, tables with stainless steel overhanging lights, and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun;” everything contributed to the overall exciting atmosphere. As we were seated to our table in a timely fashion, I felt as if Burger Bach encapsulated the Carytown, Richmond city vibe. The restaurant was seemingly full of diverse individuals from many demographics, including kids with their parents, older adults, and college friends enjoying a night out on the town. Although the restaurant itself is not large, the clientele is diverse.
I began my night at Burger Bach with none other than the New Plymouth, a $12.99 mouth-watering combination of a juicy beef patty, sauteéd wild mushrooms, and brie cheese, topped with uncured bacon and caramelized onions. Within my first bite, I knew that other burgers would never taste the same when compared to the New Plymouth. The brie cheese softened as I took my savory bite, while the beef, cooked well done, was tender and satisfying. The mushrooms added an appreciated undertone to the beef, while the caramelized onions and bacon added a welcome taste and crunch to the otherwise easy-to-chew mushrooms. I think that I have found a new favorite.
The burger’s best friend and long time companion is the french fry, an accommodation that is almost a must when a burger is present. The french fries were cooked to a coveted and idealized golden brown that reached a satisfactory combination of crunchiness and chewability. I immediately wished that I had more once they were devoured by my party. The most unconventional, differentiating, and arguably my favorite aspect of Burger Bach is the plethora of sauces that are offered while eating. I had four different sauces to choose from: Garlic Aioli, which was cream-based with an invigorating garlic boosted kick; Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce, (my favorite) in which the blueberries provided an up-front and strong flavor; Original Barbecue Sauce, which was sweet and savory; and Manuka Honey Mustard Sauce, which was tangy and sweet.
Next up on the menu were the New Zealand Roasted Oysters, blanketed in New Zealand drawn butter with lemon and a choice of house hot sauce. Once you defeat and face the mental barrier of the fact that you are eating an oyster, the flavor that explodes within your mouth once you chew the tender and savory meat is a welcome reward for going outside of your comfort zone. Contrasting with its unappealing looks, the oyster’s taste is anything but. Contributing to this view, my mom Jocellyn Perry describes the dish as “succulent.” The lemon and butter added to a symphony of flavors that leaves you wanting even more. With the added flair of the oysters being laid on a bed of fries, the dish is both fun to look at and fun to taste and enjoy.
Burger Bach boasts a versatile menu and proves its appeal to not only adults and meat lovers, but to kids as well, with the inclusion of macaroni and cheese within their menu. Macaroni and cheese in itself is a favorite for anyone who possesses a nose and sense of taste. Burger Bach’s version includes bread crumbs cooked to a golden brown, and additional spices add an extra kick at the end of each bite In addition, it fits right in with the burger vibe. This dish definitely appeals to children and is a fan favorite, as my 12-year-old sister, Triumph, describes the dish as, “Mac-a-licious! The most delicious thing on Earth!”
Burger Bach dominates the corner it is situated on with flair and quality. It’s individual dishes are brimming with variety and decadence, making the restaurant a must if you would like to expand your palette or your love of food. While it does specialize in burgers like its name suggests, you will without a doubt come to find commendable service, quality, and an enjoyable night filled with delectable aromas and eventually, a content stomach.
All photos by Excellence Perry.