March 10, 2012
Last night Steve and I ventured over to Easton to check out FlipSide , a new burger joint that opened this week. This location is the second for the Hudson, Ohio-based venture of Shawn and Tiffany Monday and Michael Schwartz. I checked out the website before we left, and was pumped for some local Ohio-raised, grass-fed beef.
We arrived around 5:00 to a fairly empty restaurant. The location offers a full bar, and seems like a fun place to just hang and have a beverage. The environment is somewhat rustic, with lots of wood. Our server quickly came over to tell us a little about the place, as it was our first visit, and to get our drink order. I decided on the Gin Fizz made with Columbus-based Watershed’s gin, and Steve went for a Mint Julep. I had not tried Watershed’s gin before, and it made for a refreshing cocktail.
The chef-driven burger menu contains more than a couple of interesting offerings. Topped with everything from Brie to truffle aioli, the burgers all sound amazing. For those with non-bovine cravings, chicken, tuna, veggie burger, and even grouper sandwich options appear on the menu, along with several salads.
We decided on the Chili Pepper Burger, which the menu touts as being featured on the Cooking Channel show Unique Eats. We also decided on Shawn’s Burger, and for something different, the Louisiana “Laughing Bird” Shrimp Burger. Of course we had to give the fries a go, and the shake menu was too intriguing to pass up. The menu suggests adding the house-made, bacon-infused vodka to the Date Shake. If there is bacon-infused anything on a menu, we have to try it.
All of the burgers are seven ounces and served on brioche sesame seed buns, with lettuce and tomato on the side. The menu states that the burgers are prepared “mid to mid well to allow for the perfect combination of texture, flavor, and center temperature.” When asked about this our server stated we could order the burgers to whatever temperature we desired. Normally I go with mid rare if I’m comfortable with where my burger is coming from, and Steve agreed. Our burgers came out quickly, and were perfectly cooked and juicy. The Chili Pepper Burger is described on the menu as having picked jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, crispy chili onion rings, and smoked chipotle ketchup. The burger was great, but lacking in the heat that we were expecting. Most of the heat, in fact, came from the smoked chili ketchup, which was served on the side. The two onion rings that came on the burger were lightly fried and delicious. The only thing I believe the burger could have benefitted from is perhaps some additional pickled jalapenos, which were scant. I also would have probably served the smoked chili ketchup on the burger, with some extra on the side. The Shawn Burger, described on the menu as served with fried egg, bacon, aged provolone, flat top onions, spicy pickles, and mayonnaise, also delivered. The egg was perfect- sunny-side up, and the other ingredients married well together, with the mayonnaise being served on the side. The only problem with this burger was the bacon (I know- how could bacon be wrong?)- it was too thick and chewy. While the taste of the bacon was great, it just didn’t eat well on the burger- it was actually difficult to bite through. I’m not sure what the solution to this is- thinner bacon or perhaps rendering it a little longer for a crisper texture. The Louisiana “Laughing Bird” Shrimp Burger was described as having fried green tomato, tomato jam, greens, and Tabasco aioli. Steve and I agreed that the taste was okay, but the texture and color ruined it. I suppose I was expecting more of a shrimp cake, with the shrimp still having some texture. This shrimp had been demolished and reformed into something unrecognizable- a rubbery, flesh-colored patty. Its only saving grace to me was the fried green tomato. Alas, they can’t all be winners, but the fries were. We went with the plain version, which are thrice cooked and tossed with salt and herbs. They were great, though I was expecting a little something extra for the effort of that third round of cooking. They certainly were not soggy, though not super-crispy either. The dominating flavor was rosemary, which I love, though I imagine not everyone does. The date shake was delicious, but to me it was really just a vanilla shake with some date bits. The bacon flavor from the vodka did not really come through, though I could taste the alcohol. It was still a delicious shake, however.
Despite having skipped lunch and not finishing the shrimp burger, we left stuffed. I would say the seven-ounce burger is an ideal portion for most appetites, especially if fries and shake are shared with a dining companion. Most of the beef burger offerings are $7-$10, so you can enjoy a premium burger without breaking the bank. We did, however, spend almost as much on drinks as we did on food, with only two beverages and a shake. All in all, FlipSide offered a great meal with fantastic service. I hope they can continue to deliver this quality as they get busier, and hopefully they will be much busier as the word gets out. They are in a great location for movie and shopping traffic. We will definitely be back- this is one of the best burgers I’ve had yet in Columbus.