June 21, 2009

The Restaurant Formerly Known as Fancy.

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On Saturday, I had a little time to kill. And. I was hungry. It was 11:30 and I walked outside. I remembered that 23 Hoyt (of sparkling water fame) began serving lunch last week. I had also heard that their prices are lower now in an effort to boost business. Oh let's try it, I thought. Lunch won't be as expensive as dinner.

I started out sitting at a table on the sidewalk, because it seemed that it would be nice. Then it started sprinkling, so I moved myself and my very tall diet coke back inside. I ordered the burger with onion rings instead of fries.

Mmm. The burger was cooked medium rare as it should be. The bun was a little large - I couldn't fit my mouth around both the top and the bottom. But the burger - it was perfectly seasoned. And the cheese was mellow, but with a subtle bite.

The tomatoes and arugula were served on the side. And what I loved about those is that they were seasoned. That NEVER happens with burgers, though it totally should. Dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, they actually added flavor to the sandwich - a fresh contrast to the meat.

Though the bun was problematic, I found my way around it. I ate the burger concentrating on the bottom bun and the meat, then half way through, flipped it over and at the rest of the burger on the top bun. I couldn't finish the whole thing, but I made a valiant effort. My hands were a drippy, saucy mess by the end of my meal. My napkin stained with burger juice, aioli (which I had smeared on the burger because why not!) and tomato juice. As I recalled my first experience at 23 Hoyt, there's no way I would have eaten a burger then, because juicy hands and stained napkins were definitely not a theme on the menu.

The sweet chili aioli served with the crispy and well-cooked onion rings was spicy and creamy. You know how when you get bad onion rings and you take a bite and this huge piece of crunchy onion comes out? This is not how these were. It was clearly an onion ring inside the breading, but it was fully cooked and my teeth cut through it, making it both easier to eat and easier to dip into the sauce.

I loved my burger. And it was I think $9. Which was totally worth it for the quality of burger I got. The staff was cheerful and helpful. The waitress gave a strong recommendation for Away We Go, which I was on my way to go see. She was right. So good. So was the restaurant. I'm happy to see they've toned the Hoyt-y toity-ness down. This was a much better experience than my first and I'll definitely be back to try their new dinner.

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