Friday, 28 February 2014

Restaurant Review: Flip Side (Easton location)

Flip Side on Urbanspoon

It's been nearly a year since the doors of Ohio-based Flip Side opened in Columbus. And as it turns out, quite a bit has happened since then. The second of three locations (the third being in Chagrin Falls which opened earlier this season), Flip Side was originally established in Hudson, OH, in 2011, along with neighbouring One Red Door. And come summertime, a location in Cleveland's Flats will complete the currently planned chain of gourmet burger sites. All of these spots are co-owned by central Ohio-raised Michael Schwartz, and long-time Hudson area restauranteurs Chef Shawn and Tiffany Monday, Flip Side of which hopes "to stand out from its 'better burger' competitors by having a 'chef-driven menu but with a middle-market price.'" Well, after watching Pompeii this past Sunday and failing to check out Flip Side despite the number of times I've been at Easton Town Center, I went with Brianne to finally get a taste of their culinary offerings. The final verdict, for those who want to bypass the description and just check out the photos: in this blogger's humble opinion, Flip Side is an area transplant worthy of being considered an accessible mecca for both foodies and non-foodies alike.

Located at the confluence of Banana Republic to its left and Groovy Spoon and Celebrate Local to its right, and across the street from Abercrombie, Flip Side is rather difficult to miss, its modular design somewhat towering over the nearby vendors. Inside, the lighting of the relatively dimly lit restaurant (further context: we got there just before 8pm) focused on antique-coloured walls upon which meat-themed stenciled designs and Wild West-esque artifacts were placed, contrasting against the not-so-bar-like flat screen televisions. The interior felt immediately homey, a middle ground between Western saloon and sports bar. Brianne and I were seated toward the large back wall and after moving to sit beside her (the tables felt awkwardly long for two people to sit across, though perhaps it's necessary if you plan to fill the table with a lot of food), we had full view of the main area of the restaurant. [The second major part of the space, i.e., the bar, was to the left of our view, from which you could look into the kitchen.]

Not having reviewed the menu before hand, I was inundated by the wonderful selection of burgers (let alone the drinks), each sounding better than the one above it. My eyes eventually fell upon two of them, the first being the Smokey Burger ($10) which was featured on Cooking Channel's Unique Eats (episode 405: Between the Bun, next scheduled to air on March 2nd). Made of 7 oz of Ohio-raised premium grass-fed beef (as is the case with the others), and with which a bacon bbq sauce is served on the side, the Smokey Burger begins with a grilled hamburger patty topped then with smoked Gouda cheese, followed by smoked beef brisket, and finished off with pickled jalepeno peppers, all of which is burgered between two slices of delicious toasted special recipe brioche sesame seed buns. Also featured on the aforementioned episode (and noted on the menu) is the red hot Chili Pepper Burger ($9.50; pickled jalapeño, pepper jack cheese, crispy chili onion rings, and smoked chili ketchup).

While both of those descriptions sounded incredibly enticing, we didn't get either of them. Instead, Brianne went for the Mikey Burger ($9.50), a delicious-sounding concoction which included applewood bacon, pepper jack cheese, crispy onion rings, and remoulade.

As for me, I went with "the one that started it all": the One Red Door Burger ($10). And hands down, this is one of my new favourite burgers. [As an aside, I should note that we were never asked how we wanted our burgers cooked; originally, I took issue to this until my first bite, at which point I realised just how perfectly cooked the burger was. For future reference, there is a note on the menu which in regard to burger prep reads "Chef prepared Mid to Mid Well allowing for the perfect combination of texture, flavor, & center temperature."] Atop the juicy patty were thick slices of melted brie cheese, which were themselves were topped by crispy shallots. The layers of texture collided beautifully, melded by the warmth and distinctiveness of the brie. But perhaps the guilty pleasure of the meal was the serving of date applewood bacon aioli, an incredibly rich sauce with chopped bacon goodness. Oh.my.yum.

Rather than eating the aioli with the burger, however, I instead enjoyed this with the extremely well-fried sweet potato fries ($4.50), which came with its own sauce of horseradish mustard. With definitely plenty to share between the both of us, the fries weren't all that necessary as the burgers filled us up more than sufficiently. But if you happen to love sweet potato fries, these are definitely worth trying.

From what I've read, the shakes are somewhat of a specialty for Flip Side, but by the end of dinner, a shake seemed out of the question. Upon my return, I'll definitely plan ahead and make sure to add that to the experience. Until then, I hope to "catch ya at Flip Side!"

Have you been to any of the Flip Side locations? If so, what did you try? If not, what are you looking forward to trying the moment the opportunity presents itself? To check out Flip Side's menus, click here, and for these and other photos from the experience, click here.

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