Atlanta is home to several unique burger restaurants. Some of them have gotten national recognition and made some lists of top burger restaurants in the country. One such restaurant is run by Richard Blais, a man some may know from Bravo’s “Top Chef” series and Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” He is currently the creative director of Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta, GA, and has created some unique burgers that have made the restaurant a very popular place.
Currently rated #72 out of Atlanta’s 3,387 restaurants on TripAdvisor, the location on Howell Mill Road is one of two locations. It gets mostly rave reviews for the unique ingredients and combinations of ingredients that make up the burgers, sides, and milkshakes.
I’ve commented before how burgers can be tough to stand out. Other than a difference in seasoning, it seems most places use the same toppings and many of the so called “unusual” ingredients I’ve already seen. I was curious to see if Flip Burger could really wow me with something I haven’t tried many times before.
As you approach the front door, you pass a gate that opens into an outdoor patio. There are several sun umbrellas between the tables that would provide some shade during the warmer months.
Unfortunately, the road that Flip Burger sits on is very busy and you’d probably have to deal with a lot of traffic noise, along with the unsightly run down buildings that line it. Although assuming you’re not visiting a burger restaurant for a romantic dinner with your significant other, it may not really matter.
Upon entering, the first thing that caught my eye was the bar on the right.
There’s a decent amount of seating on the permanently fixed, white padded stools. These seats are just the start to the modern design that envelops the restaurant.
On the back wall of the bar are alternating mirrors and television screens bordered by large white frames that protrude quite far from the wall, making them really pop.
There are several different types of seating available in the restaurant. Between the front of the building where you enter, and the main floor seating, there’s a line of tables that have banquette seating on one side, and chairs on the other.
This stretches across the width of the room. At the time, the table missing from the middle had been combined with the one on the right of the photo, accommodating a large party.
The center of the room has two parallel rows of tables. Each one seats four people, but they are all pushed together creating a long community setting.
The overhead lighting comes from rounded, gray colored hanging lamps, shaped like large mixing bowls. The décor here has a real mid to late twentieth century vibe, with lots of whites and metallic grays. Much of the architecture is rounded, with few corners. The exception would be these center tables, but they are unique in their own way. If you look closely, they represent the “Flip” name by having duplicate tables “flipped” on the ceiling, from which the lamps were hanging.
One thing that can’t be photographed, the gray metal chairs in the middle were unbelievably light. They could easily be lifted by a single finger. This shocking discovery came as I went to pull my chair out and almost threw it across the room.
Looking towards the opposite side from the bar, there are oversized, lush, deep cushioned booths.
Once again, these seats have a “flipped” version, although this time there’s no gap between the regular seat and its upside down twin.
Above these seats, and surrounding the entire restaurant, even the air vents keep the theme of sleek curves and metallic color.
Looking towards the rear, the last wall has photographs that appear to be from the 1970’s with the majority of it painted over in white curves.
It’s tough to see here, but there are thin, curvy red lines all over the wall that spell out the word “flip” in every direction.
This back wall also had the window to the kitchen. While its purpose was to transfer plates from the kitchen to the servers, it allowed me to take a peek at what was to come. At one point the counter was filled with plates containing all kinds of burgers and sides.
Many of them were stacked high with unique looking ingredients, and all of them looked like they were crafted with care. Presentation here is definitely not a side thought.
It was almost time for my food to arrive so I went back to the table. As I unfolded my napkin, I noticed even the silverware had a modern, curved design.
Before I show you the food, let’s browse the menu. The front side has all the food. There are sections for the beef burgers, flip burgers (non-beef ingredients) that include a sampler of three miniature beef burgers, sides, and soups and salads.
The other side has the drinks, which normally I’d ignore. Today was different. Flip Burger’s LN2 milkshakes are just as far-out as their burgers. They are given this name because they are made using liquid nitrogen. They start with a very soft ice cream, add milk, and then pour the -320º liquid into the glass, causing it to quickly freeze. If served soon enough, this also can cause a visual effect, similar to the CO2 that was used in my Chocolate Extinction dessert at T-REX in Disney.
I browsed the milkshakes and tried to figure out how I was going to avoid ordering all of them. I definitely wasn’t comfortable having a $33 milkshake bill, not to mention all the sugar I’d be consuming (my wife reads this blog, I wouldn’t be able to avoid getting caught).
I decided to start with the Nutella® + Burnt Marshmallow milkshake for $5.00.
This milkshake doesn’t need much explanation. It is made from Nutella® flavored ice cream and then topped with actual burnt marshmallows. For the most part it tasted much like a regular chocolate milkshake. The milkshake itself was very creamy. There weren’t any lumps or crystalization from the ice cream because the way they make it, by starting it off half melted and then freezing it in the glass as it’s being blended, gives it a really smooth texture.
I could definitely taste the burnt marshmallow. What stood out was the taste of the carbon. It’s a very distinctive taste, one you’d normally want to avoid in a food product, but the creator here decided that it would work in this drink when included with a Nutella® flavor.
I agree to a point. It was definitely different. One problem is that the marshmallows can’t be sucked up through the straw, so you’re forced to eat them with the provided spoon. In the end you’re drinking a chocolate and hazelnut milkshake, while eating a side of burnt marshmallows. Albeit the downside, I will say it was good. I did enjoy it, and liked the creativity. I can honestly say I’ve never had anything like it before.
As I finished my milkshake, my burgers were served. One was the $8.50 rBQ.
To start, the burgers are very well presented. This is probably the neatest (as in not messy) looking burger I’ve ever seen. Even the food comes with clean lines and smooth curves around here! The burger starts with a beef patty on the bottom which is then topped with barbecue sauce (they call it rBQ) soaked pulled brisket. Above that is a pile of coleslaw and a slathering of smoked mayonnaise.
The pulled brisket was the perfect quantity to match the amount of ground beef. Neither the ground beef nor the brisket overpowered the other. The same went for the barbecue sauce. It wasn’t just aimlessly poured on, it was just the right amount to flavor the brisket, without stealing the spotlight.
The brisket was very tender, blending its texture with the soft ground beef. It was almost equivalent to adding fat to the burger. For burgers, fattier meat gives us the most flavor, and the brisket was a good choice for an add-on. The barbecue sauce had a nice sweet and smokey flavor to it, but it was mild, so again it added to the rest of the ingredients rather than taking over.
The coleslaw was a nice contrast to use at the top of the burger. It had been warmed from the hot beef below, but still had a noticeable temperature difference.
The coleslaw had also had soaked up the meat’s juices, taking away some of the initial crisp it originally had. The slaw, along with the chopped green onion sprinkled on top offered additional sweetness, which is not a flavor usually associated with burgers. The smoked mayo added both further sweetness, and a smokey flavor, thus completing the smokey sweet taste that enveloped this burger.
The ground beef was served medium rare as I ordered it. The entire burger was juicy and flavorful.
It was an interesting idea having two different meats of almost equal quantity on a burger. I’m used to just ground beef by itself. My first experience of having barbecue on a burger wasn’t too long ago at Grazing Here, and I found this second time around to be just as delectable as the first. I would definitely order this again.
My second burger was the $8.00 Butcher’s Cut. It was piled high like the rBQ, with a rounded dome of fresh ingredients.
The bottom of the sandwich started not with the ground beef, but with a spread of red wine jam.
It can barely be seen in any of the photos, but the intense sweetness of the jam could be tasted with every bite of the burger. You can catch a glimpse of it in the photo above. It’s peeking out from underneath the patty on the left side, in the shadow of the top bun.
On top of the patty were caramelized onions and a layer of crumbled bleu cheese.
I found that with all the different ingredients and flavors on this burger, I never even noticed the bleu cheese. I think it’s a wonderful cheese for burgers because of its offbeat taste, so I was disappointed to have missed noticing it. Perhaps they could increase the amount a little to make it more noticeable?
Above the cheese and onions sat a heap of frisée, better known as endive. This slightly bitter green was a nice offset from the sweet red wine jam on the bottom of the patty, and the pickled shallots on top.
The burger was completed by a soy truffle vinaigrette that was streamed onto the shallots and frisée.
As with all beef I order, this burger was asked to be served medium rare. It certainly came out quite pink in the middle.
I believe this was actually much closer to a rare temperature. I haven’t had a rare burger in almost two decades, and this was about as close as I’ve gotten in that time. I had forgotten how amazing a rare burger tastes. The meat is marvelously soft, and about as far from dry as it could get. While I no longer choose to order them this way, I’ll rarely complain if it happens to be served that way, as long as I have some trust in the eatery.
The buns on both burgers were soft, fluffy, and toasted just enough to give a slight crunch on one side. They were plenty thick and held the heap of ingredients with little problem.
The Butcher’s Cut had a lot going on in between those buns. Many flavors all around the patty made it tough to notice all of them individually, but as a group they made this a flavorful, juicy burger that was definitely worth ordering.
I of course had to try a couple sides with my meal. The first and obvious choice would be french fries. Flip Burger’s version are Beef Fat French Fries. The $3.75 fries come with a side of ketchup and smoked mayo.
I am not enough of a french fry connoisseur to notice any difference with these fries based solely on the type of fat in which they fried, so in that aspect they seemed like normal fries to me.
As for the texture, they were mostly limp, but some had a slight crispness around the edges. They were well salted, and had a decent seasoning of parsley, chives, and dill.
One of the two dippers that came with the fries was a cup of ketchup. This red, vinegar based condiment had a strong taste of tomato, vinegar and spices while…. I’m just kidding… it’s ketchup, I’m sure you’ve had it before.
The other dipper was a cup of smoked mayo. I’ve never been one to dip fries in mayonnaise, but I know it’s popular among many people. I knew I had to try it, just for the fact that I’ve never had smoked mayo before, at least not until five minutes earlier when I was eating my rBQ burger.
This was certainly different. It had a robust smokey flavor, which I could only compare to something like a barbecue sauce. It was obviously a different taste than if you used barbecue sauce, but it wasn’t far from what I’d think barbecue french fries would taste like. This is probably due to barbecue being the only thing I can really attribute to a smokey flavor.
As a new sweet potato fry admirer, I had to also order the $4 Sweet Potato Tots.
The tots tasted like they had added sugar. Some may call it overkill, but I say there’s no such thing as too sweet. If there in fact was no added sugar, then these were just some really sweet tots (I mean that using both definitions of sweet). What they definitely had was a hearty covering of a coffee barbecue spice. The coffee grounds covered the potatoes like a dusting of pepper, which I almost thought it was until the taste was noticeably unusual.
I wasn’t too keen on the coffee spice. I don’t drink coffee at all, I don’t really like the taste. Putting that flavor on a new found favorite of mine was a slight downer. The barbecue flavor may have been the sweet flavor that I thought was the added sugar. If so, that’s the flavor that should take priority.
The dipper for this potato side was a bleu cheese dressing. Yet another condiment I’ve never had for fries of any type.
I’m not too sure I liked the bleu cheese with the sweet potato tots. Normally I’m all about mixing sweet and salty, but somehow the two flavors here didn’t mesh well. The cheese also had such a heavier flavor than the tots, that it overtook the general flavor. I tried to like it, but after a while I ended up using the remaining ketchup from the french fries in which to dip the rest.
Rating: 6/10 for just the tots. It would be lower with the bleu cheese dressing but that’s optional if you decide to use it.
As I was finishing my meal I ordered one more milkshake. This time it was the $5 Krispy Kreme® Milkshake.
This milkshake starts with a doughnut flavored ice cream, and then they add crumbled Krispy Kreme® doughnuts into the drink before adding the liquid nitrogen to fully freeze it.
I can explain the taste very easily. It tasted exactly like a Krispy Kreme® doughnut, only in liquid form. It was very interesting to be able to drink this popular doughnut brand. The photo below shows how small the doughnut fragments were. I was literally drinking doughnut through a straw.
You can also see the general consistency of the milkshakes here. They are an even composition of half melted, and extra viscous, but never so much that the straw clogged up.
As with the Nutella® version, there were no lumps (other than the actual doughnut pieces) in this smooth, tasty treat. They definitely deserve an extra point for the creativity that goes into these milkshakes. Absolutely one-of-a-kind.
I was wary going into Flip Burger Boutique, thinking that I would find just another burger place that offered some of the usual premium toppings like egg, pricier cheeses, or avocado. While some of that was available here, there were definitely some new things that are not common at all. Just using my meal as an example, I saw a ground beef and pulled brisket combo, smoked mayo, frisée, and soy truffle vinaigrette to name a few.
Even the milkshakes were something new, at least for myself. The liquid nitrogen concept I’ve seen, and since it wasn’t done at the table, there were no visual effects to go with it. I got served an already frozen milkshake. On that note, I do wonder if the freezing process helps to keep them as smooth as they were? I get very frustrated with milkshakes that clog up from clumps of ice cream. These never gave me that problem.
The atmosphere here is also something that shows a lot of creativity, and provides a comfortable and relaxed, but still entertaining place to eat. I would definitely love to come back to Flip Burger Boutique and try the rest of the milkshakes and a few more burgers. I have to admit that they do take the burger up to a new level. At the very least, it’s different from what you’re probably used to, so give it a try. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.