Bobby's Burger Palace
355 Smith Haven Mall Lake Grove, NY 631-382-9590
Celebrity chef Bobby Flay is usually better known for his work on TV cooking shows and major Manhattan restaurants, but his empire also extends out to the Smith Haven Mall with this Long Island location of his casual-yet-trendy burger chain. The menu isn't extreme but the patties here are served with various cheeses and sauces that wouldn't turn up at your average burger joint, like the "Napa Valley" that comes equipped with goat cheese, watercress and lemon-honey mustard, or the "Crunchburger" that gets topped by potato chips. There's a short list of sides, salads and sandwiches--but what's most notable is the drink menu that ranges from milkshakes and malteds to beers, wines, even a frozen margarita--drinks not usually found at a dining spot immediately adjacent to a mall's entrance.Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Ambience: Good Service: Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Minimal wheelchair-accessible seating (only one table)
Iron Chef Bobby Flay shook my world the other night. All it took was a sip of one of the new spiked milkshakes now being served at Bobby’s Burger Palace in Lake Grove. I tried two and found them about as amazing as guilty pleasures get. But you have to be of drinking age to imbibe, since anyone under 35 is automatically carded. (The place has been serving Margaritas, wine and beer since day one).
My favorite shake flavor was mocha Kahlua vodka, but vanilla caramel bourbon ran a close second. The elixir also comes in pineapple coconut rum flavor. Each one costs $7.50 and packs who knows how many calories (11 ounces of ice cream and 3 ounces of alcohol go into a single 16-ounce shake). If you're worried, you can always share one or drink a little and take the rest home.
Bobby's Burger Palace is at 355 Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove, 631-382-9590, bobbysburgerpalace.com.
Things have changed since my initial review of Bobby’s Burger Palace. On a recent visit, nobody flinches when I order my burger rare. The young woman behind the counter simply nods and notes my preference. The burger I actually get is more medium-rare than rare. Good but not exactly as ordered. The fries, though, are something else. Gone are the previously frozen crinkle-cuts that Flay opened the eatery with (what was the guy thinking?) replaced by hand-cut freshly fried sticks, golden brown and crunchy on the outside, creamy and potato-y within. The only kind of fries you'd expect from a Food Network icon.
It's all about ground beef and Iron Chef cachet at Bobby's Burger Palace at Smith Haven Mall, Bobby Flay's splashy new spot done in bold-hot hues of green and orange. Yes, the cookbook author and Food Network star does show up occasionally, but it mostly falls to Flay's energetic crew to flip burgers and maintain the flow.
Here's the drill: You wait on line, place your order and get a number. Then, find a seat at the U-shaped counter or a table to share; your food will be delivered to you.
Flay's signature crunchburger is king. Topped with potato chips and lots of American cheese, it's a compelling interplay of textures. Other combos work well, too. I'm partial to the Dallas burger, spice-crusted and crowned with coleslaw, Monterey Jack, Flay's fab barbecue sauce and pickles. I also like the L.A. burger with avocado relish, watercress and Cheddar. A Philadelphia burger with Provolone, griddled onions and hot peppers is both mellow and zesty.
Nonburger-eaters can opt for the sprightly "crunch salad," chopped romaine and vegetables with white Cheddar and tortillas.
Better than virtually all food, though, is the dark chocolate malted, thick and creamy with a floe of ice cream and an intense undercurrent of malt. It's available with freshly whipped cream, too, and in lots of flavors. The coffee malted, while excellent, isn't quite so amazing.
Kudos to Bobby for his "BBP fry sauce," chipotle-tinged mayo that accompanies fries.
A ROYAL PAIN: About the burgers themselves: I'm told I can't get mine rare so I ask for it medium. There's some pink at the center, but it's just an OK patty that could be juicier.
Instead of ground beef, you can get a "burger" with ground turkey or grilled chicken. I order the turkey version of the Miami burger, grill-pressed like a Cuban sandwich with ham, Swiss, pickles, mustard and mayo. It's dry. I also try the grilled chicken Santa Fe burger with roasted green chiles (fairly tame jalapeños), queso (cheese) sauce and blue corn chips. Dry, too. A grilled American and Swiss cheese sandwich with tomato is limp and lukewarm.
BOTTOM LINE: In Bobby's palace, the crown belongs not to the burger but to the regal malted. --Reviewed by Joan Reminick, 8/20/08
Added 9/22/09: You won't want to miss the signature Crunchburger, made with American cheese and potato chips tucked inside.