Trummer’s Burger Bar Kicks Ass at Everything But the Beef
We missed Trummer’s pop up burger bar last year but we’d be damned if we were going to miss it this go round. The elusive burger outpost only appears for a few hours for three days during the week from March to May, so we cleared our schedule this past Tuesday evening and made a date for some fancy-ass burgering.
While we’re primarily an uncultured, greasy bunch, we do occasionally set forth in the classier joints and Trummer’s happens to be one of our fancy favorites. We’ve brunched (yeah, we brunch) and dined at the Clifton spot and have been thoroughly impressed with both the food and the atmosphere so we were especially eager to check out their take on the burgs.
The pop-up menu has a lineup of eight burgers but just two in particular were our focus: the Surf and Turf topped with a 12 oz. lobster tail and the Rolling Rock sauerkraut and french fry’d up Bacon Pittsburgher. And there was also no way in hell we were passing up an order of poutine and the truffle mac and cheese.
An homage to the best joint on the Strip, the Pittsburgher is what you’d get if Primanti Bros. decided to set up shop slinging burgers in Clifton, Virginia. The beer-braised kraut was exceptional, briny and tangy, and along with bacon and the unexpected, but welcome, spicy mustard and Swiss, made for an expertly crafted combination of flavors. And while we would’ve liked a few more fries crammed into the mix, their inclusion left us reminiscing of our days stumbling down 18th Street, stuffing our faces after a night at the bars.
As for the crustacean and bovine burger, it was decidedly less pretty than the promo shot (isn’t that always the case?), but the lobster was cooked perfectly and a decadent slab of delight. The diablo sauce was damn tasty, too, but in short supply. We wish they were much more generous with the stuff (and at $19, they should’ve been).
Burgers may have gotten us through the door at Trummer’s, but if anything brings us back again, it’s going to be the sides. The truffle mac and cheese was goddamn magical, filling the small, cast-iron dish with creamy, earthy, truffle-y goodness. When we’re left scraping the bottom of the bowl and craving more, it’s a winner. The poutine was also phenomenal, with a veritable boatload of fries drenched in cheddar, bacon bits and an amazing spicy andouille sausage gravy. It was such a massive amount of food, even after chowing down on the spuds for a half-hour, we hardly put a dent in the dish. But thanks to our five-pound doggie bag, we’ll be eating well for the rest of the week.
In fact, everything we put into our mouths at the Burger Bar was outstanding with one glaring exception: the beef. In both cases, the meat was under seasoned, not cooked-to-order and rather disappointing. And while the Surf & Turf is advertised as using 28-day dry-aged beef, we tried our hardest but couldn’t tell the difference between it and the regular stuff. It’s not that the burgers were bad– they weren’t and we did enjoy them– it’s just that the meat was so underwhelming. With one burger, our rare order came out medium and on the other, we weren’t even asked for a temperature. Fortunately, the toppings were so good, they went a long way in disguising the mediocre patties.
Maybe our expectations were too high, but when a place as exceptional as Trummer’s decides to do a dedicated focus on burgers, it’s hard to keep them in check. It could’ve been an off night, but when it’s a pop-up with limited availability, off nights shouldn’t happen. Despite our disappointment, however, we’d still return for another round, if only for the mac and cheese and poutine– they’re that good.
Trummer’s pop-up burger bar runs Tuesdays through Thursdays, from 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. until May 29.
Trummer’s On Main | 7134 Main Street | Clifton | trummersonmain.com