Epik Burger – Not so Epic

Epik Burger has been getting a lot of buzz right now – especially in conjunction with the owners’ other establishment that just opened (Empire City Gastropub). I had to be out of my house for awhile, since we are putting our house on the market and had a showing. So, sure, we’ll hang out at Epik for a bit and try it out.

At first glance of the menu, Epik sounds awesome – they have a bunch of insane sounding burger combinations, build-your own options, and even other meat options (including bison). And I love me some bison, man. I was pumped.

When we walked in though, I was a bit caught-off guard. Their menu makes you think its super-gourmet (see: ingredients and price), but when you walk in, you feel like you’re more in a Chipotle-McDonalds type fast-food scenario. No big deal if the product delivers – I can get over it.

You order at the counter and then they deliver your food. Their menu made me think that there were several options/questions I would have to answer upon ordering. I ordered one of their signature burgers, and expected to be asked the litany: 1) kind of meat, 2) kind of bun, 3) temperature, and 4) combo/sides? But nope, I was merely asked what temperature before the cashier tried to move on to DJ Snugglemonster’s order. Nope, no need to see if you can squeeze an extra $6 out of me on my upgrades…poor training perhaps?

I ordered the Epikurean Burger, which they tout as the “Top Seller and Champion” (whatever a champion is in this context). All of my favorite things basically – blue cheese, truffles, pancetta, mushrooms, blackberry jam, balsamic mayo, and parmesan cheese. OF course I ordered bison and upgraded to a combo – a drink and a side, which they allege is “not your ordinary sides,” so I went with cheese fries. Is everything making your mouth water yet? It should. DJSM ordered the Red Dragon Burger with Sweet Potato Fries (which was my other choice). This one had Red Dragon English Brown Ale and Mustard Cheddar (sounds solid, right?) and red wine bacon jam. Sign me up.

Let me make an aside right here. My three requirements for a really good burger are 1) I have to be able to taste the meat, 2) I have to be able to taste the toppings too, 3) the burger can’t get so wet that it falls apart .2 seconds into me eating it.

Now my burger should check all three of these requirements. I definitely tasted the bison – super fresh and juicy. But…the toppings all morphed into one bland, muddy mess. If I blindfolded you and asked you tell me what was in it, I hardly doubt you would get one right. That’s disappointing, given all the robust flavors I described. And thirdly, my burger was almost impossible to even pick up it was so soggy. I don’t know about you, but it makes me not want to even finish the burger once it all starts disintegrating in my hands. DJSM also suggested that he could taste the bison, but the toppings tended to get lost in the burger.

The sweet potato fries were delicious – crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, with sufficient salt to counter the sweetness. But it’s kinda hard to screw up sweet potato fries, right? My fries tasted like nothing but grease, even though they were nice and crispy. The cheese sauce had a film in on the top before it even came to the table and, again, it had no taste other than fat – I definitely could not taste the cheese allegedly in there, and if not for the string effect, wouldn’t believe it.

Here’s my other issue – for what you get, the price is a bit off. We were charged almost $35 bucks for two burger combo meals. Even without a side, you’re looking at a $10-$13 bison burger…which, for what we got, I’d rather go to Ted’s Montana Grill and get better burgers for my buck.

I wasn’t blown away by Empire City (the owners’ other new establishment), so I was hoping that Epik Burger was going to make up for it, and instead, it was more of the same – bland, overpriced food trying to be fancy. I’ll stick to Poe’s or Ted’s for burgers I think. Not impressed.

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