Monday, January 06, 2014

There Is No Place Like Roam (for Burgers, Sodas and Fries)

A Roam beef burger with all the trimmings (Photo courtesy Roam)
It's tough being the parents of hip, young adults.
You want to impress them with your street cred and insight into new places.
You are anxious to find experiences you can share that you'll all enjoy.

Just when I told my two sons I found a great burger place I thought they'd like and offered to take them, I found out not only did they know about the small Bay area regional chain I had newly experienced and become enamored of, that they had eaten at one of its two San Francisco locations often.

Oh well, at least they agreed that the burgers, fries and house-made sodas at Roam Artisan Burgers are exceptional which did help my street cred with them a bit.

It also impressed them somewhat that I had been invited to one of the opening parties for Roam's new Lafayette, CA, location and got pretty much unlimited free food.  (Although, I'm not sure if it is the honor of being invited or the free part that impressed them the most.)

I was impressed enough myself with Roam that I would go there regularly and pay for their delicious beef, turkey and vegetarian burgers (they also serve burgers made from bison as well as elk, but I did not get a chance to try them).  Not to mention their fries, sweet potato fries and a transcendent dish of filament-thin fried sweet onions and zucchini. Oh and the fizzed-just-for-you fruit sodas -- I may never drink Coke again.

It's attention to details that really makes these burgers shine -- Roam uses top quality meat, creative, fresh toppings, and great buns. It's cooks treat griddling burgers like they were cooking filet mignon -- carefully and lovingly.  As a result the burgers look and taste great. 

While the beef patty flavor was rich and satisfying, it was the turkey burger that amazed me.  It was the best turkey burger I've ever eaten. It was moist, flavorful and worked well with toppings.  I've also been raving about the beet and black bean based vegetarian burger.  It doesn't try to fool you with pretending to be something it's not -- it just has good heft, texture and taste. It, too, is sturdy enough in flavor and substance to stand up to Roam's range of creative toppings.

You can see the menu here including a list of the toppings and combinations they offer.  Pick one of their combos or choose your toppings ranging from ketchup to truffle parmesan fries (yes on your burger).  That pickle on your sandwich was made in house. Bun choices include sesame seed, whole grain and gluten free or you can opt to go bunless and have your burger in a lettuce wrap.

Pineapple and blood orange sodas
Roam makes it's own soda syrups and adds them to carbonated water when you order.  The flavors are sweetened but not overly so and are concentrated and intense.  I got to try the caramelized pineapple (the favorite of the ones I tried), blood orange (a seasonal offering) and ginger-lime.  

There are salads, milkshakes and other items on the menu, but I didn't get a chance to try those so I'm just assuming they are as thoughtfully prepared and delicious as the food I was able to taste.

I thought it would be helpful to get some burger making tips from Roam. Below is some advice from Roam's owners, Josh Spiegelman and Lynn Gorfinkle:

- Lightly season the patty to bring out the flavor in the meat
- Use a really hot, flat top griddle (as opposed to open flame) in order to have full contact of the entire party which allows for caramelization and delicious taste
- Be careful not to overcook, especially with leaner meats like grass-fed beef, turkey and bison

 Roam didn't share any recipes, but I have a few burger recipes you might enjoy on Blog Appetit.

Grilled Buffalo Burger (Try it on a griddle instead of grilling as per Roam's suggestion. If you don't have access to a griddle, I recommend using a heated, heavy skillet.)

You can also try cooking these Spicy Turkish Burgers on a griddle.  The recipe calls for beef, but I like them better made with half ground beef and half ground lamb.  This has become the default burger recipe at our house.

Please note:  I don't review restaurants, but I have been known to write about my experiences in restaurants.  To me that's an important distinction.  I can only discuss what happened to me and what I liked and didn't during that single experience.  Your experience may differ. I welcome your comments about your experiences with Roam.

Burger photo by Roam used with permission.  
No compensation was received for this post, however I did attend a free event to sample the food.

1 comment:

Kitchen Riffs said...

Although good burgers are abundant, great burgers aren't. Odd, because it's such a popular food, but that's just the way it seems to be. Sounds like Roam has great burgers - my kind of place! Thanks for this.