At The Rim in Burleson, not everything is what it seems.
Take the entrance — or what I thought was the entrance. Turns out, I walked right into an electrical closet.
Unknowingly, we had parked at the back of the restaurant, which fronts Interstate 35, yet has prominent signage over that door.
If you happen to use the real entrance, you’ll immediately see an old chrome Airstream trailer and this is where the story takes another surprising turn.
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The trailer is actually the kitchen where such extreme delights as the Main Street Pomme Frites and the Ultimate Messy Sandwich are made. And, it is all part of an excellent American eats menu (from the same restaurant group that owns Rio Mambo Tex Mex y Mas) that seems destined for an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
To channel Guy Fieri: Chef Doug Gerphaide is cookin’ up some crazy concoctions you have to see to believe. Take the pomme frites ($14), which are comprised of sidewinders, a cut of potato that is best described as what happens when a curly and wedge fry meet. These crescent moon-shaped spuds have a surface area that is a match made in fryer heaven, resulting in a crispy outside and a pillowy, puffed-out interior.
And it only gets better from there. Covered with a gorgonzola mornay sauce, the fries share the plate with huge chunks of terrific chargrilled tenderloin, and are kissed with buffalo sauce.
Some choice initial thoughts included:
Are these are the best fries ever?
This dish is beyond State Fair worthy.
Is it too late to get my marriage annulled?
It’s a good thing you can’t marry a potato. But, I’ll certainly find more time in the future to spend one-on-one with this dish.
The Miso Maple Chicken sandwich ($12) was similarly outstanding. Picture a thick-cut fried chicken breast, perfectly juicy. Then add crisscross pieces of applewood smoked bacon, melted pepper jack and a fried egg. All of it housed inside a Kaiser roll. As the yolk starts to run, just try to pick it up and take a bite without consequence.
As if our server read our minds, a roll of paper towels was brought to the table. Technically, they were for the Ultimate Messy Sandwich ($12) — so says the menu — and we soon realized why.
This behemoth is a fork-and-knife-r. Shaved roast beef, black forest ham, turkey and pepper jack cheese form a mountain atop a large French roll. Shredded lettuce, a kicky jalapeno mayo and a demi sauce garnish, making the dish irredeemably chaotic.
But the sandwich is well worth any foreseeable trip to the dry cleaners. House made chips or sidewinders accompany; we went with the former to see if they approached the success of the fries, and they nearly did.
There’s also a strong cheeseburger contender—the Half and Half ($12) with its double Angus patties and vinegary Granny Smith apple-coleslaw—as well as a “haute dog” and a few pizzas. In the last week, the restaurant was putting the finishing touches on the pizza oven’s logistics (“Just try to get a pizza oven into a trailer,” said Brent Johnson, the restaurant group’s president.) And a few more dinner entrees, including the chef’s spin on shrimp and grits, are being added to the menu.
Other early changes included a switch to full service, after customers found the initial order-at-the-Airstream process convoluted. Quick to respond to feedback, management is eager to work out any minor opening kinks. I hope they might also address the clunky boardroom-esque chairs, which make for uncomfortable seating. And the high-top benches in the bar are better suited for NBA players—when we first sat down there, the table was level with my shoulders.
Clearly, the food is the focus. Johnson says he interviewed 10 cooks before hiring chef Gerphaide, who hails from Utah. He wanted to find the right chef to put the perfect touch on this “Retro American” concept, which Johnson hopes to replicate in other locations.
It’s a place that would certainly be right at home in Fort Worth proper. I’d gladly open the wrong door again just to make that happen.
295 E. Renfro St., Burleson
Hours: Sunday–Thursday 11am–10pm, Friday and Saturday 11am–12am