When you think of Ellerbe Fine Foods on Magnolia Avenue, you might think of chef Molly McCook’s locally sourced, Southern-inspired upscale food, or of how Bon Appetit once named the restaurant, opened in 2009, one of the 10 Best New Restaurants of 2010.
You might not think “burger,” but the seasonally changing menus usually includes an inventive burger at lunch, such as the latest DFW.com Burger of the Week.
The burger: The grilled Italian pork burger features housemade Italian sausage, mozzarella, cranberry agrodolce and garlic aioli. Presented at the table beautifully, with the top bun slid slightly off so that you can see the toppings. It’s an elegant burger in an elegant place, inventive but not over-the-top.
The patty: Although we sometimes find pork-based patties to be a little dry, that wasn’t a problem with this one. The texture was good and the patty had just a hint of spiciness, making for a pleasant, low-level heat that quietly sneaks up on you. It’s a little on the thin side, but not so thin that it becomes lost among the rest of the ingredients.
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The bun: Nicely toasted and buttered brioche-style bun with a touch of flakiness to it. Easily held up well to the well-balanced ingredients inside.
The toppings: The star here was the cranberry agrodolce, which provided a dash of sweetness without clashing with everything else or being too cloying. The mozzarella that covered the burger acted as a mild condiment rather than overwhelming things, and the garlic aioli played a similar unshowy supporting role. Arugula, not mentioned in the menu description, was a good lettuce choice.
The sides: The burger comes with herbed fries that were nicely salted and herbacious. Good crisp-outside/soft-inside texture. No ketchup was provided, nor was it needed: Ketchup would have been an insult to these fries.
The verdict: You might expect an expensive burger at Ellerbe and, true, at $12 this one is more than anything at a lot of burger joints. But it’s also less than a lot of restaurant burgers (and comparable to, say, the Diablo Burger at the funkier Fred’s Texas Cafe). Ellerbe co-owner Richard King tells us that this burger will be around for a while, and we’d easily have it again. And remember, those fries are included.