Zinburger, the New Jersey based gourmet burger and wine chain, opened its first Atlanta store on June 17th at Lenox Square. A bunch of us food writers and about a thousand other people were invited to their preview dinner where we had a chance to sample nearly everything on the menu.
LC joined me, arriving on time to an already-packed house. An abundance of light butcher block style wood and colorful plastic chairs gave the restaurant a young, whimsical vibe. We found seats at the bar which opens onto the patio out front. That would have been awesome, but the industrial-strength fans above our heads made it a bit too windy.
Bartenders were somewhat overwhelmed with the demand for complimentary drinks, but I finally managed to get a glass of the house red they were serving, one of the selections from their abbreviated list, each offered by the bottle or glass. LC ordered a skinny margarita and proclaimed it fantastic.
Drinks weren’t the only thing hard to come by at the bar. Trays of sliders, salads, and samples of fries passed us by, descended upon by the guests on the patio. LC managed to snag a couple of samples of the Napa salad, a fresh composition of organic field greens, dried fruit, marcona almonds, and goat cheese. We nibbled like bunnies, salivating over the tiny burgers that were always just out of reach.
Finally, a tray of mini signature Zinburgers walked by, ready to be photographed, then devoured (in fact, there’s Roger from Friday Date Night waiting to grab one!). The miniature Certified Angus patties were cooked a perfect medium and topped with zinfandel braised onions, manchego, and mayo…really flavorful.
A server also brought by some fries, first the double truffle flavor, then the sweet potato variety. All of the fries were shoestring, which I adore, however, the extra-garlicky dipping sauces ruined it for me. I decided to switch to a more refreshing cocktail, their signature Red-Zingria, sangria made with red zinfandel, triple sec, fresh lime, and raspberry. The “zing” comes from the dash of spices like nutmeg and ginger. If there had been chunks of fruit, I would have loved it.
Then we got smart. My blogger friend Grant of Marie, Let’s Eat! had moved to the back of the dining room near the kitchen, flanked by giant murals of cows. We decided to follow suit and found him sitting with the chicks from Bella Vivere at a table covered with sliders, fries and shakes. A nearby table for two suddenly became available, and soon we were the recipients of an onslaught of little dishes.
Among them were the Samburger with applewood smoked bacon, American cheese and 1000 island dressing, and the El Diablo, a burger topped with fire roasted jalapenos, pepperjack, caramelized onions, and chipotle mayo…my dream burger! However, the tiny slider proved to be just a tease, so I’m afraid I’ll have to come back to eat a full-size El Diablo soon.
Bananas foster and an assortment of miniature milkshakes…strawberry cheesecake, creme brulee, and salted caramel decorated our table. I had two of the salted caramel shakes and suffered a sugar overdose.
The antidote? Some onion rings.
3393 Peachtree Road NE 404-963-9611