Burgers aren’t normally found in boutiques.
Boutiques are places for sequin dresses, sparkly jewelry and trendy shoes. They feature the latest fashions and things like glittery stilettos. Patrons of boutiques aren’t shopping for burgers, but Flip Burger Boutique just might change their minds.
Prior to a day of exploring pretty parks in Birmingham, my friend and I rolled into town famished and on the hunt for dinner. She insisted we eat at Flip Burger Boutique, her only restaurant request for the weekend, and I was happy to oblige.
Flip Burger Boutique is brought to us by chef Richard Blais, a former Top Chef reality t.v. cooking show winner who started these restaurants in Atlanta, Ga. Top Chef isn’t part of my regularly scheduled programs (Boardwalk Empire all the way), but my friend is a big fan.
Pulling into Birmingham late on a Friday night, we made a beeline to the restaurant and window-shopped while waiting to be seated. Thirty minutes later we slithered through a bustling throng of young hipsters and were shown to the back of the house. The room is split by a long line of tables in the middle, flanked by a row of padded booths on one side and bar stools on the other.
Much like a boutique the space is small and stylish, but mercifully absent of full length mirrors. The furnishing are white and a large avant-garde mural decorates the expanse of the ceiling. Settling into our narrow area we began the menu examination.
Being a traditionalist, it was hard to resist the classic beef burger and french fries combination. There are plenty of unusual options to consider such as a raw steak tartare burger, blackened shrimp burger and sweet potato tots sprinkled with chocolate salt and marshmallow foam. Swept up in the excitement of having so many unique variations to choose from, I selected the Butcher’s Cut burger and Thai Bouli Couscous. (My friend had the Ossobucco Burger and roasted brussel sprouts.)
Perched on a toasted bun, the petite burger was piled high with bleu cheese, caramelized onions, frisee and red wine jam. Far from the super-sized servings of what we Americans have come to expect, the meat patties are 5.5 ounces. The burger was perfectly cooked and a lovely balance of sweet and savory. And a refreshing change from fried potatoes, the couscous had a nice chewy bite, lightly flavored with coconut, mint, cucumber and red onion.
It was a challenge, but I resisted ordering a vintage, 100% cane sugar Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper in favor of splitting a Nutella and Burnt Marshmallow milkshake to round out our meal. Good thing I didn’t cave, because the milkshake was decadently thick and playfully topped with a mound of charred mini-marshmallows. (I wish the marshmallows were more camp-fire gooey, c’est la vie.) It would have been easy to finish off one by myself. Then boutique clothes would certainly be out of the question.
Infamous for using liquid nitrogen to rapid cool drinks and creative burger toppings like seared foie gras, Flip Burger Boutique employs some slightly theatrical elements. The place feels fashionable, the food is hip and you might pay more than you expected. The boutique description then seems rather fitting.
Flip Burger Boutique
214 Summit Blvd, Suite 140
Birmingham, AL 35243