Monday, March 4, 2013


Venice, CA

The Canuck and I were hanging with Mr. Chicken and In-Like-Flynn, debating our party plans for the night. Not in the mood for the high energy of First Fridays, we walked over to Barlo at Hotel Erwin for a boozy dinner. The hotel itself caters mostly to tourists. They're a little disorganized and understaffed but the location (and rooftop bar scene) keep them going. Barlo is a small space, with simple-industrial decor and a full bar. In-Like-Flynn and I started with the Applewood cocktail, a delicious mix of bourbon, apple butter, apple juice and lemon. The boys opted for Scrimshaw pilsners. We started with the deviled eggs (yum!) and the truffle fries (duh) and were not disappointed. Both were well-flavored, and the fries were medium crispy. 

I chose the Barlo burger, while The Canuck and In-Like-Flynn opted for the Chicken Burger. Ironically, Mr. Chicken did not order the Chicken burger, but surprised us all by ordering the Barlo burger!  

The Barlo Burger was the clear winner of the two. It's prepared with herbed goat cheese, tomato marmalade, arugula and bacon caramel. The bun was well-toasted and if you got a bite with everything, it tasted fantastic. But that was just the problem: un-even topping distribution, or not enough toppings. If you put caramel bacon on your burger, I want to taste it in every single bite, cut with the goat cheese and the tomato marmalade. More, more, more!  Don't be so stingy!

Because we had started with the fries, I chose to have a 'wedge' salad with my burg.  Do not do this. It was a lazy, half-assed salad that looked like something Denny's would serve next to an over-cooked steak. Order different appetizers (maybe the shrimp and grits?) and make sure to get the fries with your burger. (Plus this way, no sharing!)

The Chicken Burger was a disappointment. It was insanely dry (as lean meats can be) and they didn't even try to compensate for that with a marmalade, sauce or dressing. It was just really bland and The Canuck and In-Like-Flynn were not pleased! Lean meats lack fat and thus lack flavor. Most chefs will account for this by adding "fat" like bacon, cheese, sauce etc.  

Overall, Barlo has a little work to do, but I would order the burg again and ask for EXTRA toppings.  

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