Originally posted April 23, 2009
Flame Gourmet Burgers is a new burger place that opened about two weeks ago on College Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus in Berkeley, CA. The decor is pretty nice; small but feels homey. Has a small downstairs area and then another small upstairs area. The menu itself is nothing too spectacular – your run of the mill burger selections, vegan/meatless burgers, salads, appetizers. Everything is priced quite reasonably.
The service was also excellent. My waitress was very attentive and nice and came to check up on me quite a few times since I was eating alone. She always had a smile on her face and made sure I was doing well. I noticed she was like this with all the patrons, even this lady sitting behind me that was pretty picky with her food. Props to her, whoever she may be. I left a good tip for her.
Since I like onions, I decided to get the Fried Onion Burger which included fried onion strings, mushrooms, cheese, and your typical lettuce, tomato, and red onion. The fries had to be ordered separately as a side for $1.75 (more expensive if curly). I decided on the steak fries over the string and curly fries because that’s what I was feeling today. The wait for the burger wasn’t too bad…I would say about 10 minutes? But then again, when I ordered my food there was nobody else in the restaurant.
I was actually a little disappointed by the burger I got. It wasn’t bad in any sense, but it wasn’t super delicious either. The beef itself was a little bland and didn’t have any juices to it at all. It lacked seasoning. The mushrooms and fried onion strings weren’t bad, but again there just wasn’t anything special about it. The whole burger was quite forgettable. But then again, this place is new and I think there may be just some kinks the chefs need to work out to get it off the ground. I see a lot of potential for this restaurant, but only if it can make their burgers better. They are definitely in a prime location on College Avenue so they’ll get a lot of foot traffic and exposure. What they do with that will be up to them.
Overall, I would recommend waiting a few more weeks before trying this place. I think once they really settle in this could be a gem, but until then it’s not worth trying yet. I also think they need to make their menu more daring because the burger selections are all pretty simple and normal…there’s just no wow factor here yet. For now, if you’re looking for a good burger joint in Berkeley, go check out Barneys about a mile down on College Avenue toward Broadway Street.