Time To Bite Down On Platform 8!
As many of you know, I am a “Burger Aficionado” – and whenever a new “burger bar” opens up, I will be there to give it a try…and that opportunity presented itself in Napa Valley, thanks to a great Chef who has decided to tackle my favorite food!
Chef Michael Chiarello, who already has a terrific Italian restaurant in Yountville called Bottega, has opened up Platform 8, which is a burger bar and ice cream lab!
The menu is small, just a few burgers, including a veggie burger and chicken sandwich, plus fries, onion rings and other sides on a specials basis, and of course, his “liquid nitrogen” ice cream!
My Platform * Burger Review!
I ate three separate times – had to do the research for you, right?
Let’s begin with his burger: I ordered “The Classic” – a single patty with tomato, lettuce, house pickles, onion – along with his “mixie-doodle” sauce, which is something he grew up on: mayonnaise, mustard AND ketchup all mixed together!
I order some “billionaire’s bacon” and smoked mozzarella as well.
Here is what showed up:
As you can see, the burger is partially built for you: on the right side is the burger, cheese and a bit of the “mixie-doodle” sauce, which is on the bun already, and on the left is the pickle, tomato, onions and lettuce. I liked this presentation, because it allowed me to build my burger the way I wanted, and the billionaire’s bacon came on the side as well:
Billionaire’s Bacon Rules!
Now, this was dynamite bacon – meaty, smoky, DELICIOUS bacon. So much so that I decided to eat some of it as a side dish, so I just put one of the slabs on the burger – once together, I had this:
An important note here: the burger tasted great, and Chef points out that this is his signature blend of beef freshly ground daily with a touch of what he calls “mad science” – and he warns you that they will be juicy!
Delicious And Juicy, Yes – But What About That Bun?
So, as you can see the burger looks terrific, and the smoky mozzarella really stands out as well – the burger drips nicely, which I chose to position over my fries for maximum effect – more on those fries in a moment – but I was really in love with the bun – which is a house made, “not so” english muffin – and it is amazingly good!
The Revelatory “Not So” English Muffin!
I cannot adequately tell you how much I love this bun – it’s a perfect compliment for the flavor of the burger, condiments and cheese.
There is a slight bit of crunch, but the muffin is thin, and it’s soft and chewy as well – one of the best buns I have ever had!
Time For The Chicken!
I headed back to Platform 8 a day later to try one more burger – and of course that incredible bun!
Here is the bun again: this time holding their “Crispy Chicken Burger”, which I think I liked even more!
It comes with “southern pressed slaw” – which is a perfect compliment to the chicken and that incredible bun!
This is a great sandwich: I added some cheddar, so all-in it was $12, and I had some fries for $4 as well:
Chef says the fries are “thrice fried” in olive oil to be the healthiest on the planet – well, I can say they are not greasy at all, and are slightly crunchy outside and fluffy inside, exactly what you want!
An important note about the menu: it is extremely limited – but they have a vegan burger, a bun-less burger, and early reviews said they had a $50 version that fed 3-4 people, but this menu no longer lists that, just a note stating you can ask about less healthy options:
I have seen reviews complaining that there are no salads or other options, but this is a burger bar and ONLY a burger bar…
There was only one last thing to try – take a look at the last description on the menu under the heading “Ln2”:
Time For Some “Molecular Milkshake Magic!”
As the menu states: this milkshake will be made with “the 4th coldest element on the planet” – so I had to try it:
The entrance is separate from the burger bar, and inside you see the huge tank of liquid Nitrogen that connects to the machines that make molecular milkshake magic:
I have to say that the person working “the magic” this day wasn’t in a very good mood, and it turns out, he had already performed his “nitro work” on a batch of ice cream, so I didn’t get to see it happen…but he served me a nice caramel milkshake anyway:
The taste? Well, it was the most velvety smooth ice cream I’ve ever had – a rich vanilla flavor with a hint of the caramel I added…BUT – I didn’t get the wacky nitro toppings offered, and honestly, I would have been more adventurous if I had the chance to see the process from a more “welcoming” staff member…
That said, both the burger and the fried chicken sandwich were outstanding, and the staff in the burger bar were fast and friendly.
So there you have it, a great new addition to the Napa Valley burger family, and worth trying, even with the limited menu!
Of course, there are a number of great burgers in wine country, led by the legendary Taylor’s Refresher:
Yes, Taylor’s Refresher has been satisfying Napa valley for decades, although a burger battle resulted in a name change to Gott’s – read about it here:
Also in Napa, a regional chain opened up and served this unique “Squeeze” burger:
The only way to explain it is to showy the process, which you can see here:
Let me know how many of these incredible burgers you’ve had!
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