Oktoberfest, the event, was started in the early 1800s in Germany, a celebration of beer brewed in the city of Munich. It is one of the largest “fair-type” events in the world, drawing more than 5,000,000 attendees annually. Events in the style of the original Oktoberfest take place across other cities in Germany, as well as worldwide.
Red Robin, in an homage to Oktoberfest, created the Oktoberfest burger, available for a limited time, and we had the chance to try it last night, at a friend’s birthday party held at a nearby Red Robin.
With a start time of 6:30 for the event, Mrs. Burgerdogboy and I set off plenty early, in an effort to try and avoid the horrible traffic in that direction at that time of day. We succeeded in arriving early, and had the chance to imbibe in Red Robin’s happy hour, which offers discounts on bar snacks and beverages.
Snacks were 2 / $5, and we tried the fried mushrooms, and the cheese sticks. They are served together in a paper cone, place in a wire rack, with holders for two ramikins of dipping sauces, a marinara, and a sweet/sour sauce.
The food was freshly fried, and we both liked the mushrooms, but (our personal tastes, only) the cheese sticks were lacking. We had been talking about fried cheese earlier in the day, and both agreed we much prefer the “fresh curd” style to the pre prepared appetizer that are so common. The cheese in the curd style have a creaminess and melt quality that the frozen ones don’t. Nevertheless, they were good enough, and we polished off the appys while Mrs. Burgerdogboy slugged down a half-dozen or so glasses of the house red, and I polished off two diet cokes (soft drinks are bottomless at Red Robin, as are the fries ordered with dinners).
We were seated at a table for 9, while the restaurant was busy, we didn’t have to wait, other than to allow them time to set up the table(s). We were angling for a table in Jillian’s section, at the suggestion of our hostess for the evening, but alas, Jillian didn’t have a table large enough in her section. DAMN. But our server, Katy, worked the party well, and patiently, dealing with a variety of ‘split-checks’ and that kind of rigmarole.
Both the birthday boy and I ordered the Oktoberfest Burger. Other orders at the table included the seafood “splatter” (an assortment platter), a ‘natural’ burger, the fish sandwich, and Mrs. Burgerdogboy chose the BLTA croissant (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado).
The Oktoberfest burger is so titled because it contains elements common to the German food culture. The burger patty was fire-grilled, and topped with Black Forest ham, Swiss cheese, and slivered onions sauteed in beer and mustard. The burger is served on a “weck” (kummelweck) a German “pretzel roll”, which is similar to a Kaiser. There are many variations of wecks, some are dusted with salt or caraway seeds. Wecks are pretty common on the East Coast of the US, a little hard to come by in Oregon, and that was the main attraction for me in ordering the burger.
Black Forest ham is common to German cuisine, and the most popular ham sold in Europe. It’s usually seasoned and cured for several months, and cold-smoked for finishing. It’s a very mild ham, and Red Robin’s source provided for a tasty topping for their burger.
If you are a regular reader, you know I generally order speciality burgers “as they were meant” to be served, and dissect them on my plate to try each of the individual ingredients, and last night was no different.
Run down? Burger patty was flavorful and ample in size. The bun was great, as was the black forest ham. The beer-onion sauteed onions? Not so fascinating to me. Generally, I am not a fan of mixing sweet and savory, and the addition of the sauteed onions did that to the Oktoberfest Burger. The onions were fairly sweet, and I wouldn’t want to have them again anytime soon. But these “reviews” are all about my personal preferences, and you might well enjoy these onions.
Red Robin is faily consistent in quality and service, at least in my experience. I would prefer it to someplace like Fuddruckers, for example. They definitely cater to young families, and the value of money for food is reasonable.
Plus they have the whole bottomless fries thing going on.
Red Robin spices up their menu offerings with these special burgers from time to time, and there appears to be something on the menu for everyone, whether you like beef, chicken, fish, or salads. Crayons for the kids (and me), and a fairly lengthy choice of kid’s menu offerings at a decent price.
Use Red Robin’s locator to find your nearest outlet, and, if you can’t afford a trip to Munich this year, at least sample a variety of German cuisine with the Oktoberfest Burger.
P.S. Red Robin has their own version of “Seasoned Salt” on the tables. I liked it very much.
Happy birthday Skip!