On a recent Monday night I went to the Bareburger restaurant located at 153 8th in Chelsea. I should have known it was going to be disappointment from their disorienting website that looks like it was designed by someone who missed their dose of Thorazine. Its chaotic form over graceful function foreshadowed my dining experience.
Upon entering the first thing I noticed is that there were only two other tables that were occupied. The industrial-rustic décor comprised of unpainted shiplap and an eclectic mix of unmatched metal chairs made for visual cacophony and cold cheeks. The tall green ochre booths blocked sight lines and Chi making the place feel smaller than necessary. The lights were so dim that I needed a cell phone to read the menu’s minuscule font. Dimly lit food does little to highlight its visual appeal. The kitsch chandeliers made of spoons and ladles left a tarnished impression. We sat at a booth with a view of the broom, dirty mop and pail. It was hardly a room with a view.
The music was blaring and I quickly found myself straining just to be heard. I wondered if they were trying to indirectly compel customers out the door to facilitate a quicker turnaround except there was no one waiting to fill the empty seats.
Each patron was given a small paper napkin which is insufficient in a burger joint. A napkin dispenser would have been a thoughtful convenience. I really don’t like wearing my food.
The staff was courteous and friendly except it was not enough to compensate for the unfortunate deficiencies of the food.
The advertised “Creamy Coleslaw” looked like orange Fideo’s and tasted like nothingness. There was nothing creamy about it.
The onion rings were overdone and slightly charred. The pairing of bitter charcoal and onion was a mismatch at best. The French fries were unremarkable.
The elk burger was a little above average, juicy and of ample size. The brioche bun with sesame seeds sounded like a nice idea but the dough lacked French flair.
My companion had a beef burger which bore similar characteristics to my elk burger. It was a good burger not memorable. The sprouted grain bun had an interesting texture but contributed little to the overall flavor.
I ordered the Bananas Foster milkshake with great anticipation but sadly Miss Chiquita must have been in foster care because I did not taste a single banana molecule. The flavor and consistency transported me back to the night before my last colonoscopy. The inside of the glass was coated with caramel that made it look unwashed and failed to add any taste since the milkshake was too cold for it to mix. They provided a straw of such narrow diameter that I needed Botox by the time I left. I really don’t like working so hard to eat.
With the large capital investment required of the franchisee I was surprised by the general mediocrity of my experience. Then again they offered a discount on Groupon recently, which can be perceived as weak sales. Perhaps if they created a better dining experience then it would not be necessary to offer a discount.
Sadly, my experience eating at Bareburger left me feeling … bare.