I met the illustrious Christy for lunch at Vic & Anthony's a week or so ago. I typically don't spend "big money" on lunch, unless you count that "Crazy Combination" I purchased at the grocery store that netted me free chips, mayo, cheese and snack crackers with the purchase of a family package of lunch meat. I typically eat lunch at my desk three to four times per week, leftovers or sandwiches (Out of my head, little Bad Santa kid). I save my "eating out" lunch for something I really want or just have got to try. In this case, I have been wanting the oft-lauded crab cake and the Burger Friday special. I have seen the mac'n cheese burger in pixel form, and it made me drool on my keyboard. Explains why the comma button malfunctions sometimes, I guess. Here's the picture, so you can drool too - stupid burger porn. I am not responsible for the state of your keyboard.
I don't normally have much nice to say about the local restaurant "magnate" that is Tilman Fertitta. Local gems have been aquired, marked up and dumbed down. Or, you don't get what you pay for anymore. After all, my last trip to La Griglia, and I do mean last trip, ever, unless someone with a big funny bone totes my ashes along for the ride, was a disgusting adventure riddled with very poor service. I keep hearing, V&A's is the jewel of the empire...the "Hope Diamond" in a sea of gastronomic mediocrity. Best crab cakes ever, I hear. The burgers on Friday are so divine, I hear. FINE, I'm going, I'm, uh, I went. I did it, I put revenue in T.F.'s pocket. Here's how the adventure went down:
There are parking meters across the street, but, the valet service (not complimentary - $6) is efficient, well-run and you don't have to make the block to park "over there", when you know that if you try it, when you drive back - they'll be full and you'll be making the block, again. The staff are all well trained, helpful and supremely professional - excellent service. Now, let's get down to brass tacks. The crab cake. My "real" reason for going. We split one cake to start our meal, that was a bit of a mistake. The jumbo lump crab in a delicate chive beurre blanc, without any discernable breading as binder, should really not be shared. I don't care how rich it is, it's truly delightful, and I know I can eat the whole thing. By. My. Self. That being said, sharing allowed us to have some burger action. Well, and I'm working to cure my chubbiness. It's not sexy. Hell, it's not even cute.
One Vic Burger and one Anthony burger, both ordered medium-rare. Apparently, we hit on a Friday without a special burger. Rats. Both came with fries (so much for that "diet", they were delish) and we had a plate with each having our own ketchup, mustard and mayo, plus the little aioli for the fries. We cut our burgers in half (we split, half a burger dressed with bacon and cheddar, half of a bleu cheese) my burger was a perfect slightly warm pink inside. The exterior of the patty was nicely seared and slightly crisp, the meat stood up to the condiments and "squish" needed to wedge it in my mouth for a bite. Christy's was not perfect. It was grey through and through and an over-cooked burger is not a juicy burger, back it went. When the new one arrived, it was almost too rare, but, if you leave it be a few minutes, it keeps cooking. So, it ended up being more okay, than not. The buns are outstanding (Bernie's like, chewy - excellent) the burgers were thick, not quite as flavorful as I anticipated, but, better than your average burger. Crisp fresh toppings and very good fries.
Bottom Line: While somewhat expensive, well, when you add a crab cake, the overall experience was worth it. I'll go back for the crab cake and a salad at lunch. I'll go on Fridays, when I do, so I can stalk the Mac'n Cheese Burger like it's Justin Bieber. The service was impeccable, including the valet service. This was a splurge, including valet and a valet tip (SirRon, I officially declare myself a "Tip Idiot") the whole thing cost me $38 plus toll fees to get downtown and back. Damn that crabby patty was good. No complaints, but, my bologna will have a first name for the next week or so, just saying.
As an aside, when I go places like this I am reminded that I am Ellen Tebbits, all grown up. Hair gone wild, food stains on my shirt that I was unaware of and just an overall, feeling of dorkiness. Thanks for not making me feel like an outright goober, V&A's.