What do you get when you combine a three-star chef's know-how with an American icon? Something along the lines of DMK Burger Bar, which opened a few weeks ago in Lake View. The brainchild of restaurateur David Morton and chef Michael Kornick, it's not your ordinary burger joint.
"There's so many great places we can argue about for pizza, Italian beef, hot dogs, French bistros, Italian trattorias, Greek restaurants, but there's really only a couple of burger bars," said Michael Kornick, co-owner of DMK Burger Bar.
There are even fewer offering exclusively grass-fed beef. Here, it's pressed thin in a nod to In-N-Out Burger on the West Coast, then topped with carefully-sourced ingredients, like aged cheddar, smoked bacon, charred balsamic red onions and barbeque sauce. Add a fried egg for a buck extra.
Kornick loves his Rubens, so the #3 arrives with pastrami, French gruyere, sauerkraut and homemade remoulade. A trip to Albuquerque inspired the #4: roasted Hatch green chiles, a fried egg and Sonoma jack cheese.
It's not all beef here. Grass-fed lamb is crowned with sheep's milk feta, olives and creamy tzatziki sauce, while a veggie-friendly portobello mushroom is marinated, grilled, rolled in panko crumbs and fried, then dressed with fontina cheese, peppery arugula and marinated tomatoes.
The fries are beyond good: blanched then fried-to-order, they're either tossed with parsley, salt and pepper or sprinkled with parmesan and served with truffle cream. If cholesterol isn't an issue for you, go for the Amish blue cheese and smoked bacon version.
Sweet potatoes are also addictive, as are the impossibly thin-and-crispy onion strings, rubbed in dried chili, served with house-made ketchup.
Milkshakes are also made with care: the coffee version is blended with chopped cocoa nibs, which give it a crunchy edge. There's a family-friendly vibe early-on, but since it's a Burger Bar, the later it gets, the more interesting the sipping becomes.
"As the American classic the burger, I wanted to do all-American spirits. I included the Americas, although I have no Canadian whisky, but we have obviously a big preference for bourbons and ryes," said Kornick.
Here's the great thing about having a place called the burger bar, you can have a wonderful, handmade burger of course, and a beautiful milkshake, but you can also have a fantastic, handcrafted cocktail to boot; perfect for an American icon.
The burger bar also offers a few different types of mac and cheese, plus an assortment of homemade sodas.
DMK Burger Bar
2954 N. Sheffield