A hungry horde puts a kitchen to the test… {Day 6 – the Wall Street Tavern Burger}

Last night, my posse and I descended on downtown Roanoke like a horde of hungry locusts, ready to strip the burger landscape bare.

It was a bustling night in our little city, and we’d arrived for Movies in the Market — like a drive-in downtown, with a giant screen set up near the Center in the Square building, and a fidgety, giggly, popcorn-munching crowd splayed out on picnic blankets and lawn chairs under the stars.

But, first … Burgers.

The victim of our appetites last night was Wall Street Tavern — a City Market Building eatery that just celebrated its one-year anniversary.  I happen to like WST, with its cozy tables clustered under the open-air awnings, its cafe-style string lights twinkling over diners like so many fireflies.  It’s a casual place, perfect both as a workday lunch spot or as a homey pub for a beer and — yes — a burger.

I have to admit, though:  our little tribe can put any grill cook through their paces, and last night, we kept the kitchen busy.  There were ten of us on the patio, and eight of us — count ’em — ordered the burger. (I think my project is developing into a contagion).

Just look at that ravenous crowd of vikings:

It’s tough for a small kitchen to serve eight burgers at the same time and get the temperatures right, and the result of that was that mine might have been cooked a little more toward medium-well than my usual medium.  Still, I devoured mine in minutes, and I swear, my tiny-and-adorable friend Beth made hers disappear in what felt like seconds:

(It’s always the little people, right?) 🙂

The general consensus at the table?  WST makes a good blank-slate burger that begs for a little paint on the palette (or palate), so to speak.  We liked what we had — a half-pound patty on toasted brioche with a frill of lettuce, a thick-sliced tomato, our choice of cheese (I chose havarti), and a touch of sweetness in the balsamic-grilled onions.  Still, each of us had a hankering to personalize our burgers with a little extra “oomph.”  My friend Meredith said she’d love hers kicked up with some of WST’s eye-opening sriracha aioli.  My man T suggested a dollop of parmesan ranch to complement the restaurant’s ((fabulously addictive)) garlic-parmesan fries.

Me?  I wanted to balance out the sweet balsamic with something a little bit more bracing — a lemon-dill aioli, or perhaps a salty hit of crumbled feta.  And bacon … Everything’s better with bacon, right?  That peppery crunch would finish this burger off nicely.

All that to say this:  I’m really excited to visit WST again on a Wednesday — the restaurant’s actual “Burger Night” — when you can top your sandwich with a choice of 30 different accoutrements … and get 25% off your burger, too.

I’ll be back, WST, ready to get seriously creative.

Until then, folks… Happy eating!