On the Burger Trail: The Kobe Burger at Lagniappe Brasserie
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17001 W. Greenfield Ave., New Berlin
Looking for cozy? You can't get much cozier than Lagniappe Brasserie, a former residence-turned-restaurant that retains that possesses gallons of homey, welcoming charm.
The menu, which changes daily, is a seasonal feast of French inspired fare, often served up with a global twist. Dishes are moderately priced, and you'll find a good number of French staples, like escargot, fricassee and frangipane tart for dessert.
It's a brasserie. So it's the sort of place where steak frites might be common; but it's not necessarily the sort of place you'd expect to find a burger. And yet, there it is on the lunch menu, listed under "Fine Dining Sandwiches."
The Kobe Burger is comprised of a half-pound Australian wagyu patty with a choice of Hook's Maahentery Jack or cheddar; 13-year aged cheddar is also available for an additional $2 (I went with that). The burger is served with a choice of sides: Italian pasta salad, cottage cheese or gaufrette chips ($12).
Note: The Kobe burger is only available on the lunch menu, which is served Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There's not a ton of pomp and circumstance surrounding this burger. In fact, it's as simple as can be, served with its majestic patty front and center and its accompanying bun in sort of a hat-tip of sorts, almost as if it's paying homage to the beef, the true star of the show.
The burger is served on a housemade petit pain au lait topped with black sesame seeds. It's a lovely little milk bun with a soft dense interior that's not quite as sweet as brioche, but very tender. It's exterior is nicely crisp, as are the cut sides of the bun, which came nicely toasted. The burger was juicy, but the bun was up to the task, soaking up the juices from the burger patty with ease.
The half-pound burger patty is thick and well shaped. It's almost too perfect in its shape. But, based on the attention to detail granted to other dishes at Lagniappe, I'm suspecting it's been hand-pattied with the help of a mold, giving it a uniform shape and thickness. The patty is chargrilled to order; in my case, it came to the table a perfect mid-rare. The meat was very well seasoned and plenty juicy with a meaty texture that offered just the right amount of resistance when bitten.
This is the sort of burger that doesn't need much in the way of embellishments to shine. But the 13-year cheddar – with its salty tang – offered an intense flavor boost that you'd be unlikely to get from another type of cheese. It was beautifully melted and coated the whole of the burger, so each bite was augmented with its flavor. The burger was also accompanied a small mound of fresh spring mix, sliced red onion and a skewer of cherry tomatoes and cornichons, all of which one might choose to add to the burger, though in my estimation they weren't needed.
The menu calls the kobe burger a "fine dining sandwich" … and the moniker isn't inappropriate. That's thanks to the little details from the fine housemade roll, to the ultra-beefy patty and the exceptional aged cheese. Based on the quality alone, it's a $14 burger worth eating.
The burger at Lagniappe is deceptively simple, but quite wonderful.
Lagniappe Brasserie is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.
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