What is it about burgers and fries that go so well together? I was doing some more investigating at Rare in Chelsea.
Rare has two locations and I've only been to the one in Murray Hill YEARS ago with my dad. I barely remembered it (prob not a good sign, I thought), but me and my coworker Melissa were craving fries after a few drinks, so why not? It was cold and it was right there.
She informed me that Rare has a "fry basket" that comes with three different types of fries and six dipping sauces. Oh happy day! Waffle fries, sweet potato fries and regular shoestring fries come with (let's see if I can remember..) garlic aioli, chipotle mayo, maple sauce, Mexican ketchup, regular ketchup, and BBQ sauce. I think…yea that sounds about right. Either way – the waffle fries and shoestring were my favorites. The sweet potato fries were hit or miss. Some were good and some were sliced too thin, so they had a hard consistency and I don't mean crispy, they were almost tough. Weird. The sauces were tasty but the maple was a little too sweet for me. They said it went well with the sweet potato fries, but I think something salty would be a better contrast.
For our mains, it was burgers or bust. The entire menu is burgers, steaks or steak burgers. If you're a vegetarian, you might feel a little guilty just sitting in there. To that end, there are options for vegetarians that sound pretty good (one of which Melissa ordered even though she's not a vegetarian), but what can I say? I love my meat. I got the 3 mini burgers because I love variety and there are 3 different burgers (the type depends on the day and what is available), so that night it was BBQ brisket with coleslaw, a classic burger with smoked gouda and onions, and a Mexican burger with black bean spread, guacamole and chipotle puree. Truth be told, I thought that the BBQ brisket was the best one; it was so tender and had a great sweet and smoky sauce. And I love coleslaw on BBQ sandwiches, it has that same hot/cool concept like buffalo wings and blue cheese do. Yummm.
I normally don't comment too much on presentation unless it's pretty, but in this case, I feel I have to point out the sloppiness. I mean, look at the mini burgers. I have nothing against a heaping pile of fries to go with my burgers, but it looks like someone put burgers on the plate and then dropped a bag of fries on it from a very high altitude.
And also one fun fact about Rare: they work with Artisanal restaurant and get a specialty cheese each week from them that they use on their "Artisanal Burger" (this week it was the smoked gouda). I wouldn't go out of my way to go back to Rare, but I thought it was a good choice for any late-night cravings after a few drinks or possibly pre-drinks too. Granted, it's more expensive than your neighborhood pizza joint or something, but hey, you get three types of fries and six sauces. Win some, lose some.