An Infuriating Lunch
Mary Ann Fitzmorris February 07, 2020 11:21 Dining Diary
There are two guys from college I see on a semi-regular basis. I don’t know how this started but I am glad it did. I always enjoy my lunches with them more than just about any other. We have riveting discussions about food, which is usually not my go-to topic. One of them is more mainstream, the other passionate enough for us all. And that makes it fun. Fortunately, we agree on most things, so debate is good-natured on the rare occasion that there is disagreement. And the one thing we most agreed on last Friday at lunch was how not happy we were with it.
It was my idea to go to Doris Metropolitan for lunch. I had heard rumors of a hamburger there, which I imagined to be something really special. It was Dori’s, right? I have only eaten there twice, but I loved loved loved it each time. And a hamburger? Yes, please!
The guys arrived earlier than I did, and had ordered two iced teas and an eggplant appetizer. They had frozen looks of fear which they explained to be a quick look at the menu, where there was no hamburger listed. Anyone unfamiliar with Doris Metropolitan will maybe not understand a wealthy friend's refusal to take his wife there for her 60th recently. After a look at the menu he told me he wouldn’t take her there for a coronation. When the guys told me there was no burger on the menu, I had the same terrified look.
Until we were assured from eavesdropping an adjacent table that the burger is a secret menu item, available only on Fridays after the week’s worth of trimmings can result in a complex burger of ground beef. Available in limited numbers.
We ordered quickly, getting the last three. I had the radio show to do at 3, so when I arrived at 1:30 and we ordered pretty quickly, I had no idea I would be going to the kitchen to inquire about the burger at 2:26. The place was spottily filled, so slow service is inexcusable. The problem wasn’t the service. It was the kitchen. Our poor waiter was most attentive, reporting on the progress of our burger in almost comical fashion. “I just saw them go on the grill. Just checked on them. The cheese is melting as we speak. Yours is coming up in five minutes.” My back was to the kitchen, so my friends gave me a play by play. When burgers in the waiter’s hand were delivered to the bar instead of us, I went to the kitchen to cancel them. (The kitchen is open at the bar. I didn’t bust through swinging doors.)
I got another update from the waiter. "That one is yours. They are plating the other two." They finally arrived at our table nearly an hour after my arrival. C’mon. A burger?
So, how was it? Good. The burger was complicated, with two kinds of cheese (Roquefort and Gouda), a mushroom and onion marmalade, and a black garlic aioli. A Romaine lettuce leaf and cornichons for pickles. Huh? It was oddly-shaped into sort of a ball in the middle, less meat on the edges. Cooking temps were odd. Mine was well-done as I had asked, one of them rare that was ordered medium. Fortunately It went to the most adventurous of us three.
We ate these way too quickly to enjoy them, which is a pity because they could have been savored. The bun was exceptionally good, with sesame seeds and toasted perfectly. It had a crumb dense enough to support a burger like this, and the other flavors blended into a nice harmony. This was a delicious bite of food. The eggplant appetizer over tahini was also very nice, with a beautiful presentation and a pronounced charred flavor.
The bill was $98. The burgers were $21 apiece, and my friends learned that iced tea there is not brewed but in a bottle for $6. Of course.
Have I fallen out of love with Doris Metropolitan? No. In this month of love, it’s a good example of Rule Number One. Quarrels are inevitable. Besides, I didn’t pay.
620 Chartres St New Orleans
5:30-10:30 Seven Days
Friday Lunch Noon-2:30