Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Gettin’ Good and Greasy in West Palm Beach
213 Clematis St.
West Palm Beach, FL
I think I hit the Suits in Strange Places jackpot tonight.
I stumbled into a gourmet burger bar with dozens of flat screen TVs, the MLB package showing all the baseball games across the country, a beer selection of over 50 microbrews and a life-size longhorn perched over the marquee.
And the place is named “Grease.”
Welcome to heaven on Earth!
Greasy burgers, baseball and beer. What more could a traveling Suit ask for while cruising around downtown West Palm Beach with a growling stomach?
Palm Beach is home to Donald Trump, Jimmy Buffett and Rush Limbaugh. It’s one of the wealthiest municipalities on Planet Earth.
WEST Palm Beach is, well, NOT Palm Beach.
Still an active taxpayer-financed construction site, several bars and restaurants have taken the free subsidy and opened shop in the newly gilded downtown.
Including the irresistibly named burger bar Grease.
I was most excited about Grease’s massive beer selection, conveniently mounted on the bar’s back wall for my perusing pleasure.
Almost by muscle memory, I asked my first-day-on-the-job bartender for my draft options.
But unlike most gastropubs, Grease’s healthy beer selection is mostly in the bottle.
After starting with a local IPA on draft, I moved on to a selection from the bottled beer list.
Not only had I never before tasted either beer, but I had never even HEARD OF either brewery.
Wow. That’s impressive for Suit757.
I get real excited when I discover new brews!
The local draft was from Due South Brewery in Boynton Beach – basically a home brew geek who decided to start selling his beer.
Now that’s some entrepreneurship I can appreciate!
Hoppy and crisp, it was a good but fairly standard IPA prototype.
It was when I ventured onto the bottle list that things started to get interesting.
My Thomas Creek “Up the Creek” Extreme IPA lived up to its name. And then some.
This microbrew from Greenville, South Carolina packed a mind-numbing punch.
At just under 13% alcohol, this is one of the most powerful beers I’ve ever tried that didn’t have a Dogfish Head label on the bottle.
The color was shocking. It poured into my chilled glass a deep amber.
Holy crap! What happened to the “Pale” in IPA?
The aroma of hops nearly knocked me off my bar stool before I even took my first sip.
But the extreme alcohol content yielded a surprisingly sweet taste. To reach the upper atmosphere summit of 13% alcohol, Thomas Creek had to add tons of malt, which generates massive sweet flavor.
The result was I sipped my Up the Creek Extreme IPA like an after-dinner liqueur.
I was a bit disappointed with the burger menu.
For a place that bills itself as a gourmet burger joint, Grease doesn’t offer as many burger variations as you might expect.
Oh sure, you can get some weird burger with apples on top. But who the hell wants that?
I expected a bit more creativity.
My biggest pet peeve with restaurant burgers is they always over-cook them. I like mine a nice pink medium.
Man was not meant to eat dried-up, over-charred ground beef. But that’s what every lawyer-phobic restaurant owner gives you, no matter how rare you order it.
Anticipating this issue, I ordered my Durango Burger medium-rare, in the hopes of getting some pink – and some grease – some where in the middle of my dead cow.
Low and behold, Grease gave it to me exactly how I ordered it.
In fact, I think I heard it moo at me after I bit into it.
The restaurant’s namesake came pouring out of the red red meat and pooled in an appetizing puddle on my plate.
The hearty, beefy flavor of high quality fatty ground beef really comes through when it isn’t over-cooked.
I enjoyed my medium-rare burger immensely – even if the e-coli does eventually kill me.
For eleven bucks, you’d think you get something with your burger.
So I got a half order of top-notch thin-cut onions rings on the side.
With tax and tip, the total bill came to about $33 for two beers and a burger.
But, hey, with a name like Grease, it’s got to be good!
Rating: Seriously Thought About Buying Shirt.