Omnivore - Farm Burger packs 'em in

The new burger joint in Decatur markets "ethical eating."

No, it's not an over-dyed Easter egg. It's the pickled egg available as a snack at the new Farm Burger in Decatur. A light dousing of vinegar gives the egg its flavor and a layer of beets imparts the color.

We dined at the popular new burger joint next to Watershed Monday night. We had tried to eat there Sunday night but found the line to the counter so long and slow that we left. But Monday night, we had no wait at all. That's not to say the restaurant wasn't busy. Most tables were filled, so we apparently hit it at just the right time.

The gimmick here is ethical eating. The ingredients, including grass-fed beef, are from local farms. As the restaurant's website says:

Farm Burger is sustainable, local, humane, and helping to reroute our food system to function more like an ecosystem than a corporation. Our goal is to connect soil, animal, plant, rancher, butcher, chef & you…all in a simple wire basket.

How's the food in that wire basket taste? The beef itself is extraordinary. You'd have to have a ruined palate not to pick up the difference in this and the typical burger patty around town. However, toppings can rapidly overwhelm the natural flavor. I ordered the signature "farm burger" with white cheddar, caramelized onions and a heavy sauce. I added bacon. My first bites of the burger were way oily. It wasn't until I scraped away some of the toppings that I got the full flavor.

Wayne's burger — a special with salami and pimento cheese — was likewise excessive for my taste, but he had no complaint. He did whine about the fries, which were unduly limp.

I urge you to go easy on the toppings. There are some interesting ones available — or not available, as in the case of roasted bone marrow. There are also snacks and side dishes, like fried chicken livers, braised local greens, pork and beans, chicken croquettes and the pickled eggs.

I'll have more to say in a few weeks in "Grazing."

(Photo by Cliff Bostock)