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Omnivore - One more burger in Virginia-Highland

Andrew Smith's burger at Atkins Park

Image If you haven't, check out my "Grazing" column this week. The comments are like a textbook example of what people project when they are writing anonymously (or what they mistakenly believe is anonymous).

I've received a couple of emails asking why I didn't visit Atkins Park. One reader sent me the following from the Virginia-Highland list on Yahoo:

Sadly, the best burger joint in VaHi was again overlooked. Atkins Park (Restaurant side if you want to bring kids), truly has the best burgers in VaHi. Their meat comes from the same farm as Yeah Burgers' (White Oak Pastures?) so it's grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free, but the patties themselves are nice, thick and juicy.

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  • Andrew Smith, chef at Atkins Park

You can also order them rare or medium rare if you choose and that is what you'll get. If you like fries wtih your burger they have hand cut (on the premises) fries YUM! If you want to bring the kids - they are welcome there and they have a small play area where your kids can play with others while the food is being prepared. They have all kinds of toppings for the burgers so go crazy; egg, bacon jam, various gourmet cheeses, etc. And if someone in your party doesn't want a burger there are a number of other delicious options. I think this may be sounding like an advertisement, so I will sign off with no benefit to me for writing this. Just wanted to share something great with my neighbors.

I was intrigued and decided to head there with Wayne Sunday night. And I have to agree that Chef Andrew Smith's burger is magnificent. He uses a thick patty of grass-fed beef and cooked mine a perfect medium-rare. You can select from an impressive list of ingredients. I chose caramelized onions, local goat cheese and bacon jam.

Wayne deviated from our continual diet of burgers during the last week. He ordered fried chicken with cream gravy, mac and cheese and garlicky green beans. It was the fried chicken that triggered my memory of reviewing the restaurant a couple of years ago. Smith worked with Scott Peacock, the preeminent Southern chef and fried chicken artist, at Watershed.

We also shared a starter of ceviche made with rock shrimp, squid, avocado and chopped tomatoes. It was a terrific combination with strong flavors. For for dessert we ordered donut holes flavored with cinnamon and mascarpone.

Smith truly has not received the attention he deserves. If you haven't been to Atkins Park in a while, it's very much worth a visit — burger or not.