If It’s Monday, It Must Be Time For Burgers & Burgundies
There is Meatless Monday. And there is Meatball Monday at some establishments.
But for the ultimate highbrow-lowbrow experience, there is Burgers & Burgundies on Monday nights at Selby’s in Redwood City.
Bacchus Management Group, which operates Selby’s, had featured Burgers & Burgundies for years at its Michelin-stared Spruce in San Francisco. Although discontinued there, the tradition has been brought over to Selby’s.
Last week, I had a chance to try this irresistible combo when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.
The burger-wine combo can be enjoyed either in the dining room or at the bar. Think of it as a more low-key dining option at the posh restaurant when you don’t want to linger for hours over a multitude of courses.
Even so, this is still Selby’s, where a custom brass and crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling, walls are covered in plush mohair, and a martini cart rolls to your table for the ultimate in chilled martinis.
As such, this is still a pretty swank experience, whether you opt for the Selby’s Burger ($21) or the Black Label Burger ($50). On Mondays, three burgundies not normally available by the glass can be enjoyed that way, priced from about $15 to $40. A flight of all three ($28) is even offered, which is the way I went. What’s more, you can enjoy the burgundies by the glass or in the flight even if you don’t want a burger but rather are hankering for the 14-ounce rib eye or braised rabbit or anything else instead.
That evening, the burgundies featured were: 2017 Regnie imported by Kermit Lynch that was easy drinking and fruit-driven; 2017 Domaine de Bellene Beaune Cuvee du Cinquantenaire that had slightly more structure, as well as red cherry, and violet notes; and 2016 Morey-Saint-Denis, fuller-bodied with lovely mushroom and soil savoriness.
Whatever you order, dinner begins with complimentary Gruyere popovers, warm from the oven. Sure, your burger is going to come with a bun. But carbs be damned. Just sit back and enjoy the burnished, cheesy popovers with their poofy light interiors.
My husband and I decided to order appetizers, too: the Classic Wedge Salad ($16) for him; and the Dungeness Crab Salad ($26) for me.
The wedge salad is perfectly cold and crisp. The lettuce is actually brined, giving the leaves a nice subtle tang that makes them even more refreshing than usual. The iceberg is piled high with bacon, tomato, egg and blue cheese crumbles, so that you get all the fixings in every bite.
The Dungness crab salad is very rich. It’s more like Dungeness crab meat folded into a load creme fraiche then garnished with a green apple gelee, and not lump crab meat strewn over lettuce leaves like you might expect. Yellow mustard seeds add a piquant bite to lighten things up a bit. Save some of your popover to smear the crab salad on for the best bite of all.
The Selby’s burger is two patties crowned with Comte cheese and a slaw fortified with “special sauce” (sort of like a more pickle-y and tomato-forward Thousand Island). The beef is coarsely ground, giving it great texture. It’s a satisfying, three-napkin burger, with the meat juices and runny slaw dripping out as you take bite after bite.
Take a bite of the Black Label burger and your shoulders will straighten immediately. This is the kind of burger that has gourmet written all over it, making you instantly pay attention to it. It arrives open-faced with the patty covered in melted funky Epoisses, as well as a shower of grated Australian black truffle. Pile on the lettuce, tomato and top bun, and dig in. It’s lush tasting, with the truffles adding deep earthiness and the cheese amplifying the deep taste of aged beef. This is one decadent burger, and light eaters might opt to take half of it home to enjoy the next day, as I did.
Both burgers come with most excellent fries — incredibly crisp on the outside and airy within, with just the right amount of salt.
Tiny chilled silver cups hold mustard and ketchup to add as you will.
It’s fun to enjoy a flight of burgundies with the burger because you can really hone in on which characteristics go best with it.
For dessert, we shared the caramel apple tart ($14), which was nothing like I imagined. Instead of the typical pie-shaped slice or mini galette served warm, this was a fanciful slender oval pastry served chilled that was filled with apple puree, apple butter and apple slices. An enticingly boozy scoop of bourbon ice cream came alongside. It was so modern in looks and utterly beguiling in taste.
Even if you’re only having burgers, you still get customary passion fruit bonbons and strawberry macarons prior to the check.
What’s more, you still receive at the end of the meal the teeny gift box holding a rose-scented, mini bundt cake to take home, too.
After all, Burgers & Burgundies may be a more casual way to eat at Selby’s, but it’s in no way schlubbing it.
More: Dining at Selby’s More Formally