Let's Go Out To the Lobby And Buy Ourselves a Snackbar

Burger Breakdown

Snackbar - Map It!
$14.00
Bacon, egg, cheese and cholesterol.
Crispy and peppery, they come with the meal, as well as with some of the best garlic dipping sauce known to man.
6.0/10

The small, cozy eatery Snackbar is oddly named. When we arrived in swimsuits and sandals we were not greeted in the way I had assumed at a restaurant named after a poolside hot dog stand. Perhaps  it may have been confusing to the other patrons and owners because, at around 30 degrees in November, we were perhaps not quite appropriately dressed. Despite the setback, we were offered a lovely two-top against the back wall where booth seating is embedded in the masonry.

The fireplace, mood lighting, candlelit tables and maroon walls made the interior seem particularly warm, though in fact it was rather chilly due to the fact that Snackbar is very small, and each time the door is opened all the warm air leaves.

There's a little bit of pretension hovering around everything at Snackbar, beginning with the cute name and cascading down into the drinks and the food items. This isn't necessarily a bad thing: The first step toward being classy is acting classy. But until real class arrives, the attitudes may seem mildly faux to those sensitive to such things.

The drink list is geared toward cocktails and specialty mixed drinks with a small but decent selection of bottled beers. You probably should just plan to go for the cocktails anyway. With nightly specials and twists on old favorites (French-inspired Manhattans made stronger and less sweet), your heart, or at least your liver, will swoon.

The Burger: Once again taking the cute track, Snackbar's Breakfast Burger is capped with bacon, egg and cheese. Also there's some lettuce, tomato and onion which I think are meant to be thrown on the floor. The whole concoction is served on a dark brown brioche roll with fries and the best garlic mayo dipping sauce this side of William Penn's erection.

Breakfast burger at Snackbar

Laurence: I don't know who came up with the idea of putting an egg on a burger. I think it was a Canadian. Whoever it was, he's a god-damned genius. Maybe the smartest man alive since Franklin himself. A single fried egg adds another 90+ calories to a meal, this includes 10% of the daily recommended allowance of saturated fat and cholesterol. And if there's one things we've learned about fat and cholesterol in our research it is that it tastes good. Really good.

A bite of an egg-covered burger is actually dangerous to the umami receptors on your tongue.* These are the receptors that detect savory things. You thought there were only four senses? Guess what: your kindergarden teacher lied to you. She lied to your precious little innocent 4-year-old face. She did that because she actually hated you. Or she was actually stupid. I know, reality hurts. Chin up.

Anyway, umami receptors, like eardrums have a threshold of acceptable values. Fire a gun next to your ear and you may go deaf. Eat an egg topped burger and you may actually permanently damage the nerves in your mouth. But unlike firing a gun next to your ear, which is not so smart and does not taste good, eating fried egg and a burger together is worth any possible detriment to your body.

So you can imagine that I was pretty excited about possibly dying on the stoop outside of Snackbar with yolk dripping from my grease-smeared lips. Sorry to inform you, it didn't happen.

I like egg, and I like gooey yolk, but I can't stand slimy egg white. It's the consistency of snot. It's not pleasant. Some people don't seem to mind this. I mind it a great deal, but I'm not dumb, at least when it comes to knowing the ropes at a restaurant. I asked for the egg to be flipped and cooked, if only briefly, to ensure no slimy egg white. Our waitress obliged but she put my egg on Kyle's burger. The not-so-clever among you might think, “well just switch eggs,” to which I retort, “When was the last time you tried to move a fried egg with a fork?”

The bacon was thick and might have landed itself in the top five had it not been slightly undercooked making it a bit chewy and generally unpleasant. The good parts of the bacon were very good, with a flavor reminiscent of glazed, smoked ham.

The other aspects of the meal achieved high marks. The meat was well cooked and thoroughly juicy. The brioche bun was fresh and wholesome, and the fries were salty, crisp, and complemented with a healthy does of garlic mayo.

This burger really could have been a contender had a slight bit more attention been devoted to cooking the food. The ingredients are high quality but in the end the execution was slightly less than that. I was hoping to damage my tongue in an umami explosion but it just didn't happen. Final thought: visit Snackbar for a cocktail but not for a burger and wait until you can wear shorts. Rating 6/10.

*Beware, I'm breaking out the science-minded facts, like a napalm bomb on your brain.**

**Early signs of a cholesterol-related stroke include incoherent speech.

Breakfast burger at Snackbar

Kyle: There are two kinds of people in the world: people who think breakfast is the best meal of the day, and people who are me. I’ve never been on the breakfast-all-the-time bandwagon, since most options come down to eggs or cereal, and neither of them go very well with bourbon. On top of that, the corner lunch truck has seen me consume a sickening number of journalist's salary-inspired baconeggncheese (no saltpepperketchup) sandwiches, and somewhere around the 20,000 loser’s lunch I simply lost the taste.

My old $2.00 standby never had a burger under it, though, and it’s a mathematically proven fact that everything is improved by adding a burger. Nor did the old writer’s diet staple have bacon quite as exquisite as Snackbar’s. Thick as a chunk of beef jerky and nearly as tough, it was almost worth the price of admission alone. Complementing that was the gooey cheese, mellow and slightly stinky. Like the slices of exhaust fume-smoked American cheese you get at a lunch cart, it rapidly melted into the meat, the bread and the egg.

Speaking of the egg... I’m just going to put this out there: eggs are disgusting, conceptually. And visually. And in every other way. When I eat them, I prefer them scrambled or in an omelet—some way that obscures the fact I’m sucking down placental fluid. The egg at Snackbar did not offer this distraction. While the egg white (mmm, cytoplasm) was cooked to an unrecognizably crispy brown, the yoke (mmm, undeveloped embryo) looked like it hadn’t seen warmth since it left the hen. A dark yellow, it swirled in stomach-churning fashion, with a viscous oil-like blob floating ominously in the center.

Of course I ate it.

Putting the dry bun on top of the egg, the yoke immediately ruptured and dripped over everything in a sticky, slimy fashion, reducing the bottom bun to uncooked french toast. Aside from skeevy texture, the runny yellow didn’t have much flavor, while the white, aside from being cracker-crispy, also didn’t have much flavor. For the first time in my life, I really focused on the bland character of an egg, and realized while I’ve never liked them: eggs taste like poverty. I taste enough of that already.

Snackbar’s meat was cooked properly and had been very heavily salted and peppered, but aside from that it didn’t seem like much had been done to it. I’m fine with this both because I’m a hoofed mammal when it comes to salt and because the thick patty was decent, but I would have liked to have seen more. Maybe they were going for the authentic bacon, egg and cheese experience. I get it. It’s cute. Stop it. You're not good at it. Even Wawa's egg sandwiches don't resemeble afterbirth.

I’ll be back to Snackbar, as the atmosphere and staff were charming and the drinks were good. I may even order the burger again, as the meat and cheese components were great, and the garlic-loaded aioli was outstanding and complemented the peppery fries perfectly. If I order it again though, I’m going to ask the chef to take the egg, fertilize it, sit on it until it hatches, raise the human-chicken monstrosity as his own child, take it to school, console it after its first breakup, watch it get married, and then slaughter it and put a cutlet on my burger. Eggs exist to create things that are tastier than eggs. As Laurence pointed out, putting an egg on a burger is a Canadian convention, and we should never follow the example of a country that doesn't know the difference between ham and bacon. Rating: 6/10.

Verdict: 

Snackbar is cute. Salmonella is not. Check out the bar and skip the burger. If you must eat it, ask for the egg cooked over well. Or at least over easy. Just make sure they put it over a fire at some point.

6.0
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