An Explanation of Our Best Burger: Big City Dogs Versus Rok:Brgr

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Rok:Brgr, at right, and Big City Dogs. Both put out amazing burgers.

If you've perused the New Times Best of Broward-Palm Beach edition already, you might've noticed something curious. We named Rok:Brgr the Best New Restaurant but gave Big City Dogs our Best Burger award. So, how could the best new restaurant that also happens to be a burger joint not win Best Burger?

First, an explanation of why Rok:Brgr beat out many excellent new restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach counties this year. Quite simply, the place nails the gastropub concept better than any of them -- and there sure have been many gastropubs in the past few years. It's clear the ownership scrutinized everything. Inventive dishes like the lobster corn dogs are the kind of thing that will likely be copied on many other menus. That's true with the drinks too, which include an old fashioned made with bacon-infused Maker's Mark. Then there's the ambiance, which was clearly scrutinized down to the cool outdoor bar that faces in, the antique brick on the walls, and the alt rock that gets progressively louder as Himmarshee picks up.

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Rok:Brgr's lobster corn dogs: soon to be on other menus?


But if there's one complaint I've heard about Rok:Brgr, it's that people don't want to spend double digits on a burger. They range from $9 for the simple classic to a whopping $20 for the king, a Waygu burger that comes topped with foie gras and a red wine reduction. Of course, most of those I've heard complain haven't been, because if they try the morning glory -- a beautiful number with American cheese, bacon, and a fried egg -- there's little argument that this is our Best New Restaurant.

That said, there's a cost-per-bite analysis that has to go into the Best Burger calculation, and there, Big City Dogs comes out slightly ahead. Big City Dogs' burger has also been scrutinized down to every detail. It starts with a fresh and fluffy bun buttered and griddled. The toppings are everything you'd want -- mayo, mustard, ketchup, tomato, lettuce, grilled onions, bacon, and pickle spears (that's right, the kind of spears you'd find on a Chicago hot dog, and they provide a great crunch). Oh, and the secret to the patty: The fresh-ground burger is fortified with lard. This is no foie gras-topped gastropub number, but it's fantastic, and it's gold for just $6.75.

So there's good news to all of this: We seem to be in the era of hamburger restaurants, and for residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties, we've got two damned good burger joints with Rok:Brgr and Big City Dogs.


Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB. Follow Eric Barton on Twitter: @ericbarton.

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Chuck
Chuck

Actually ROK BRGR serves serves "Certified Angus Beef" and "Certified Angus Beef Prime" They also serve Snake River farms Kobe.  All three of these cuts are 10 times better than any other burger place in all of South Florida. That is why they won, Burger Battle, Best Burger on Channel Ten news and Now Best Burger in New Times. They also won Best New Restaurant. This should come down all the haters that like these little nonsense no atmosphere burger places. Rok Brgr's burger costs more to make than the others sell their burgers for. I have tried them all and ROK is like a Mercedes and the rest are like Honda's. You ultimately get what you pay for. PERIOD.  

Larry
Larry

10 times better? Get real do they have a monopoly on CAB? Cheesecake factory uses CAB or Kobe for ALL of their burgers. Gilberts is CAB also copper canyon has great CAB burger. III forks mortons and the office all have prime burgers.

Besides cab is not 10 times better. Why does marbling matter for ground beef?Cab only matters for steaks.

CowboyRick
CowboyRick

Chuck has been tricked by the trickery. ROK uses the term "Certified Black Angus", which is a trick to get you to think that its CAB, which it's not. Certified Black Angus only means that the beef is from cattle that is at least 51% Black Angus. They openly advertise the 1855 program on their web site, which is a choice beef program (MT00+). Also, CAB is not a prime program. It's also an MT00+ program. It's considered a bit better than 1855. I'm not sure any of it matters, because when you grind beef you're mixing it with fat. You can make a pretty good burger with 80/20 ground chuck.

And they didn't win burger battle; they won people's choice, which you win by coaxing the most people to give you their chip. The won best new restaurant because Marc and Eric are buddies. Everyone in broward knows that Rocco's Tacos is the best new restaurant this past year. By such a wide margin that it's not even a matter for discussion.

Chuck
Chuck

Still confused bud. They switched to CAB and CAB PRIME a month after they opened.  And Rocco's is cool, but the food sucks balls and it is corporate. Not boutique at all!!! How many more awards does ROK BRGR have to win...Your in denial. 

Iheartrekers
Iheartrekers

I for one am white and scared of colored people and those with sexual preferences I don't understand. Naturally, I fully endorse Inside Fort Lauderdale as the bigot's website of choice!

CowboyRick
CowboyRick

Great, so according to ground Chuck, they've been mis-marketing their business for 6 out of 7 months that they've been open. Although I think CAB is losing its luster. People realize that  places were making great burgers long before there was CAB. With all of the Angus, Black Angus, Certified Black Angus nonsense people are just becoming numb to it all. They have prime burgers now at Ruby Tuesday. Are you going to Ruby's for a burger? Probably not.

Steve
Steve

Good point Rick. Rok uses a Cab on all their burgers. I just spoke to a manager and their new website will be out in 3 weeks. I personally love Roccos and Rok:Brgr. I think they are both assets to Lauderdale and actually make the dining scene more creditable. I also love new times and inside fort lauderdale. They are both great sources for info. Congrats to all the other winners as well.

CowboyRick
CowboyRick

It's the hottest place in the city by a wide margin; While it is corporate, but doesn't play that way at all. How many "corporate" restaurants have the owner doing shots with patrons and give away bottle of tequila for hot chicks who dance on the bar? 

CowboyRick
CowboyRick

If that's the case, the the folks at Rok:brger are pretty stupid, because the menus on their web site advertise the 1855 program. The entire point of the CAB program is that you can use the branding to advertise your business to give you an advantage; so if they're using CAB and advertising inferior programs then they should stop beating their chests about winning meaningless awards and advertise their business properly.

One of the problems that I have with these "programs" is that many places advertise CAB, but they only have 1 offering that is actually CAB. J Mark's is a great example. On their menu, they say they are "proud to serve 28 day aged CAB beef", but only their strip steak is CAB. Their prime rib is junk, and the ribeye isn't CAB. Big City Tavern does the same thing; only the strip is CAB. They buy one cut of beef so they can get listed in the CAB search engine, but then serve junk for the other cuts. "Certified Black Angus" is NOT CAB. So ROK needs to update their menu unless they're doing the same think that J Mark's does.

Unless the menu specifically states that a specific item is CAB, it's probably not. Buyer beware, but be informed.

Max
Max

Actually you have it exactly backwards. Inside Fort Lauderdale is written by AFFLUENT HETEROS, unlike the FAGS and low-income LOSERS who work for New Times. So you can decide whose perspective is closer to yours. That's what free markets are all about.

Insidefortlauderdale
Insidefortlauderdale

Dennis and friends from inside Fort Lauderdale are fags and losers that don't fit in.  So they bash and blog about all the hot spots.  They are Duche bags

NickR
NickR

It's extremely rare to see a restaurant win a Best Of in the same category two years running, much less two different categories in the same year. I just figured it was the papers policy to mix things up, featuring the widest possible array of the area's offerings over time. I have no problem with such a policy.

P.S.: "Gastropub" is an ugly, ugly word. Why is "restaurant and bar" or "bar and restaurant" insufficient?

Rob
Rob

Most people told me these awards are paid for how else could so many obviously bad places win awards. But after reading this blog, nothing surprises me. It's just a bunch of bloggers who wouldn't know good food if they found it

Pedro
Pedro

Nice try. The $1.25 extra for better quality food on a real plate and an actual restaurant with service is the big disqualifying factor?

Clearly the old babe at BCD has some Anthony Weiner type photos of Eric

Dan
Dan

Although I like the gastropd concept and agree with you on those aspects of rockburger, I find their burger to be good but not great. The meat just doesn't have enough of a knock you out flavor to be considered great. I wonder what type of cuts they are using in their ground as it seems like plain chuck or sirloin to me, which is fine, but not supurb.

Toni
Toni

Tube mystery meat of the angus variety, is what they serve. 1855 brand to be exact( low end angus program)

Pedro
Pedro

Thats just wrong information. The 1855 is a top 40 percentile of choice program

Chuck
Chuck

They use CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF PRIME. Only the top 8% of all cattle qualify for this brand! 

Toni
Toni

Charm city burgers blows both of these places away, as far as burgers go, just saying

Chuck
Chuck

I tried Charm City....not bad! But the place is a shit hole. I didn't even see them on any of the awards this year..just saying.

Vaughan Lazar
Vaughan Lazar

Did seem a bit odd and with all due respect, I'm not sure that price should play into the Best "Insert Food Item Here" contests at all. A contest for Best Burger should be based SOLELY on the item and not the value (that's an entirely different contest for Best Value). Prsentation, flavor profile, creativity, originality and pure awesomeness are the only things food contests should be based on UNLESS price and/or value is something you'd want to include.  I like the theory of your explanation but when Burger Bash rolls around, you don't see a price-tag on the judging table.  Two great burgers though...

Chuck
Chuck

if price is not a factor, then there is no other burger better than ROK BRGR's KING BURGER.  

Kibblebunny
Kibblebunny

It's not a contest. Everyone at New Times gets to plug a few of their faves. 

What I find interesting it that the "best" burger in broward palm beach didn't make the 100 favorite dishes, even though several other burgers did. How many years have to go by before you figure out that this is just random nonsense? The point of New Times is to create page views; it has nothing to do with providing any sort of useful, cohesive information.

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