Having the Alamo Drafthouse in Dallas is the fulfillment of a long-running dream. Some of my favorite things to do in the universe are A) see movie at the Drafthouse, B) order the enormous popcorn bowl (hosed with real butter and grated herb Parmesan) and C) wash it down with a cold beer while watching the brilliant movie pre-roll. I've stayed away from the burgers, however, because there’s just something weird about eating a burger in the dark.
Even weirder than eating a burger you can't see is eating the burger at the Vetted Well, the new bar-restaurant saddled up to the Alamo Drafthouse. Of all things, this burger comes topped with baked beans.
As the Observer’s written before, Vetted Well is making it clear that it is an autonomous concept, very much sorta-separate from the Drafthouse. On my lunch visit (Vetted Well is still in soft launch mode and open only 11 a.m.-2 p.m.), a couple who wandered in needed clarification: Vetted Well food may only be eaten upstairs in the Vetted Well. Don’t wander with it, OK?
A couple weeks after opening, I’m one of the only folks in the place, hunkering near the garage-door of the patio, which is down because the air outside is a little chilly. The burger is 15 bucks, and it comes with pork belly, molasses baked beans and a side of potato salad. After a terrifying few minutes wondering if those beans are coming on the side or on the burger, I get my answer: Baked beans are piled on top of the burger.
It’s some of Dallas' weirdest burger-eating right now.
The pork belly is seared but chewy, resting atop a pile of baked beans. No sauce, no condiments, and no vegetables come with it. The patty is certified Angus beef. Mine comes medium well, nearly well done (I wasn’t asked how I wanted it cooked), with a butter-toasted Empire bun.
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If a restaurant is going to put baked beans on a burger, they had better be saucy lightning bolts of flavor that electrocute your socks clean off your feet. Vetted Well's beans are just beans, which begs the question: Why in the name of all that is Saint Patrick are baked beans on this burger?
The overcooked patty leans toward dry and is absolutely dying for a condiment. This is a burger that needs a lacquering of barbecue sauce, maybe some onions simmered in butter, or a trash can full of ranch. One or more of these would help this 15-buck burger with a side of humdrum potato salad.
To be fair, the Vetted Well is still in soft launch mode, has a brick wall loaded with great beer choices and a patio with a killer view of the Dallas skyline. For now, however, I won’t be enjoying that view with a burger.
Vetted Well, 1005 S. Lamar St., facebook.com/VettedWell