The first thing you’ll notice at City Council Bar and Restaurant in Uptown is the decor. The entire restaurant is ready for its HGTV shoot: There are bookshelves made of leather straps, Edison bulbs the size of cucumbers, fresh flowers in jars and empty picture frames holding books on a German smear-style brick wall. It’s as though Chip and Joanna Gaines Fixer Upper-ed the shit out of this place. The bar is adorably backlit a crisp fuchsia, via a string of lights that reflect in the mirrored backsplash, and the furniture near the entryway looks like it costs more than my car.
I wish the same love and attention was paid to the burger.
The menu at City Council Bar and Restaurant is curated bar food (spinach artichoke dip, “naked wings,” custom cast-iron skillets and meaty pizzas) from chef Rodman Shields. Aside from having the best name of all time, Shields is also the general manager at The Common Table.
The “Stacked Burger” ($12) is two quarter-pound patties, LTO, pickles and cheese. By size and look, it feels like a play on a classic roadside dive burger. I voted for cheddar, the milder option among pepper jack and provolone. I like to really taste the beef. On the side, a tiny metal cart holds sweet potato fries.
One slice down the center reveals the main problem: the two quarter-pound patties, stacked neatly on top of each other, are overcooked. Hot steam, not those good burger juices you’d hope for, flood from the burger’s cross-section. They have a tire-rubber texture, like meat nuked in the microwave. Two cheddar slices, one on each patty, don’t save it; the patties are gasping for sauce and seasoning. The sad tomato slice and lettuce leaves don't add much to this campaign.
The pickled onions strewn below the double patties are the best part of the experience — they have puckering bite and delicate sweetness — along with a smoky and creamy aioli I would have taken in a bathtub, to go. The burger could've used more of both. Sweet potato fries are just fine.
For brunch, City Council serves boozy cereals and “B.A.B.” (big-ass biscuits), which sound like candidates folks can truly get behind. Their dinner burger, however, should resign from its office.
City Council, 2901 Thomas Ave.
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