Twenty-One Toppings (gourmet burgers N Miami)
A Big Thanks to Sobe for the GREAT tip!
As promised, we hit 21 Toppings for a late lunch on the way up to a "double feature" at the Intracoastal. The place is a little lost in one of the many new strip malls blooming all over the 135th-163rd corridor - just across from Biscayne Commons on the west side of Biscayne. We arrived past lunch hour and the restaurant was quiet, very clean and in the midst of training new staff. The friendly man at the register told us they've been open just a few weeks and helped us navigate our way through the menu.
Yes - LAX, the sandwiches are a flat $7.95 - which gives you a choice of protein; a sirloin burger, a turkey burger, a grilled chicken breast or a white bean veggie burger. Add to that any three of the eponymous twenty-one toppings.
For Herbage - I list them:
sliced red onion
b & b pickles
PLUS one of seven choices of cheese (I leave that to you to discover) and a dozen sauces and dressings.
Should all of that fail to float your boat, you can add anything more for just 45 cents each...
If you are not feeing creative, there are also a number of chef-designed burgers; classic, Cubano, BBQ etc. When I say chef-designed, I send a big shout out to CHEF Federica Schael, a J & W grad who isn't pimping herself out on Top Chef but rather rolling up her sleeves with brother Christian and rocking that grill. She has put together a bunch of clever combinations for carnivores and herbivores alike.
After careful negotiation, AB and I decided to try a sirloin plus caramelized onion, tomato and applewood bacon + provolone + caesar dressing and a turkey plus crispy onion, applewood bacon, jalapeno + cheddar & horseradish cream. L2M - you may think $8 is too much to ask for a hamburger, but the 2 baskets brought to our table by the happy staffers-in-training were definitely worth the money and also worthy of the kind words recently posted in the Miami Herald.
I often quibble about the quality of commercial buns offered with many sandwiches in Miami. The sesame seed topped bun holding in the overload of toppings was both fresh and warm - nothing revolutionary - but ample enough to withstand the full weight of all of my selections. The sirloin burger was cooked to order, pink in the middle and juicy good. Before I ate the combination, I nipped out a bit of the caramelized onions to see if each ingredient would stand alone... delicious. And the applewood bacon was crisp and plentiful as well.
AB tore through his turkey burger like a Scooby snack. I hoped for a bite but nearly got bit... maybe next time.
There are a number of non-burger sandwiches at the bottom of the menu including a smoked turkey club (topped with a fried egg!) that sounded tasty - plus salads and a soup of the day on the board. We spoke briefly to Christian about the Herald article and he seemed really happy they took notice. He said they were still busy training new staff members but were definitely ready for the business.
I can tell you with a confident heart and a VERY full belly - they're ready for the business.
Twenty-One Toppings, 14480 Biscayne Blvd., No. 105, North Miami; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 305-947-3433
No problem herbage...
We returned last night and found the place hopping. Every seat was filled and Advisor Boy told me to stop telling people about places we like so we can still get in!
We ordered from the same friendly counter guy who actually remembered us from last week (for a brand new burger joint, that says A LOT!)
By the time our burgers and fries were cooked, a table of 10 was heading for the door. The staff rushed over and cleaned the area from tabletop to floor, then brought our plates and we didn't miss a beat. One addition to my happy experience there last week was the discovery of yuca fries. We had the thin crispy french fries and a second order of thicker crispier yuca fries which were served with a few cups of dipping sauces (one with a chimichurri flavor and then a garlic aioli).
We talked briefly with chef Federica who was just unwinding from a long day at the grill. She told us she started out after Johnson & Wales at David Bouley Evolution and raved about the set up of that kitchen. I wondered about her transition from such elevated fine dining to a burger place and she seemed happy to be doing this venture on her own - in spite of the 12 hour long days!
I had not realized last week that the restaurant is closed Sundays. We visited 2 Fridays; once after the lunch rush and again last night just before 9pm. I am sure once they get a sense of the busy and not so busy days of the week, they might move their day off to mid week as Sundays seem to be a naturally busy day for family dining - being so close to shopping destinations like Costco (mobbed on Sundays) and Publix...
The chef also told us she hopes to get a beer license to attract nearby FIU students when school starts.
At that point, we'll NEVER get a table...
Twenty-One Toppings, 14480 Biscayne Blvd.
North Miami; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 305-947-3433.
Based on the buzz here, my girlfriend and I went tonight. We both agreed that these were some good burgers. The carmelized onions were, indeed, delicious. The fries were good (sadly, they were out of yuca fries), as were the horseradish cream, remoulade, and chimichurri/mayo sauces. Both burgers were overcooked, however, despite our asking for medium and medium rare. I believe my girlfriend's words were "the best well done burger I've ever had." The staff were all really friendly as well.
I don't know if I'd go back though. While the food was good, I feel like when I go out for a burger I want something more traditional. I guess that's just a personal choice though. As I said, these were definitely some very good sandwiches.
I've eaten at this place 4 times in the last 3 weeks. The brugers are very good, but the best thing item on the menu is the club sandiwch. A double decker sandwich of turkey breast, bacon, arugula, swiss cheese, a fried egg and mayo or honey mustard on toasted multi grain bread. AWESOME. And the service is great as well. definitely a place I will be visiting often.
I've been suffering from serious "chowpression" since returning from New Orleans but 21 Toppings saved the day. Finally made it to 21T's and it was much better than I anticipated. The burger was very fresh, perfectly cooked and the flavors of the various toppings really worked well together.
"That is a tasty burger!" Jules (Pulp F)
Just reviewed in the New Times.
I agree that the regular bun is WAY too susceptible to sogginess. And the white bean burger SOUNDS scary.
Ask for the Mama's Burger...an off menu special. Egg, bacon, cheese, portabello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, heaven.