Filling Station - New Canaan
Just got back from Filling Station in New Canaan. Two thumbs up. The meat was cooked nicely - medium in the middle with a real nice crispy char on the outside. It's most comparable to In-N-Out as far as size is concerned, something I will surely miss being a recent transplant from the West Coast. But this place was really good, and I will certainly return to sample the hot dog, the Sloppy Joe, and mix and match the many toppings they offer for the burger.
Also, as a side note, they serve beer!
Well...trip 2 report
There were some aspects that were much improved on the second visit, some previous thoughts were confirmed and others were, well, less than acceptable.
Jfood ordered a double cheeseburger, a hot dog and fries, and little jfood ordered a single cheeseburger.
Burgers - there were three patties in the data set. All were cooked simultaneously in their panini press and each came to a different doneness. One was medium-plus, one was medium and the last was medium-rare. The press needs some adjustment to achieve the same across the blade. Thankfully they did not squeeze the heck out off the burgers when they left the press. The reult was a pretty good product. The caramelized onions were still the highlight of the burger, the cheese melted nicely and the potato roll was good. Little jfood had a single and her comment was the roll was way too big for the amount of meat. So jfood would suggest order a double, tell them to keep it medium rare and order the caramelized onions with "a little" ketchup. The tomato was much better today than yesterday.
Hot Dog - Sorry, but this goes to the no-go list for the following reasons. The size must be 10+ to the pound, they are just too small. Combine that with the size of the potato bun and the bun-dog ratio is way out of whack. The dog itself has an OK flavor and they cooked it nicely today. The relish, the spicy mustard, the roll are just too much flavor for the dog. If they can order these in 6-8 to the pound then jfood may reconsider, but not a winner to jfood.
Fries - They ran out!! OK these things happen. Here's how it should be handled. You give the customer a good-will coupon for some discount or a free fries on the next visit. Jfood asked when they expected another shipment, "We think tomorrow morning." You "think?" It was not so much that they ran out, but the non-plussed, too bad attitude was a peculiar and not positive way to handle the situation.
Queu-ing - This just has to change. There are no signs what to do . You walk in and there is a partition between customer and grill. Yesterday there was someone instructing what to do, today, nothing. The grill guy (same guy as yesterday) was noticeably agitated that people were ordering topping when all he wanted was protein and bun. After people understand the process (like jfood) no biggie, but little jfood did not know and the family behind jfood was totally lost as well. The topping kids are trying like heck but the oral-ordering at that point in the process is just a bad business model.
So for today jfood would give the double cheeseburger a B/B+, the single cheeseburger a C, the fries get a W, and the customer focus a D. At least much of the stuff that needs work is within their control.
Sorry guys. Jfood gave FS a whirl today and he is not on the bandwagon at all. After one week they still have significant issues to address before he would come close to a seal of approval:
He ordered a cheeseburger, hot dog, fries and a chocolate shake.
Cheeseburger - jfood's was overcooked and was a result of their cooking process. First they took a meatball shaped hunk of meat and placed it under a large panini press-type machine to press into a burger shape. Then it cooked on both sides and then they squeeze the heck out of the meat, releasing all the juice and flavor. Then they overcooked it some more. The meat was flavorful but so dried out and juiceless, it did not give a good representation of a high quality meat. He really liked the caramelized onions though.
Hot dog - these are first sliced in half (think super duper weenie) and then even more overcooked and on the same grill as the burger, to the point of approaching incineration. It was so overcooked that jfood can not even give a description of the taste. Likewise even though he ordered just "a little" mustard and relish, he needed to remove a significant amount.
Fries - The crinkle fries are good but nothing special, not hand cut on site, not very seasoned. They reminded jfood of high-end cafeteria style. They could have been cooked a little longer.
Milk Shake - They squirt syrup in a plastic cup add soft served style ice cream and blend in a milk shake machine. The milkshake was nice and thick, but jfood likes a little sweeter variety. The other change they should consider is the cover. If you place the straw in the cover it is impossible to drink since the hole squeezes the plastic straw shut. They also place whipped cream on top of the shake which upset a few people on line.
Queu-ing - If you want napkins, mustard or ketchup you need to fight the line back to the front of the shop since these are located near the front door on the other side of the people coming in. They should consider placing in the back near the register where you receive the meal. Not sure what type of ketchup they use, but it was good on the fries.
Once the meat come off the grill they are placed on grilled potato buns. Then they sit and wait (i.e. cooling off) until the next station is available. Then the toppings are placed on the meat, and wrapped. The teens placing the topping are very aggressive and place waaaaaay too much on (even when you order "a little" they slather it on) and then the meat again sits at the register until the register person is available (i.e. cold toppings on cooling off meat). You now order your fries and shakes, more time for cooling. By the time you eat, it is almost cold.
Overall it has potential, but they really need to work on the process. Overcooked burgers and dogs, then served cold, pretty standards fries and OK shakes all need some TLC.
That sounds like a bummer meal. This must be a brand-new place. I can't seem to get a fix on it on the web other than the link above. Above, someone said $2.90 for ordinary fries and another said "small portions' and expensive. What does a top-shelf burger cost?
We had a fancy burger at Leon's yesterday ($13) and they overcooked it, but at least it was just under medium in the end. I put the onions from my veal kidney appetizer on my half... It came with a huge portion of awesome cheese dusted fries. It was on a delicious kaiser roll.
Are there any real shakes or malts anymore? I can't stand it when they are not made with real ice cream. I even want to see some lumps in mine.
The problem I have with sticking my neck out at "burger joints" is that there is not the care and consistency in the food preparation and like you mentioned, the process, the traffic patterns, cramped spaces and the efficiency to get a hot burger to you in time to enjoy it. Is a teen cooking my grass-fed hamburger meat "to perfection"? Is it ground daily with care so I can order it rare or medium-rare? Like you, I don't want an overcooked burger. I don't want it cooked much at all.
I love a good burger. In New Haven I particularly like Prime 16, Heirloom and Christopher Martins. Though places like Prime 16 may be rare, I wonder if the process of eating hamburgers is like apizza; suffering and compromise is part of the attraction?
Filling Station - New Canaan - Not awful - not the best.
Expensive small portions - you will leave hungry after eating a double cheeseburger.
Either the prices need to shrink or the portions need to grow.
Great location - tight inside.
The other beer besides PBR is Narragansett.
Went there for lunch today. They offer 2 beers: PBR for $2.50, and a craft/micro for $3.95, the name of which escapes me at this moment.
They state their fries are made from organic Washington state potatoes. Nevertheless, they seemed like ordinary, institutional crinkle-cut fries to me, and not worth the $2.90 I paid for a small boat, IMO.
In addition to the PBR and Narragansett, they serve Arch Amber Ale, a good strong beer.
While I wouldn't pay three bucks for a few big fries, I enjoyed their organic chili cheese fries. For just about $5, they're a good lunch in themselves: the delicious potatoes are a solid foundation, the absolutely unique chili pulls none of its sharp, sweet punches, a perfectly savory cheese sauce rounds it all out, and the guy behind the line is happy to throw a couple slices of jalapeno on top.
My other fast favorite was their "Ultra Burger" - caramelized onions, mushrooms, and that cheese sauce over one of their burgers. I like the burgers, by the way. Nicely seasoned.
19 South Ave, New Canaan, CT 06840