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Jun 26, 2010 10:57 PM

Pinky's out, new burger joint in on 4th Ave (Vancouver)

Zipped by today and noticed there is a new burger place where the Pinky's was near Burrard (that was fast). Noted the name and immediately forgot :-(. Anyone been, or have more intell?

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  1. It's called Romer's after the chef. He's ex Milestone's. That's all I know :)

    3 Replies
    1. re: starlady

      he was the exec chef for the entire chain

      1. re: vandan

        Thanks, guys -- once upon a time, I liked the California burger at Milestones. Maybe I'll give it a try.

        1. re: grayelf

          you're in luck, he actually from california

      1. re: Philx

        Well, those are certainly enthusiastic. Prices look usual for CFD burgers here but the fries sound worthy (and they have poutine, oy!). May check it out as an alternative to Moderne Burger.

          1. re: ck1234

            CFD = Casual Fine Dining (eg Cactus Club).

            1. re: fmed

              TOFTT at Rohmer's tonight. Suffice to say for now it was not a chore. Will post pix and details soon, but go if you like good burgers :-).

              1. re: grayelf

                grayelf, what's the price point for the burgers?

                1. re: _js_

                  Prices are similar to a Milestones or Cactus Club, except that everything is a la carte. So just a burger starts at $9 IIRC (ours were $11 and $12 respectively). Then you can add a more-than-enough-for-two basket of excellent fries for $4 (add truffle oil etc for an upcharge, or go for poutine). And last but not least they have about half a dozen salads you can add starting at $3 for a delightful beet version with goat cheese and arugula. I was completely stuffed after my American burger with "cheddar cheese planks" (deep fried cheese sticks) and half an order of fries. My DC had the burg with short ribs on it and the beet salad as well as half the fries and could hardly move after. For beverages, they have a very nice selection of local beers on tap (DC had a Garibaldi for $4.75 a sleeve that started off fruity and ended hoppy). Our server talked up the mango mint iced tea (one of several interesting and reasonably priced non-alcoholic options) and I tried it. The bartender muddles a whack of fresh mint which you can smell all over the resto. Very tasty for a tall glass at $4. Total bill was around $40, so not super cheap but solid value for one of the best burgers I've had in some time. I think actually cheaper overall than Moderne Burger, and I daresay better.

                  Service was very bright and well versed. Room is quite attractive (think sports bar/pub but nicer) with big leather booths down the side and some regular tables up front, which is open in nice weather. DC spotted a private room downstairs also. Impressive overall, especially considering they've only been open a week.

                  1. re: grayelf

                    I had the green chili burger (I asked if we could sub the chicken and get beef instead): it was a fine burger. I like the brioche bun, as it had the right "softness" to it. The patty itself was tender and juicy. We also had a plate of the chicken wings and I was pleasantly surprised that it was a plate of just that, chicken wings fried crisply, not greasy at all, without any heavy batter, simply seasoned with salt and pepper. Food we had was solid, honest: definitely wouldn't mind going back. Good value too. I was surprised that it wasn't busier when we went (it was a Friday). Noodle Box beside it was busier: go figure.

                    1. re: _js_

                      Thanks for the reports grayelf and js. Sounds really promising. Did you notice if they have a blue or gorgonzola cheese topping? Vera's and
                      White Spot specials are only ok. I would've checked their website, but it's still under construction.

                      1. re: el_lobo_solo

                        Yup, there are a number of burgers with blue or gorgonzola. (One of the burgers we ordered was the wicked cheese, which included a number of cheeses, including gorgonzola.) Anyways, even if they didn't have a burger with blue/gorgonzola, it is probably an option anyways so you can add away. I think the burger here is miles better than Vera's or White Spot. As grayelf noted, the comparison would be with Moderne.

                        1. re: _js_

                          Awesome. I walked by this place last weekend thinking it was still Pinky's. Must pay more attention.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            We had lunch at Romers on Friday and we thought it was really tasty. I had the portobello stack which was very rich and filling not to mention really delicious for something that was probably so healthy. My husbands said his burger was better than moderne burger and we both loved the fries, chipotle aoli, and spicy dill pickles. We also ordered the tomato salad and watermelon/feta salad which were ok. We would def eat there again not only because the food was good but the value was phenomenal.

                            1. re: selena03

                              Thanks for the non-meat burger report, selena. Glad to hear another positive post. I went again with a colleague and she had the turkey burger (also a bit healthier) and we shared the truffle oil and garlic fries. Not quite as good as last time for me -- I'd just have the plain fries I think, but my DC thought her burger was outstanding. I had the Kobe beef burger (took one for the team, what) without the foie gras and it was tasty but I don't really get what all the fuss is about with ground Kobe I guess. Keen to go back and try some of the other burgers and the little donuty things they do for dessert. Really pleased this place is close enough for a longish work lunch :-).

                              1. re: grayelf

                                I think its worth mentioning that they currently don't have any boosters or high chairs. We took our 10 month old and had a little travel seat for him, so we did fine. This seems a bit odd, since its Kits. While we were there at least two other kids needing highchairs came in and a least a couple that would have preferred a booster to being nose to nose with the table.

                                That said, I loved the food.

                                1. re: juso

                                  Good to know juso, and that does seem a bit odd for this type of resto. I went back again last week and wasn't quite as impressed as the first two times.

      2. WARNING: this is gonna be a harsh review. I haven't written in a long while, but this time I've got fire in my belly.

        WOW, I can't remember the last time I've had a burger this bad! I was so looking forward to being wowed by this place...instead I'm supremely disappointed. Romers is like a CFD gone all-burger...and I think CFDs are good for bland, processed crap for the masses. This place is all surface and marketing with no substance. The decor, the food, the beer selection, it's got the surface elements of something that might be promising but is actually empty inside.

        First off, the beer selection on tap is disappointing. They make a big point of how it's craft beer, but really it's the craft beer take on mainstream bland, inoffensive beer. Their taps are all a bit samey. They need a darker, richer option on tap, especially to go with a rich meaty burger. I like R&B and Central City as breweries, but the beers that were chosen to be on tap are their most un-challenging and uninteresting.

        Secondly, we had the most pale-looking fries I've ever seen. I couldn't believe they were double-fried Belgian style. The taste was disappointing too. Not crispy on the outside, not creamy inside. They could've used at least a couple more minutes in the fryer. Other people's fries were the same way. Maybe the kitchen rushed them out? They were packed on the Sunday afternoon when we were there. Were they repeat customers? I guess some people have no standards...or tastebuds, apparently.

        On to the burgers...we got The Standard and the Righteous Rib. With both of them, I think they commited The Cardinal Sin of Burgers: dry patty. The patties are thick, yes, but cooked so long that all the juice inside has evaporated. Check the pics! I don't ever remember having a dry burger at Moderne. I've always loved Moderne with their simple, unpretentious well-made burgers. I love them even more now that I know how rare a well-executed burger can be! I think Romers is caught in a dilemna because they want to show off a nice thick patty but for liability's sake can't cook it medium so they cook their thick patties way beyond well-done. They tried to compensate with mayo/grease/oil on the bun and rich/fatty toppings but in the end it's all about the beef and if they can't get that right, all the other fancy sh*t just looks pretentious. The beef wasn't just dry, it was really underseasoned. Even with "thick-sliced applewood bacon, braised short ribs, sweet onions, Gorgonzola garlic sauce, fresh thyme leaves", it felt like I was biting into a dry, grainy, flavourless mess. After the first couple bites, I was just eating it to fill a hole, nothing more. I still can't understand how such a big, jam-packed burger can be so bland. The olives on the side were also bland. But the pepperoncinis were great! But really, these probably come from an industrial-sized jar or can. I'm not gonna drive all the way out here just to eat pepperoncinis.

        Back to the beef, I feel sad that an Angus cow gave its life for this burger. Jim Romer needs to watch his cooks more closely. Both our patties were too small for the bun. No one wants to eat a mouthful of just bun before getting to the actual burger. They gotta either smash down those patties more when they hit the grill or shape them flatter and wider to fit the bun.

        Now the braised short ribs were very tender but they could not save the burger. They just made me even more sad. The brioche bun is nice, but then again it just comes off as a lame attempt at something that looks good on paper. They put all this work into making their toppings sound special and delicious but fail miserably in execution. I've read the copy on their website over and over and it just does not jive with what we ate.

        The service is very good. They have great staff. No problems there. They have clean washrooms downstairs and a cool-looking private room with a long table. But I wouldn't want to subject my friends and family to burgers like these for my next birthday party.

        I'm sure this place will be around for a long while. They've got a great location with lots of traffic. They've got a nice shiny dark sports bar interior that will please the indiscriminate masses that keep Moxie's, Joey's and Cactus Club alive. I don't doubt that other people might've had great burgers here. I didn't. I don't want to waste any more money here on the off-chance that I'll get a decent burger.

        1 Reply
        1. re: flowbee

          I have been to Romer's a couple of times and it seems that I have had better meals there than you. I did like the fries (which sort of reminded me of the McDonald's fries of yore). I thought the topping selection was pretty clever. But....

          I totally agree with you about the dry, under-seasoned (or perhaps just flavourless) patty. I had attributed that to their use of very lean, grass-fed meat. I'm not usually a fan of grass-fed beef (especially for burgers) since the patties are usually quite "dry" (meaning not fatty enough). I do think that many people who prefer grass fed beef may like this patty so YMMV.