When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Ingo's Tasty Food Location: 4502 North 40th Street Open: Over two weeks Eats: Gourmet burgers Price: $11 to $30 per person
Ingo's Tasty Food in Arcadia might be the hamburger stand of your fantasies -- or the future.
The latest project from the folks at LGO Hospitality (La Grande Orange, Chelsea's Kitchen, Grateful Spoon Gelato), its modern, cylindrical structure of steel and brick is almost Jeston's-esque in appearance, its tidy menu of snacks, burgers, and libations already some of the best in town.
And although the name is said to be inspired by a German music teacher one of LGO's partners had while studying violin and guitar as a child, chances are you'll find the caveman-ish version ("In goes tasty food!") to be much more appropriate.
There are five burgers and one sandwich on the menu, neatly constructed with things like Strauss Free Raised Grass Fed Beef, scratch-made sauces, and pillowy buns from the LGO bake shop (there's an English muffin option as well). Executive chef Dom Ruggerio heads up a very efficient kitchen and Kimber Stonehouse (Sportsman's Fine Wine and Spirits) sees to a tight wine and beer list that includes a rich yet refreshing blush sangria of Bieler Rose and rooiboos tea-infused Lillet ($5).
For those not inclined to indulge, there are excellent housemade cold-brewed iced teas ($3) and scratch-made lemonade ($3).
You'd be hard-pressed to find a more perfect gourmet burger version of the classic Rueben sandwich than the Ingo Bürger ($7.75). Layered with a juicy beef patty, scratch-made Dijon sauce, slices of nutty Fol Epi cheese, and a crunchy and tangy housemade sauerkraut you'll probably be thinking about on the way home, it pretty much demands a bottle of Black Market Hefeweizen to keep it company.
Equally as formidable a creation is the Crispy Chicken Sandwich ($7.50). Put together with a moist and flavorful chicken schnitzel, dill pickles, Granny Smith apples, and a spicy aioli, this kicked-up chicken sandwich is pretty much as good as it gets.
You'll want to pair your burger with a scrumptious (and very sharable) side of Fresh Shattered Potato Chips ($3.75). Crisp on the edges and soft within, the thin-sliced spuds are lightly seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper and come with a dollop of rich and creamy lebni (Lebanese yogurt) that make them all the more enjoyable.
Inside, Ingo's wood and window-walled room is more casual than its more modern exterior might suggest. A kind of hamburger stand in the round, its center stage is the cooking area, where burgers are prepared in front of guests bellied up to the restaurant's sleek curved counter. Friendly servers are happy to make suggestions, ask if it's okay to have your burger prepared "slightly pink," and sometimes offer free samples.
And if burger biting al fresco is your thing, there are a few tables outside.
At just over two weeks, Ingo's seems to have hit the ground running with its latest space-age-meets-burger-stand concept. Now if it could only find a solution to the area's lack of parking (Ingo's took over a small lot owned by LGO), it might truly be ahead of its time.
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