Happy New Year! As I said in my previous review, several restaurants have opened recently with burgers potentially worth writing about, so I’m trying to do my best to get to all of them in the next few weeks. This next one comes from the newly reopened and rebranded Downtown Grand, which added a little café called Stewart + Ogden. I’ve always been a big fan of the downtown area, but with all its hype in the past year or two I feel like there is still a lack of decent restaurants. The Grand’s simple, yet cool remodel brought a great new place for people to hang out on 3rd Street next to an old favorite of mine, but did they also bring a good new place to eat?
I’m not even sure how to describe the interior of the restaurant; from afar it seems colorful and cool, yet up close the cheap quality shows. From the simple lightweight plastic chairs and cheap tables, to the under-designed back bar, to the cheap vinyl flooring, you can quickly observe where they tried to cut costs. And as for that back bar, walking through every space in this property you will notice that this architect must not give much thought to bars as a whole as they are seriously lacking presence. Their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus all have some similar items, but vary slightly based on the expected meals for their time of day. While some of their offerings sound great, based on both my experience and a majority of the reviews online you shouldn’t expect much.
Of the few burgers offered on their lunch menu, I went with the Ogden Burger: fried beefsteak tomato, avocado aioli and frisee. What came out looked like a bit of a disaster, and I’m surprised the chef allowed a bun like that to leave his kitchen; it had gaping holes, was completely dry and overly flaky. The generic pre-made and possibly frozen patty had no decent flavor, ok char, and was cooked close to the medium rare I ordered. The fried tomato was totally dry and not great at all, and there was a random unlisted piece of bacon that showed up just in the middle of my burger. The avocado aioli was nowhere to be seen on this burger, and could have helped counter some of the dryness to the bun and tomato.
My fries were completely generic and not great at all; cooked well but had no decent flavor or originality to speak of. We also ordered the meatball skewers as an appetizer; the meat was far too dense, under-seasoned and not great. The roasted tomato and provolone fondue sauce wasn’t good, and the garlic bread wasn’t quite bread and not nearly garlicky enough. This meal just failed in every aspect. Like I said, I’m a big supporter of all things downtown, but when they’re of such poor quality for the cost, I can’t stand behind it. $10 for those meatball skewers is insane, and charging $15 for this burger should be illegal. If you’re drunk at 3am on Fremont Street, this might be a cool atmosphere, but even heavily intoxicated I couldn’t see myself willingly spending that kind of money in this restaurant again.