Black Betty Burger & Winebar
Cross-posted from Calgary is Awesome.
A lot of burger restaurants have been popping up around town lately – a few weeks ago I visited Smashburger and I still have yet to make it down to Clive Burger. Rounding out the trio is Black Betty Burger & Winebar, where Calgary is Awesome Managing Editor Irene and I found ourselves a couple nights ago.
Full disclosure: Irene’s cousin Jen is doing some marketing there and got us set up with a free tasting.
Irene and I started with a couple malts – “grown up” milkshakes made with ice cream with different liqueurs and flavourings. Irene got the Vanilla Bean malt and I went for the Naughty Betty (both $11).
They don’t look like much, but I’m sure with the ice cream and alcohol they were probably 500 calories each. Irene’s malt had ice cream, vanilla, bourbon and caramel vodka – the caramel flavour was a little overpowering and the malt was quite sweet. The Naughty Betty, on the other hand, was ice cream with tequila, Kahlua and caramel. We liked the caramel-coffee flavour, and while the thought of having tequila in there may be off-putting, we could barely taste it… it was just an extra teeny little buzz at the end of each sip.
Instead of ordering from the menu, we got to try slider versions of five of their burgers, plus a side of fries and aioli for dipping: The Betty, Blue Elk and Lamb are part of the Betty Slider Trio ($15) on their appetizer menu. Our sampler was rounded out with a Chicken burger and Veggie Betty. All of the burgers were on toasted mini-brioches, except for the Chicken burger, which was on a ciabatta.
From our least favourite to most favourite…
I’m always excited to try veggie burgers – there are lots of varieties out there, and it’s interesting to try the different flavours and textures. The Veggie Betty is a marinated portobello mushroom stuffed with herbed ricotta and roasted red pepper, topped with avocado, onion, lettuce and chipotle basil aioli. The combination of mushroom, ricotta and avocado, just made for a very soft, almost mushy sandwich, without the chewiness that you’d usually get from a meat burger.
You have to like lamb to like the Lamb at Black Betty as it is quite gamey. The herbed ricotta, cranberry mint yogurt and cucumber give it a bit of a Mediterranean vibe, but we felt there was a little too much going on condiment-wise.
The Chicken burger is more of a sandwich, with a thick, moist piece of grilled chicken between fluffy slices of herbed ciabatta. The sundried tomato pesto gives a subtle, herb flavour; sliced tomato and melted mozzarella complete the sandwich.
The Betty is Black Betty’s take on a classic bacon cheeseburger, with a moist brisket patty, maple peppered bacon, mozzarella, fried onion, honey truffled Dijon and a touch of BBQ sauce. I loved the crisp bacon and onion in this, which contrasted nicely with the melted cheese and fresh tomato.
Our favourite burger was the Blue Elk. The elk patty was thick and juicy, and we loved the sweet, smoky Bourbon Black Betty sauce. If you’re a blue cheese fan, you might be a little disappointed because we could barely taste it (perfect for a non-blue cheese fan like me!)
The fries were very lightly coated in baking soda or baking powder(?) making them extra crispy – just the way I like them! The aioli was smooth and creamy, but not too rich.
Still, the sliders were quite filling, which was too bad as despite being a burger bar, Black Betty actually has a pretty diversified menu, including appies, sandwiches, flatbreads and main entrées which Irene and I really wanted to try! Also, seeing what a full-sized burger looked like would’ve been good too :S
Even though we were pretty stuffed, there is always room for dessert! I was excited to hear that we would be served the Salted Caramel with Chocolate Ganache, as I’d been eyeing that on the menu since we’d arrived.
For me, it was a bit of a letdown – the salted caramel was a little too salty, and overpowered the chocolate ganache, which was not rich enough for me. Poor Irene couldn’t even have any as it contains nuts!
I would definitely like to go back to Black Betty to try their other dishes (and grab another Naughty Betty Malt!) They offer live music on a little stage towards the back most nights, so I’m sure that’ll be a great experience too!
Black Betty Burger & Winebar
606 1 St SW
Calgary AB T2P 1M6