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Burger Friday: The Lynn on Bryant

Posted by: Rick Nelson under Restaurant news Updated: April 18, 2014 - 11:26 AM

The burger: The notion of stuffing foie gras inside a hamburger patty didn’t just materialize out of nowhere. New York City star chef Daniel Boulud has been catering to Burger Nation's 1 Percent-ers for more than a decade with a ground sirloin patty stuffed with short ribs, foie gras and truffles.

Still, that particular brand of extravagance hasn’t enjoyed much of a foothold here in the birthplace of the Juicy Lucy.

Until now, thanks to the advent of the Juicy Goosey, the witty, semi-preposterous (and, yes, delicious) foie gras-stuffed burger at the Lynn on Bryant.

(Side note No. 1: Chef/owner Peter Ireland is taking poetic liberties with the name, since the Juicy Goosey calls upon duck liver rather than goose liver, but that’s a minor technicality, since the vast majority of American-made foie gras comes from ducks.)

This is one labor- and time-intensive burger -- from start to finish, it follows a four-day process -- and a marvel of ingenuity. The foie gras is prepared as a torchon, painstakingly marinated and poached before being parsed into 1-ounce pieces. Through much research and development, Ireland discovered the best way to preserve the foie gras’ silky texture and flavor was by freezing it.

Next step: Beef. As it happens, each burger requires a substantial amount of ground chuck (a grass-fed and exceedingly flavor product from Grass Run Farms), and here’s why: cooking the foie gras any further than medium rare causes it to melt like so much Velveeta. Preserving the liver’s firm-but-silky texture requires a thick buffer of insulating ground beef, which explains the patty’s less-than-dainty proportions.

(Side note No. 2: That beef is delicious. "People ask us what we marinate our hamburger beef in," said Ireland. "We don't. It's just tasty beef. We only add salt and pepper.")

Instead of grilling – again, exposure to that level of prolonged heat is a foie gras no-no – it’s sous vide to the rescue, a gentle, low-temperature cooking process. Then that softball of a patty heads to the freezer. 

Just prior to serving, the frozen patties get a 60-second spin in the deep-fryer (using lard!), which burnishes the outer shell with a marvelously crispy crust, yet leaves the beef’s firm interior pink and juicy and preserves the foie gras’ essence. In case you're wondering if duck liver and ground beef make for a happy marriage, the answer is most definitely yes.

Not content to leave well enough alone on the coronary health front (see lard, above) Ireland piles on more fat-laden touches. Crumbles of smoky bacon started as strips, but they proved difficult to eat. As for the Big Mac-esque “secret sauce,” it’s the classic French sauce Americaine, brimming with tarragon, shallots and cornichons. 

There’s no bun. “We started with a buttermilk poppy seed bun, but you couldn’t get your mouth around it,” said Ireland with a laugh. Instead, there's a crisp, tender and blessedly skinny waffle, its shallow wells tailored to capture that creamy sauce.

The overall effect is spectacular, and spectacularly rich. My appetite cried "uncle" about a third of the way in. My suggestion: Share it, a notion I suspect Ireland encourages, since it arrives, conveniently, cut in half. “We should serve it with a side of Lipitor, and partner with Big Pharma,” he said with a laugh. No kidding.

Price: $24. You were expecting less with a 1-ounce foie gras torchon?

Fries: None. Instead, Ireland mirror’s the burger’s waffle with a generous handful of crisp, wafer-like gaufrettes. They’re fried in rice oil, a lighter touch than the lard the kitchen uses for its fries.

Inside information: While Ireland has had a burger – a terrific burger, actually – on his menu since opening the restaurant in October 2012, the Juicy Lucy is unchartered territory. “We toyed with doing one when we first opened,” he said. “But to be honest it felt a little gimmicky. We’ve sort-of been defined by the doughnut [no surprise, since the kitchen’s buttermilk-apple cider cake doughnuts border on life-changing], and you’ve got to be careful with what you’re defined by. We don’t want to be defined by a hamburger, although people love hamburgers.”

Funny story: “The first person to eat it was an 11-year-old kid,” said Ireland. “He said, ‘this is the best foie gras I’ve ever had, There’s no vein, it’s well-seasoned, and it’s not just a piece of fat.’ And I said, ‘Man, you’re 11!’”

Say cheese: Don’t forget to snap a picture of your Juicy Goosey, and then post it to Instagram (adding #juicygoosey and #thelynnonbryant). The restaurant’s staff selects the best image of the month, and the winner receives a free Juicy Goosey.

Address book: 5003 Bryant Av. S., Mpls., 612-767-7797. Open for dinner 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and open for brunch 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Talk to me: Do you have a favorite burger? Share the details at rick.nelson@startribune.

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