If you’ve driven on the West Side of town lately, you’ve surely noticed all of the construction going on around the Montecillo where construction crews are making way for a “Smart Growth” development. This, in itself, is a very good thing for El Paso giving us some eco-friendly options to shop and eat. My problem with this, however, is that you can’t just ride off of being green. There are tons of things that are organic or sustainable that just don’t taste good or live up to what they claim to offer.
I hesitate to have an opinion on Independent Burger & Bar because they opened about a week ago and I’m sure, just as any business in it’s fledgeling phase, they are still working out the kinks. Walking into Independent you first notice the wooden hostess/cashier desk which is separated from the main dining room and bar area by a partition. The interior is a very trendy rustic/modern look with banquetts and two-seater tables.
I was a bit confused as to if I was supposed to seat myself or not, but I was asked to place my order before I sat down, and then was told that my server would be by to bring my food as well as take my method of payment. The tables were all numbered and I was left to walk myself to my assigned seat. So with my plastic water cup I headed over to the drink station. One cool thing I noticed at the beverage bar (lemonade, soda, and water) was that they had many pump bottles filled with different mixtures where you could enhance your drink, and above that were recipes letting you know how many pumps of what combination would give you something delightful. (jalapeno lemonade? count me in.) Getting back to my seat, I waited for my server. I ordered the Gaucho burger, medium rare, with a side of house fries. When my burger came it was delivered to me by someone other than who my actual server was. Even upon eating I had not yet met the person I was supposed to tip at the end of my meal. She did come by, eventually, and was cheery and polite, but why not when I sat myself?
The gaucho burger is a grass-fed beef patty topped with a chorizo ball, pickled onions and grated cheese and a side of indy sauce. My burger was cooked well. It wasn’t incredibly thick so overcooking is often an issue, however my patty was still juicy when it arrived. I don’t think the chorizo was supposed to be such an un-pliable ball on top of the patty, perhaps I’m wrong, but when I imagine chorizo topping a burger I expect it to span the same width, and when trying to spread it I was met with a lot of resistance. The house fries left a lot to be desired, neither crisp nor especially hot, and the “Indy Sauce” is highly reminiscent to anther burger spots “Toro Sauce.”
Lastly, what happened to plates? I’m not sure when plates flew out the window when dining and in came much-too-small planks and metal trays to eat off of, but I’d really like a plate when I go out to eat, unless I’m having some crawfish or fish & chips wrapped up in newspaper. The meal itself was overpriced, their front of house staff needs some guidance, and I’m not entirely sure why Crave Kitchen & Bar decided to open up another Burger & Bar operation, but I do sincerely hope they work out their kinks and being to prosper because at the bottom of it all, local businesses are important.
Independent Burger & Bar
5001 N. Mesa