There comes a time in everyone’s life when they crave simple, tasty food; when they reject anything flavored with truffle oil or foie gras in favor of the kind of comfort dishes they grew up on. When I called up ACME on Monroe Avenue and ordered my dinner last Sunday, I had this in mind.
Upon arriving at ACME, nothing struck me as extraordinary. It seemed like your average bar, well stocked with various types of alcohol, a bit run down with a few newish video games and a flat screen television. It was clearly more of a bar than a restaurant which is why I opted for takeout, but there are those who extol the virtues of its pizza and other bar food staples.
When I got home, I dug into the much anticipated cajun spiced tater tots. The first thing I recall was wondering aloud if they had botched the order and forgot to add cajun spices to the tots. I realized that they were in fact spiced, albeit incredibly lightly. The flavor was in no way reminscent of the spicy peppery flavor of most foods that claim to be cajun. The tots themselves were decent, fairly crispy and still quite warm, although they didn’t taste much different than the store bought frozen Ore-Ida tots.
I then tried a slice of their mildy famous cheese pizza. It was alright — the crust was thin and well cooked, but the sauce was unremarkable, and the layer of cheese was thin and unflavorful. I regretted not ordering it with the cup-and-char pepperoni, which may have been its only redeeming factor.
The rest of the food that I ate was similarly mediocre. I was given a side of potato salad that was was nearly inedible, a slimy tasteless mush whose maker must have forgotten that salt or any other kind of spice other than mustard existed. The potato skins with cheese and broccoli were crispy, but flavorless as well and reminscent of their microwaveable grocery store brethren.
I then finally dug into the main course of this ultra-American dining experience, the bacon cheddar burger. To be honest, I was not sure at all what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. The bacon was thick cut and crispy, there was an ample amount of cheese and the patty was thick and delicious. The real star of the burger, though, was the delectable and substantial sandwich roll that served as the perfect platform for all of the goodness inside.
I did, however have two qualms with the burger. The first one is the pickier of two. It involves the inclusion of an overpowering amount of raw red onions. I won’t hold ACME too accountable for this — for some reason, it seems to be a common theme of most burgers you find nowadays, which is unfortunate because their incredibly strong flavor often overpowers the more subtle flavors in the burger. This problem was simply remedied, though, by removing most of the onions and continueing to chow down.
The second problem that I had was not as easily solved. When I ordered over the phone, I was happy that I was asked how I would like my burger cooked, and I answered with the usual medium-rare. I always like when I am asked whether I’d like my pink in the middle — it shows that a restaurant is confident with the quality of their meat. No matter how many warnings are posted about eating undercooked meats, restaurants generally still want to avoid making their patrons sick and, if they are serving sub-par meat, they may compensate for it by overcooking.
Unfortunately, the burger that I received was nowhere near medium-rare and, though it was not overcooked to the point of pulverization, there was no light pink center to be found. This instantly made me slightly suspicious of the meat, but ultimately depressed because this small attention to detail would have hightened this burger to an amazing extent. All in all, though, this is a very tasty and substantial burger and one of the best you’re going to get for the cheap price of $5.50.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from ACME, a place that is first and foremost a bar (whose quality I am not legally allowed to comment on), but I naively expected something akin to a perfect conglomeration of comforting bar food staples. I was unsurprisingly dissapointed, but I did manage to squeeze a take away message out of the whole experience: If you are legally able to drink beer, wish to do so while eating a tasty burger and don’t have very much money, ACME is probably not a bad choice.
Ford is a member of
the class of 2013.