Sunday, November 9, 2008

Irving Mill Now Has Ryan Skeen and a Burger

Damn that Ed Levine and Bruni for beating me to it, but I too found the new burger at Irving Mill pretty darned juicy and worth the trip. Ryan Skeen brought his burger know-how over to his new post at Irving Mill from Resto but altered the recipe to suit his changing ideas on burger construction. The new burger is made from aged Niman Ranch flap steak, beef cheek, and pork fatback. 70% of the mixture is 50/50 flap and cheek with 30% fatback rounding out the blend. Cheek I'm familiar with, fatback too, but flap? "It's the boneless portion of the short rib," Skeen told me after I had inhaled my burger. I was not alone in my confusion - very few I asked could tell me and my trusty Angus Beef Chart had no mention of the said steak.

The burger was explosively juicy, generously salted (or was that the fatback?), and served on a squishy bun. Skeen has honored simplicity and built a basic burger with complex ingredients. The result is truly satisfying. When I asked part owner Mario, "Grill or griddle," he told me neither. Get this - each burger is cooked in a cast iron skillet. "We offered to get him what ever he wanted [to cook the burgers] but he only requested cast iron skillets!" Mario explained.

Then Skeen told me something both Levine and Bruni missed. The new chef plans to include a little-known regional burger on the menu soon - The Goetta Burger. Skeen, who hails from Ohio, wants to create a burger that has a slice of the tasty ground-meats-and-oats Cincinnati sausage on top. He told me, "It's sort of like Haggis, but better." Sounds good to me.

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