When you walk into some restaurants, you immediately know that it’s going to be a fun meal.
This is true of Stack 571. How could you not have fun in a place that features tall, wildly creative burgers, a wall full of whiskies and booze-laced milkshakes?
Appetizers here are priced from $3.95 to $9.50 and listed under “Small Plates/Snacks.” While they are small, they are loaded with flavor and quite unusual. We devoured the plate of Tempura Oyster Mushrooms, which were slightly chewy and covered in a garlicky, truffle oil mantle. But we passed on the blistered shishito peppers, green papaya salad, fried green tomatoes, Gorgonzola waffle fries, crispy Brussels sprouts, Buffalo calamari and prawn ceviche — not because we weren’t tempted, but because we saw the size of the burgers placed in front of other diners.
We sampled two of the four sides offered. The beer-battered onion rings were grease-free, crunchy outside and tender inside, and the small bucket of Parmesan fries with three unique dipping sauces were loaded with Parmesan and a perfect touch of truffle. All sides ($5.50) are sized for sharing.
The list of burgers is creative. I won’t describe them all as I want to leave you a surprise when you are handed your menus. The “plain” 571 burger goes for $9.50. The rest of the list range up to $13.95, and span the culinary creativity of the chef and are not like any other burgers in the city.
I chose the Truffle Mushroom burger. A towering creation based on a perfectly cooked (medium rare) RR Ranch beef patty, lovingly adorned with Cambozola (a German soft ripened cheese), tempura oyster mushrooms, garlic herb Boursin (a French triple-cream cheese) and a pile of baby kale. And I do mean a salad-sized pile. My only complaint of the entire evening was the mound of kale on my burger. Serve it as a salad, please.
My fellow burger lover set his mind on the Big Kahuna burger, yet again served in the “high-style” some restaurants think enhances the presentation. I do not. But under the brioche bun was an exceptional layering of fresh pineapple, tangy kimchi slaw, and meat bathed in a vibrant sesame chile teriyaki aioli.
Stack 571 also has a small number of salads ($7.95 for small, $11.95 for large), and a smattering of sandwiches (chicken, salmon, BLT, club and caprese grilled cheese) ranging from $9.95 to $13.50.
If you hanker for some adult beverages, the menu lists a huge selection of whiskeys: 124 ryes, scotches and bourbons from Canada, Japan, Tennessee, Ireland and local distillers. The menu also offers five whiskey flights.
For those who prefer something else, Stack 571 has 24 tap, bottled and canned beers, unique cocktails, as well as a small selection of wines.
But hold your horses. Dessert beckons to both those who enjoy alcohol-imbued refreshments and those who do not. You can request to add a shot to the shakes: Washington Triple Berry, Bananas Foster, Lucky Charms S’Mores, Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookie Dough, Maple Bacon Candied Bacon (yes, bacon) and an Eggnog Gingersnap (the November shake of the month).
I enjoyed the virgin cherry cookie dough variety, and sampled the maple-bacon-bourbon shot-added shake. Wow, the barkeep poured a generous shot in that!
Suggestion: The servings fill a large glass with approximately another half a glass in the stainless-steel mixing cup. So share, baby, share!
Rick Browne can be emailed at email@example.com.