Formoli’s: Part Deux

Twas the end of the year celebration. This was to be the grand-daddy of all RoShamBurger reviews. Our hearts and minds full of anticipation for one the of most revered burgers in RSB history. All depleted with one bite.

Our previous visit to Formoli’s was in their smaller location at 34th and J, this time it was in their new larger digs at 39th and J, due to some clever swapping negotiations with Ganuls. Good for them, they desrved to grow their business, unfortunately it seems to have compromised their quality. Perhaps the chef had to call in for some line-cooks to handle the load. Seems they couldn’t keep up with his original vision though.

The original location was small, the new location is much larger, and much fancier. Anyway, back to the main reason for the write-up…the Whiskey Burger.

Well, to be blunt, it sucked. The menu description is amazing, home ground mixture of sirloin and chuck, a spicy aoili, served on a ciabatta bun. Here’s the break down:

  • Meat was bland. Burger was cooked medium-well, asked for medium rare – all 3 of us. Why kill the flavor by overcooking it?
  • Spicy aioli was ridiculously hot. We can handle spice, but this was stupid.
  • Bun, the only shining star. Lightly toasted, and very fresh. These are actually provided by Bella Bru.

OK, to be fair this restaurant seems like it has transformed from a bistro that also served a really good burger, to an upscale neighborhood restaurant with a burger to satisfy the unsophisticated palette.  BUT, our lady friends had non-burger meals, and left very disappointed.

Farewell Formolis.

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River Rock Tap House

Third times a charm one can hope. The River Rock is located in the building that used to be occupied by ill-fated Taco Loco and the confusing Tex-Mex. This concept is simple, tried and true – pub food and beer. The key though, is good pub food and good beer, and River Rock seems to have figured this out.

Click to Zoom

BEER: River Rock claims to have over 40 beers on tap, but two of the three IPA’s up for consideration were out. I will commend them on having a great list of brews, including Green Flash and Wipe Out, would love to see some Stone brews here as well. Fortunately, no matter your beer style preference, you probably will find something you like.

River Rock only serves two burgers, Classic and the Guinness. The Classic is served dry, with red onion and tomato. Usual add-ons are available for $1 each.

Bacon and Blue

Classic Rock Burger: Essentially the control burger, BUT this one had Pt. Reyes Bleu Cheese and apple wood smoked bacon. Of course it was ordered medium-rare, and of course it came out a perfect... medium -- dam. The bun, classically called the "Signature Bun" was good, but would have been better slightly warmed or toasted. The cris-cut fries were fantastic! All in all, a good basic pub burger.

Classic with Guac

Classic Rock Burger: Guac this way.  This burger patty alone was definitely overcooked. I ordered the usual medium-rare and I hope they were going for medium-well because they nailed it!  However the good news is I didn't just have the patty, the guacamole was very tasty and very moist.  The tomatoes were fresh, lettuce was crisp, all adding enough moisture to make it a great burger.  I will definitely be back for another burger and this time I will ask them to toast the bun.  (and shoot for medium-rare)

Guinness Burger

Guinness Burger: Details

On paper this burger read like the greatest thing since bacon.  Unfortunately, I was left disappointed.  My burger was ordered medium rare and delivered a disgraceful well done.  In addition to the over cooked patty the bun was cold and the quality of meat was suspect.   Whew!  Now that I got that off my chest, lets talk about the positives.  The over-medium egg was a welcomed addition by adding much needed moisture and it was a perfect complement to the excellent homemade  Guinness gravy.  Hopefully the  chef was just having a bad day because the potential of this burger is outstanding.   Due to the delicious criss-cut fries and outstanding appetizers, I trust they will make the improvements needed for it to be Ro sham worthy.

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The Yard House – Roseville

The Yard House breaks the “Non-Chain” rule, but the draw of 140 beers on tap was too powerful to resist! Located in the Fountains of Roseville, the Yard House is a perfect fit. The designers somehow managed to turn this former Smith & Hawkin’s store into a great looking restaurant with one of the biggest bars I’ve seen. Read More, see photos→

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