Wednesday, January 21, 2009

For Your Consideration...

King burgerKing and Queen burgers at Kingdom
I give you the King Burger: 12 oz. of 100% USDA Prime top sirloin; toasted sesame seed bun; lettuce, tomato & red onion; additional toppings available.
I'm back from a trip to Miami, FLA (guess the musical reference) to catch up with friends, defrost my toes and play some golf. Along the way, I remembered to pack my Press pass and logged some more miles as neophyte food blogger. Only a few more posts 'til I qualify for the Williams-Sonoma oven mitts!
I can confidently report that the State of Food in south Florida has never been stronger. Restaurants continue to pop up on Biscayne Boulevard and most are showing little sign of closing up shop anytime soon. I dined at several old favorites, tried a couple of new establishments, and walked away thoroughly impressed. Merchants continue to find new niches for the dining public: an abandoned cinderblock shack transformed into a quasi-gourmet hotdog stand, a car wash coffee shop turned chic outdoor café, a new sushi and tempura restaurant re-defining fusion cuisine, and here I'm just beginning to scratch the surface.
But I have to tell you about Kingdom. Located right on Biscayne Boulevard, just south of the 79th Street Causeway, Kingdom was crowned Best Bar Food by Miami New Times. I am willing to go further by proclaiming the Kingdom burger The Best Hamburger I Have Ever Tasted. I cornered the chef one afternoon, and he couldn't wait to brag about his food. His beef is never frozen. Burger meat is ground fresh daily, produce comes in directly from farms in Immokalee, fries and onion rings are hand cut, and attention to detail is the driving philosophy. I've eaten at Kingdom several times, and in fact insist on at least one lunch there whenever in Miami. It's become something of a standing joke with my friends Gregg and Jimmy, but they like to indulge me I guess.
This last visit met every expectation. Great seats at the outside bar with sports acting as background noise on the plasma televisions and a bartender who's become a favorite for the past couple of years. He's never failed to remember me and for that, my ego is eternally grateful. He's so comfortable around us now, he shares bawdy songs from his iPod whenever he thinks he can get away with it. But let's get to the burger, shall we?
Kingdom offers three burgers:
Queen Burger - 8 oz. sandwich, $8
King Burger - 12 oz. sandwich, $9
Doomsday Burger - 24 oz. sandwich, $17.
There is a challenge with the Doomsday. If you can eat the entire thing in under 15 minutes, the burger is free. Should you fail however, Kingdom skins you for twenty bucks. Seems fair, but I have yet to step up to the plate. All burgers are cooked perfectly, PERFECTLY to order and for $.75 ea., you can add cheese, bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms.
A basket of fries is $3, onion rings $3.50, or a mixed  basket for $4.
The meat is marbled with flavor. There's a very agreeable nuttiness to the taste. The cook adds just enough salt to accent the beef, and you never get that blandness that comes with chewing cheap cuts of meat.
If you order cheese, it's not just plopped on top of the patty, but is almost fused with the meat. Chef wouldn't tell me exactly how he accomplished that without over-cooking the burger, but I one-upped him later in my interrogation.
Kingdom onion ringsKingdom fries
Jimmy, Gregg and I each ordered burgers with one basket of fries and one of onion rings to share among us. Which to describe first: onions or fries. Let's start with the rings and then I'll tell you how I trumped the chef. If you check the You Gonna Finish That archives you can see a photo of a mass of dough, batter and brutally tortured onions. Not so at Kingdom. The onion rings came out looking as if they had been battered in Panko bread crumbs and a farm-fresh egg wash, and then individually fried to a Coppertone-tan golden brown. It was almost a crime to consume such flawlessness. But then what would be the point? But the fries, gentle readers, the fries! Kingdom prides itself on a strictly confidential herb and spice recipe that is tossed with piping hot potatoes right out of the fryer. The chef was struck dumb when I identified every ingredient in his "secret" seasoning. He swore me to secrecy, but here is one component that you'll be amazed to learn adds such subtle character to the rest of the spices: dried parsley flake. Who woulda thunk it, right? Well, after that, I earned a new respect from Chef in spite of my shady credentials as food blogger.
Kingdom Lion
6708 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33138

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Beer and wine only. All major credit cards accepted. When you go, ask the bartender for his version of the classic Shandy. You will not be displeased.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

1 comment:

Matt said...

Great... now I want those rings. I am literally as far away as possible. Thanks BoF.