5 new burgers: Blake's on Sixth Street

First came 100 Austin BurgersHere’s the fifth of five more burgers that have popped up since then.
Blake’s on Sixth Street
1221 W. Sixth St. 512-215-0317, www.blakesonsixth.com.
UPDATE: Blake's has closed.
The first time I talked to Blake Moffitt, he was second-in-command to Justin Raiford at 34th Street Cafe. He was confident in the way that only somebody who knows more about your job than you do can be. I won’t say he’s all that different now, because I still have a lot to learn about a profession that can take a chef from Michelin-starred houses in Europe to kitchens in Austin including Fabi and Rosi, 34th Street and Shoreline Grill to making cheese with a Vermont master and back. Raiford works for Sandra Bullock’s Bess Bistro now, and Moffitt’s all over the place: doing specialty foods and catering with Elevated Artisanal Goods, helping the young crew at Mercury Pizza renovate so they can reopen in the coming weeks and now running his own shop from a former raw-foods restaurant space adjacent to Bella Salon called Blake’s on Sixth Street. It’s a work in progress, with chalkboards that move from a burger, paninis and gazpacho to specials of Spanish-style “pinchos,” empanadas and tartines. I found out about Blake’s through the 18-year-old pizza slinger at Mercury, who talked about Moffitt like he was the second coming, at least the restaurant savior version of that.
The burger: If you don’t think the pedigree of your beef makes much of a difference, Blake’s on Sixth Street is a place to test that idea. Moffitt gets his grass-fed beef from the Bastrop Cattle Co. The name passes the epicure’s test for name-brand local. But as an end user rather than a local-chaser, I’m more interested in the way the beef carries its amplified density with grace, as soft as chopped tenderloin but as fat-forward and unapologetically beefy as a strip that not only can handle medium-rare but demands it. It’s one of two building blocks for a burger that changes daily, for about $8-$9 with chips or fries. The other is a sweet bakery roll from Walton’s that pulls just shy of knocking on that cotton-candy door marked “Hawaii.”
To that meat-and-bread scaffold one afternoon, Blake’s added farmers market beet greens, baby spinach and curly leaf lettuce dressed with lemon vinaigrette, Vermont cheddar, stout house-cured bacon and tomato that had been slow-poached in olive oil, garlic and thyme for a confit character. It’s an elegant configuration, a good representative for daily editions to come.
The extras: First, pick up the kettle chips that come with the burger in a clever sawed-off brown bag. Now set them aside and order instead a cup of large-cut, skin-on potato salad ($3.99) dressed out with blue cheese, celery, carrots, bacon and truffle oil. Moffitt said he developed the recipe as a hot-weather alternative to mashed potatoes. Somehow the truffle oil manages to play nice with the blue cheese so that neither one plays alpha.
The drinks: A decent cup of cappuccino. Or better, a bottle of Spanish red or white wine for as little as $12. A bottle, not just a glass. There’s a total of 15 or so, none of them more than $30, all of them poured by the glass, plus bottled beers like Boulevard Tank 7 Saison.
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)