Decemburger: Bam's Roadhouse Grill
First came 50 Burgers, 50 Days. Then Novemburger. 2011 wraps up with a burger a day for Decemburger.
Day 10: Bam’s Roadhouse Grill
6115 Lohmans Ford Road, Lago Vista. 512-267-9001, www.bamsroadhousegrill.com.
Fall hours: 3 p.m. to close Monday-Tuesday. 11 a.m. to close Wednesday-Saturday. Closed Sunday.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 12.10.11
The burger: If you think about it, a stuffed burger is cheating, because with all that stuff packed in the middle, it’s as much a roulade or a meatloaf as it is a hamburger patty. But the visionaries didn’t get where they are by following the rules. And you won’t get to Bam’s without meaning to, because it’s a hike to Lago Vista over on the north shore of Lake Travis, a drive as hilly and picturesque as it is dodgy along the rim of the year-round kegger we call lake life. But people make it to Bam’s, including Bon Appetit and the Wall Street Journal, both of which flung superlatives at it the way national publications do when they “discover” an out-of-the-way place.
Bam’s is a party in three parts: a tiny bar as shadowy as a 13-year affair you never had, a red-granite courtyard for live music and getting your ya-yas out and a yacht club porch with ficus trees. And while I’m here under the amber lights listening to the XM version of K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the ‘70s, I’ll try something you don’t see in real life: a half-pound of beef stuffed with ground cranberry, pineapple, feta and teriyaki ($8).
It’s as sugary and twangy as a sea-breeze piña colada, precisely scored with grilled marks, and the meat slides like tectonic plates over its exotic core. Fresh slices of jalapeño temper the tropical sweetness, packed into a honey wheat bun that turns the whole thing into a sort of beef kolache. That’s not a complaint, more like a marvel at how a roadhouse can turn a bar-food standard into something of its very own. In town, the closest you’ll get to this style is Your Mom’s Burger Bar on East Cesar Chavez.
Fries or rings? Burgers come with house-fried tortilla chips and salsa. A good enough start. The $5 onion rings are food-service frozen, but the fries are cut by hand with seasoned salt and big potato flavor. They’re as thick as a middle finger to their lazy bar-and-grill cousins from a bag ($2/small).
(Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)