Home > Restaurant Reviews > Stunt Eater Review: Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA

Stunt Eater Review: Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA

As a longtime Charlottesville resident, I’ve been to most every restaurant in town, several times over.  Certain restaurants receive regular visits, whether through their quality, reliability, or price.  So, when a new restaurant opens, there is a mix of excitement and a risk that you’ll waste a precious free night on a less than memorable meal.  For this reason, I am typically not on the bleeding edge of diners – if given a choice between a sure thing and a potential hit or miss, I’ll usually choose the sure thing.  It takes a lot for me to forsake the places I know and like for a new one, so I’ll rely on the opinions of friends and fellow eaters to decide whether a place warrants a visit.

Beer Run was one of those places.  I’d visited several times to buy beer in the retail store, which I’d highly recommend (more on this later).  The seating area always seemed full and the lure of cold, delicious beer on tap was hard to resist.  The clincher, however, was when a friend declared their burger to be the best she had ever eaten.  The wife and I got a babysitter and set a date last week. 

The Dining Experience: 5/10

The dining experience leaves a little bit to be desired, parking is difficult if the area is crowded, and the inside tables are close together.  The restaurant entrance is the same as the retail store, so heavy traffic in the shop may impact your dining experience.  There is very little room inside for larger parties, which may be a consideration for other diners.

The Food: 6/10

Per our friends’ recommendation, we each ordered the organic buffalo burger, medium rare.  I ordered a Hefeweizen and she ordered a white wine, which tasted like toothpaste until I reminded her that she had brushed her teeth before we left.  In the end, we like the the white so much we left with a bottle – one of the benefits of the on-site retail store. 

I am disappointed to say that the burger did not live up to expectations.  It arrived, served on a pretzel bun, with potato salad.  The pretzel bun is an underutilized burger accessory – it provides good juice absorbtion properties, nice structure, and a different taste.  Although I am not necessarily a fan of the ranchification of the American restaurant menu, the ranch dressing provided for the burger was a nice complement to the burger and bun, although a little bit thin to apply.  Roma tomatoes on a burger are, for the most part, a big disappointment.  The minor flavor boost provides little in exchange for the structural deficiencies that result from their inclusion.   The organic cheddar on the burger provided a sharp contrast to the burger and was a welcome addition.

The most significant miss, however, was an overcooked burger.   With a lean meat such as buffalo, the cooking temperature becomes that much more crucial – anything more than medium, in my opinion, and the buffalo begins to get too dry.  We let our server know about the issue and continued eating, opting to finish our meal and not waste the food we had ordered.  However, for a $12 burger, I expected better.

Dessert, however, made up significant lost ground.  We ordered the Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout and the Guinness Chocolate cake.  The stout was outstanding, with hints of smoke and chocolate coming through.  Overall a beautiful beer and one worth coming back for, especially on draft.  It matched very well with the moist, rich cake. 

The Service:  7/10

No complaints.  Service was accurate, timely, and most importantly, pleasant.  Our server was able to make good recommendations about the wine, beer, and food on the menu.  She passed on the feedback about the burger without attitude.

Overall Verdict: 6/10

Beer Run warrants a cautious trip back.   It has so many positives going for it: delicious beer, mostly organic menu, and in-town location.  In the search for a good burger and a go-to restaurant, however, some misses are hard to swallow.   There is enough on the lunch and breakfast menus to warrant a repeat visit for those meals, and the draft beer alone is enough to put up with an overcooked burger if it were not $12.  At the least, we’ll be back to the retail store to stock up on beer.

Categories: Restaurant Reviews
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  1. July 24, 2008 at 7:56 am

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