Note: Updated with photos post-soft opening.
852 Route 3, Clifton NJ
Web Site: http://www.foxrc.com/zinburger.html
As I mentioned in a previous post, Northern New Jersey has been getting an increasing number of new burger-themed restaurants of late, which includes Five Guys, Smashburger, Bobby Flay’s Burger Place and now Zinburger, which comes to us from Fox Restaurant Concepts, a management company which has opened most of their restaurant properties in Arizona, Colorado, Texas and Kansas.
The New Jersey location is owned by the Briad Group, out of Livingston which owns the Promenade Shops complex and where the new Zinburger has opened.
Zinburger joins Briad’s other Clifton restaurant property at the Promenade, Corner Bakery and Cups, a cafe, frozen yogurt and bakery dessert place and casual restaurant.
Zinburger (the “Zin” presumably referring to Zinfandel, a red wine grape varietal) is different from other burger restaurant concepts in that they are aspiring for a more high-end burger experience, accompanied by a full wine and beverage program.
Zinburger aims to merge the Wine Bar and higher-end burgers into a single dining concept. Did they succeed? Click on the Read the Rest of This Entry link below for more.
Zinburger storefront at the Promenade Shopping Center.
Zinburger’s main dining room.
Zinburger offers a full range of red (and white) wines by the glass to pair with your burgers, such as California Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and of course, Zinfandel. Click here to read the menu and wine list (Adobe Acrobat) and if you’re not a wine guy (or gal) they’ve got some nice beers too.
The restaurant has its own thermostatically controlled wine lockers to keep its vintages at optimum freshness and serving temperature.
In addition to the wine and beer the restaurant has a full beverage program and fully stocked bar with unique cocktails, such as this Bacon Bloody Mary, made with bacon-infused vodka.
As this was a Soft Opening we were invited to attend, I decided to play with the staff a bit. This off-menu cocktail which we created at the spur of the moment is a “Baco-tini”, a Bacon Vodka Martini with just a spray of Dry Vermouth and topped with cracked black pepper. Highly Recommended.
In addition to banquette and table seating in the dining room, the bar offers seating for single diners.
The bar at Zinburger.
A quick peek inside the kitchen.
French Fries are of the fresh cut variety with a small amount of skin still on them. They’re some of the best Fries I’ve had at a burger chain.
A mushroom and cheese burger with avocado, coming off the line.
This one’s got mayo and sauteed mushrooms. Zinburger’s beef mix is 100 percent Certifed Angus chuck, in an 80 percent lean mix, and I think it works quite well for the product they are producing.
I love the way the bacon comes off on this one, inviting you to pick it off. The applewood-smoked bacon used by Zinburger is Nueske’s, which is a really good premium brand that I’ve seen used at steakhouses such as Porter House New York.
Herbed Zucchini Fries, a must-order in my opinion.
A happy patron.
Burgers on the runway, ready for takeoff.
More Bacon Burgers.
Heading out to the table.
Three different types of fries — Truffle parmigiano, sweet potato, and the zucchini. Zinburger also has plain french fries.
Zinburger isn’t just Burgers, though. There’s a number of nice salads on the menu, including this seared tuna with Asian dressing and Cashew Nuts that everyone at the table thought was excellent.
Besides a number of pre-configured burgers on the menu, you can also build your own. This insane creation is a Bacon, Bleu Cheese, Wild Mushroom, Sauteed Onion and Truffle Aoli burger, which we all felt was our favorite that evening.
A special burger for that evening, a “New Jersey” burger with fried egg, bacon, roasted peppers, mayo, avocado. A successful combination.
This was a “Kobe Burger” with Mushrooms and Cheddar and Aoli. We were sort of on the fence if the more expensive Wagyu beef was an improvement given the rich toppings, I’m inclined to say no given the already higher fat content of the meat.
Turkey Burger. Good, but we all felt it was a bit overseasoned, but this could be due to Soft Opening quirks. Would not be my first choice of burger however, even if the seasoning was right. Needed more interesting toppings to compensate for the turkey being less “meaty” than beef.
The Seared Tuna sandwich, served with avocado slices. A nice burger alternative.
The Buffalo Chicken sandwich which Rachel and I both felt was one of the best of it’s type we’ve ever had. Nice crispy coating, generous juicy unprocessed chicken breast, authentic Buffalo Wing flavoring with Frank’s Hot Sauce and melted Pepper Jack cheese.
Be sure to make room for dessert!
Banana cream pie, which was utterly devoured by the table. Wonderful custard and great whipped cream topping, nice but very firm Graham Cracker crust.
A trio of shakes. We went the light colored route that evening, hence the uniform beige-ness. From left, Bananas Foster, Gingerbead and Creme Brulee. Our favorite was the seasonal Gingerbread shake, which is made with gingerbread cookie pieces and gingerbread spices.
A chocolate cream pie and a Strawberry Cheesecake shake, ordered on a different occasion. The pie was my personal favorite, made with nice dark chocolate. I couldn’t taste the “cheesecake” element of the shake but it clearly had real strawberries in it and not strawberry flavoring. More of a tangy yogurt taste than cheesecake, which is not a bad thing.
I realize Heinz ketchup is tasty, but at what price? The company refuses to remove High Fructose Corn Syrup; Shame on them, really. An establishment like this restaurant should act with more awareness.
I buy organic ketchup but I always have heinz on hand because no other ketchup tastes like heinz. I understand the health concerns about HFCS but unless you drink ketchup or use it on literally everything you eat then it isn’t going to kill you. I remember the simpler times where moderation was exercised instead of reactionary jabs.
I haven’t even been here yet but I assume they serve soda. Gosh this establishment should have more awareness!
Most of these burgers and the fries served here don’t need Ketchup at all. Heinz does apparently offer an Organic ketchup but I think it is still HFCS-based. The only dish I saw actually served with Ketchup are the plain French fries, the others come with different sauces.
Again, Jason, how about some information on prices.
Also, Zin…? What’s that mean?
I have to assume “Zin” is referring to Zinfandel.
Pricing is on the menu, linked,
Click to access zb_phx_menu.pdf
Everything is pretty reasonable, the Kobe Burger is a few dollars more, not worth it in my opinion.
I went here for the pre opening. I liked it a lot. Get the bacon bloody mary!
I know Briad and Brad VERY well…this will be a stellar success!! He truly has passion for his restaurants and his customers,a winner!!
Correct you are. The “Zin” does indeed mean Zinfandel.
Even the low-end burger market is changing in NNJ. Sonic has been popping up in New Jersey now too. Steak N’ Shake can’t be too far behind… :-)
In-N-Out will probably never get here though.
There’s a Cheeburger Cheeburger opening up in Rutherford this week as well.
I think this review is well thought out and very helpful. I am surprised to not see more positive feedback. I can’t wait to check this place out!
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