Running a restaurant can be a balancing act between trying to put out the best food possible and keeping prices low to attract customers. DLux, Food Fight Restaurant Group’s latest venture, manages to keep its prices low while putting out some seriously good food. DLux is located on Martin Luther King Boulevard off the square, in the same spot that used to house Ocean Grill.
Walking in, you’re struck by the new interior. Parts of it are modern and other parts are retro. The angled corners on the bar and the spartan decorations are modern, while the dark woods and ’50s comic book art give DLux a retro feel reminiscent of “Mad Men.” The most striking change is the bar, which now wraps around and gives the entire room the illusion of more open space.
The decorations are sparse, so there’s nothing to distract people from the food, which does not disappoint. DLux is a burger joint through and through. There are a lot of opinions on the best style of burger, and I am not about to take sides here, but the DLux’s style, it does well. Rather than a big, medium rare patty, DLux’s is a one-third pound pressed ground beef patty. It is served on a potato roll bun with a light flour dusting. All the buns are toasted and the patties are cooked to medium unless the customer asks otherwise.
Although the beef burgers all share a bun, patty, temperature and size, the similarities end there. The toppings for the burgers at DLux vary from the house-made pimento cheese spread, bacon, baby greens and local bell pepper jelly showcased in the Pimento Cheeseburger to the corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing of the Carnegie Burger. Burger purists should not be alarmed, though, because DLux does offer the Standard Burger with traditional toppings like lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles.
The DLux Burger, the restaurant’s namesake, is served with a port wine-onion marmalade, creamy blue cheese spread and fresh arugula. It was fantastic. The pressed patty made it possible to fit the entire burger into my mouth easily, which I appreciate. The sweetness in the bun and port wine-onion marmalade offset the tanginess of the blue cheese spread, while the fresh arugula added a peppery flavor you normally see in a black and blue burger, but without the actual pepper. The arugula also added a nice crunch, and without it the textures would have all been soft.
Although the beef burgers clearly take the spotlight, DLux also features a section of their menu devoted to “sorta-burgers.” This section of the menu has an assortment of alternative patties, including a white fish and shrimp patty with creamy sriracha and cabbage slaw and a ginger salmon patty with carrot, daikon, jicama asian salad and wasabi mayo.
They even give a slight nod to the vegetarians dragged to DLux by their carnivorous friends. DLux features a Southwestern white bean burger, a twist from a traditional black bean burger, with poblano chile, queso sauce and blue corn tortilla strips. The only entrée that’s not pattied is also vegetarian — their portabello caprese with fresh mozzarella, tomato, balsamic reduction, baby greens and basil mayonnaise.
Staying true to the theme of a posh burger joint, DLux offers shakes and fries to supplement their meaty menu. They add their own twist here too, offering some unusual shake flavors beyond the usual chocolate or vanilla. These include concoctions like a lemon meringue shake, a toasted marshmallow shake and even a red velvet shake. Their salted caramel pecan shake was as decadent as it sounds, and all of the flavors were distinguishable. Even the salt could be tasted and helped cut the richness a little.
The fries at DLux are thick and can come plain with only sea salt. They were a little soft (I love crispy fries), but they seemed designed more as a vessel for their specialty sauces than a stand-alone item. The sauces are great, and include a sharp cheddar and green onion sauce, a blue cheese and bacon sauce and a parmesan and truffle cream sauce.
Not to give the burgers all the attention, DLux also put together a creative cocktail program. The most unique feature is their kegged cocktails. The restaurant offer four semi-seasonal cocktails that come straight from the tap. These include the Cherry Bounce Collins, with cherry, lemon and bourbon, and their DLux Double Punch, with orange vodka, ginger ale, pineapple juice and mint. Be careful though: they may not taste it, but these drinks still come with plenty of alcohol. The cocktail program is rounded out with some shaken and stirred cocktails and a few made with their house-made sodas.
DLux puts out some seriously good food and manages to keep the prices down. The salads and burgers are all $8. In fact, nothing on the menu is above $8, including their cocktails which range from $5 to $7. The loaded fries all come in two sizes, a smaller for $2 and a larger for $5. Also of note, they keep their kitchen running until midnight and their bar serves until 2 a.m. Basically, the next time you have a burger craving, late night or otherwise, you might want to think of hitting up DLux.