By Christy Strawser
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) “I gotta know what a $5 shake tastes like,” is the line John Travolta uses in a famous scene from “Pulp Fiction” as he complains bitterly about the price of a milkshake. In the end he decides, “I don’t know if it’s worth $5, but it’s pretty f*** good.”
Operators of a stalwart restaurant in Birmingham are possibly hoping the public feels the same way.
In this case, the Rugby Grille is introducing a $55 cheeseburger. It’s made of waygu beef, sweet onion jam, seared foie gras, arugula, braised short rib, parmesan aioli, burgundy truffles and Thomasville tomme cheese.
For those unaware of trendy food meant to sound sophisticated, we’ll translate that for you: Waygu is a breed of cattle bred to produce intensely marbled meat; foie gras, a delicacy in France, is duck liver produced by force feeding corn down a duck’s gullet; short ribs are a meaty cut slow cooked for tenderness; Thomasville tomme cheese is an aged, raw, cow’s milk cheese; aoili is a French sauce made of garlic and olive oil and presumably in this case, also parmesan cheese; burgandy truffles are a delicately flavored mushroom that appear only in the fall.
Don’t worry about paying extra for the fries. It comes with a side of burgundy truffle fries.
One metro Detroit chef, who asked not to be named, said this type of burger is gimmick that took off about 10 years ago in Vegas, and the Rugby is catching up.
“It’s a testament to Birmingham: a hot mess that costs about twice as much as it should, just to be able to say that it is what it is,” he said.
On the other hand, in its burger press release, the restaurant noted: “As you know, in great gastro cities like New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, there are burgers available from $100 to $5,000…which makes The Rugby Grille’s new Foie Burger, priced at $55, seem like a deal.”
The Rugby Grille is the restaurant at the tony Townsend Hotel, known as a mainstay for music and film celebrities when they’re in Detroit.
The restaurant has four stars on Yelp, where reviewers praise the new burger’s tastiness. “This Burger is outstanding! Served on a delicious brioche bun with braised short ribs, onions, liver, a slightly sweet sauce and topped with melted cheese. Served with a side of truffle fries, which require no ketchup! Yummy!,” one reviewer wrote.
She said it was large enough to share, but “you won’t want to.”
The burger is served rare on a brioche bun branded cattle-style with the letter “R.”