The most basic burger on the menu at Red Cow is the most luxurious. The Manhattan is 8 ounces of brand-name Angus beef from the famous East Coast butcher Pat LaFrieda crisscrossed with bacon slices and dripping with melted Cotswold cheese, a softer, smoother relative of cheddar. All of this takes over a domed, milk-soft bun.
It’s enormous. And it costs $15. With a price tag and pedigree like that, it should blow you away. Instead, it’s simply good. The meat was salty and loose, but with no pink left in it and not a lot of juice.
The rest of the burger menu at Red Cow is a world tour of the possibilities that present themselves when you start with meat and a bun (loosely interpreted, of course). The Elk Wellington is tender, flaky, and just gamey enough. The veggie burger is hearty, soft, and just a little spicy. The breakfast burger is a tour de force of hangover cravings: beef, bacon, runny eggs, peanut butter, cheddar cheese, and thick buttery toast. The barbecue burger covers the cravings on the other side of a long evening: deep-fried battered onions and blue cheese. (Red Cow’s owner, Luke Shimp, was a longtime partner with the Blue Plate Restaurant Group, of Edina Grill fame, so he understands menus that balance accessibility and adventure.)
With the focus on the toppings, these burgers shine. With a side of miraculously crispy and absolutely irresistible sweet-potato fries, they’re fun and craveable and just the sort of thing that will bring in families and summer revelers from Edina and southwest Minneapolis who are prepared to pay more than $10 for America’s most famous, once-humble sandwich.
Judging by the two large dining rooms—the heritage of the old Blockbuster video building—and generous patio, all packed with diners, many have already put Red Cow on their regular rotation. Loud and lively, almost frenetic on a regular old Tuesday night, the gourmet burger bar is one more reason that 50th and France has become one of the Cities’ hottest dining zones.
3624 W. 50th St., Mpls.