A Burger A Week – Cafe L’Europe
Serving a burger with a very familiar name!
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VINCENT: …You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
JULES: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?
VINCENT: No, they got the metric system there. They wouldn’t know what the f*** a Quarter Pounder is.
JULES: What’d they call it?
VINCENT: Royale with Cheese.
JULES: Royale with Cheese. What’d they call a Big Mac?
VINCENT: Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac.
JULES: What do they call a Whopper?
VINCENT: I dunno, I didn’t go into a Burger King.
Yes, burger-loving ladies and gentlemen, you can get a Royale with Cheese right here in Sarasota. No, it’s not the French Quarter Pounder equivalent that Vincent and Jules are chewing over in that scene. It is something COMPLETELY different!
It’s just so weird that the film classic Pulp Fiction AND the restaurant classic Café L’Europe would intersect right here at the crossroads of A Burger A Week! It is an enduring piece of cinema and pop culture, that is for sure. And Café L’Europe is also enduring in its own right.
I wonder if back in 1973, when Titus Letschert and Norbert Goldner opened this celebration of European cuisine, they had any idea that it would be a St. Armands staple for fifty years and counting!
It’s been well documented that over the past half-century, this iconic restaurant has been an incubator for some of the best chefs in our area.
Harry Christenson (Harry’s Continental Kitchens), J.P. Knaggs (Bijou Café), and Ray Arpke (Euphemia Haye) are just some of the talented culinary professionals who have at one time or another called the kitchen of Café L’Europe home. That is an impressive lineup!
Who would have ever thought that a restaurant known for its Duck A ‘Lorange, Escargot, and Caviar would also have a burger on its menu? And it’s a burger with a name that suggests it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Outside, Café L’Europe sports a look that is in keeping with its name. It shouts European café.
The inside throws it more toward the formal end of the spectrum …
After five decades, things are bound to change. That’s only natural. When Café L’Europe’s major facelift is complete in a few months, guests will be treated to some lighter and brighter dining (and drinking) spaces.
A whole new Café L’Europe experience is waiting just around the corner for you. Here’s a little sneak peek at what will greet folks who want to catch a happy hour glass of wine or a pre-dinner cocktail.
That’s a big-time upgrade! ⬆️
There are bound to be some tweaks to the old menu (that’s exciting!). But I’m assured the Royale with Cheese isn’t going anywhere. I’m keeping my fingers crossed… 🤞🏻
With that said, let’s talk about our Café L’Europe burger experience…
RESTAURANT: CAFÉ L’EUROPE (431 St. Armands Cir. (941) 388-4415)
DATE OF VISIT: AUGUST 23, 2023
STOP #: 40 OF 52
BURGER TASTED: ROYALE WITH CHEESE
📒 OUR TASTING NOTES
🍔 This burger is served as listed on the menu: Half-pound Angus Prime beef, smoked cheddar, onion jam, aioli, lettuce, tomato, house pickles, seasoned fries ($18)
• This is our second $18 burger in a row. But this one packs 2X the weight of our last burger. It’s a full ½ pound, and it looks the part! 🍔
• I LOVED the house-made pickles! These were a little sweet, a little salty, and a little spicy. They were the perfect burger addition. 🥒
• The onions were caramelized just right. It might seem like a simple thing (especially for a trained chef!), but it’s easy for these to sometimes be a little over-caramelized. Not this time. And they really piled them on!
• This was a surprise. Believe it or not, the smoked cheddar gets a little lost here. It’s a strong cheese, to be sure. But it shares space with some other pretty powerful flavors. You definitely get more of the texture than the taste.
• As you would imagine, the service is excellent. Mike and company did a great job! The level of service is exactly what you would expect from Café L’Europe. 🍴🧑🏻🍳
• The Fries! Yes, we get fries this week!! Natural cut, salt and peppered. Nicely crunchy (that means cooked right!). I could have used a few more. These fries would be a nice accompaniment to any burger. 🍟🙌🏻
Let’s check out how all of this looked when I ordered it…
BURGER TAKEAWAYS: It’s generally an older dining crowd. We’ll see if that changes after the redo • Not a bargain burger. But honestly, people don’t dine here for a bargain • I can get used to a white tablecloth burger! • They will be busy during season. You’ll need to get there before the crowds
🌀 Cafe L’Europe did sustain some damage from Hurricane Idalia, and they also have an ongoing renovation project that we mentioned above. Please call to make sure that they are receiving guests before making the trip out to St. Armands.
👀 SNEAK PEEK: Stop #41 is the polar opposite of this one. I mean, OPPOSITE! We’re headed to a place that’s part liquor store and part host to an ever-changing menu of pop-ups and regular features! 😀
BONUS CONTENT 😁🎥 Just in case you need a little laugh with your burger. Here’s a twisted rendition of that classic Pulp Fiction scene. Enjoy!!
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