A Visit to Cardwell's at the Plaza

In this week's issue, I review BC's Kitchen, the new venture from Bill Cardwell, founder of the original Cardwell's in Clayton (which he has since sold) and Cardwell's at the Plaza. Those who have visited both BC's Kitchen and Cardwell's at the Plaza know that the two restaurants' menus are quite similar. For no reason other than to satisfy my own curiosity, I decided to visit Cardwell's at the Plaza and see how a couple of dishes compared from one to the other.

First up, the onion soup. I have a photograph of this, but you're going to have to trust me: Onion soup doesn't photograph well. Or I don't photograph onion soup well. Or however you would say that.

At any rate, I dug the French onion soup at BC's Kitchen: "Its broth possesses a depth of flavor -- beefy, with an edge of malty sweetness -- that surpasses paler versions." The soup at the Plaza didn't have the same richness; the flavor of roasted onion was more simplistic. Still, this was a very good soup and, like its cousin at BC's Kitchen, far better than run-of-the-mill French onion soup.

But, really, this "experiment" was an excuse to try the famous "Meister Burger" again.

cardwells.jpg

How did it measure up? Find out after the jump.

As I wrote in this week's review, this "is one of the best burgers in town, the thick, juicy patty topped with cheddar and blue cheeses, applewood-smoked bacon and, its signature touch, a spicy-sweet tomato relish exactly 37.6 times better than ordinary ketchup."

I'm happy to report that Cardwell's at the Plaza turns out an excellent -- maybe even superior -- version of this burger. The beef -- a perfect medium-rare -- was even jucier, and  the amount of cheese atop the patty was downright indulgent. And, as an added bonus, I didn't have to drive 90 minutes round-trip to enjoy it.

I should also mention, since it's been doom-and-gloom around Gut Check lately, that Cardwell's was doing a very brisk lunch business. This was the first time that I can remember where I was asked whether I had a reservation for lunch.

- Ian Froeb

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