LFK – Dark Bar on a Stormy Night

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I’d been wanting to hit LFK on State St. since they opened in 2012. For whatever reason, I just never got there until recently. Word on the street was that they served up a pretty good burger and had a decent beer list, but I wasn’t aware of much else going on with them. We went there on a rainy night hoping for a little grub and grog to get us out of our ugly weather funk and arrived shortly after they opened so we could catch a movie afterward.

There were a few people at the bar when we went in, but they were otherwise empty. The tables were all larger and there were five or so of them. The bar was dark with mellow music playing. I was hoping for something a little more upbeat considering the depressing scene from which we had just come in. We grabbed a couple seats at the bar and the bartender handed us menus a couple moments later. One of the menus had a drawing of Danny Devito on the front and the other one was Danny Devito-free.

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As I looked through the menu, my significant other notified me that she was still full from her lunch a few hours before and was just going to order a drink. That was lucky for me, because we had agreed that I was going to pay for dinner. As I reveled in that exciting news, I looked at my food and drink options, with a drink I had seen during a previous glance at their online menu catching my eye. It was the Oaxaca Old Fashioned – mezcal, tequila, mole and hellfire bitters, simple, grapefruit twist. That sounded mighty strong and particularly interesting, so I ordered it while my wife went with a Citizen Cider.

The bartender made up our drinks and delivered them at about the same time the music changed to something more exciting. I mentioned the music change to my wife and the bartender heard, responding that he was still recovering from the day before and wanted to start with some chill tunes. I understood, but was happy there was now music I could nod my head to. As I did an in-chair dance, I took a sip of my cocktail. Woah! The drink was everything it appeared to be – a smoky, tequila siren. Not for those with a weak heart, the drink was ultra strong, just a bit sweet, and hit me like an anvil over the head.

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Drink sipping and head bobbing, I got to menu scouring. The food menu was small with only ten items available, though for the size, they seemed to have a pretty good selection with plenty of vegetarian options for those living a meatless life. There were apps, soups, salads, burgers, meatloaf, and pasta. I wanted something with beef and probably a side. I saw the Deviled Eggs on the bottom of the menu and put those at the top of my list. The satanized spawn is one of my all time favorites, so I had to give it strong consideration, but I saw a couple other items which also interested me.

When the bartender asked what I wanted for food, I first chose the Burger – organic ground beef, garlic aioli, mixed greens on a pretzel roll. Through the menu didn’t offer it, he gave me the option of cheese and I took Swiss. Then I put aside the eggs I had previously deemed worthy of my selection in favor of the Mac and Cheese – bleu cheese bechamel, cavatappi pasta. It was a toss up, but in the end, I favored the mac because of the bleu cheese bechamel which I thought would be good to try.

I waited for my food, enveloped the relative darkness of the bar. The burger and mac came out in due time and I took a good look at my meal under the flashlight from my phone. Nothing seemed too far out of the ordinary. The burger wasn’t particularly wide, but it was stacked high with tomato, onion, and the other added goodies noted on the menu. The mac and cheese was in a small bowl and topped with crumbs. I turned down ketchup and mustard for the burger both times it was offered to me, and instead looked forward to trying it as it came with the aioli as the only condiment.

My excitement about the meal in front of me was a little more than I usually experience for the traditional ground beef and bun sandwich. It wasn’t because of the burger’s reputation, but just because I was pretty jazzed about eating a pretzel roll. I know pretzel rolls are big these days, but I couldn’t remember the last time I had one even though I do enjoy them. I grabbed the buns, squeezed it all into a mouth-high mound, and shoved it into the largest hole in my head. Quickly realizing I made a mistake, I took it out of my ear and tried my mouth. That was better and I got a full taste of the burger. The beef was great, the veggies always work well, and the pretzel roll was as good as I envisioned when I ordered it. The aioli was a little light, but quite tasty. The Swiss was a good choice on my part, though I’m sure the other options would have been fine too.

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About half my burger was done before I gave any thought whatsoever to the mac. Once I did consider taking a bite, it was on. I forked a couple pieces of the cavatappi which had both some sauce and crumbs. The pasta was perfectly al dente which was good, but it didn’t leave me wanting more. I figured it deserved another try. I took another morsel, digging into the bottom of the bowl to see if I could get more cheese sauce on the corkscrews. I did just that, but found the same result. The cheese just didn’t have the potency I was looking for. I could taste the blue cheese a little, but there was nothing more to it than that. It was good that the blue cheese wasn’t overpowering, but the bachamel base needed a heavier flavor.

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I finished my food and drink and got ready to head out. After tax and tip, the meal came to $42. That seemed about right. I really liked LFK overall. The burger was very good and my drink was too. I wasn’t thrilled with the mac and cheese, but next time I will definitely try the eggs instead. The atmosphere is pretty cool, especially for a dreary night hideaway or a winter weather escape. It’s a little more dark and brooding than I expected, but that seems to be a large part of its allure. I think it’s definitely worth a visit, just don’t expect to see your food well unless you literally shine a light on it.

Stay hungry.

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One thought on “LFK – Dark Bar on a Stormy Night

  1. Pingback: Peter Peter Portland Eater’s Eating Portland, ME Awards 2016 | Eating Portland, Maine

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