In February, Royale Magnificent Burgers opened in Plano, two minutes from where Whiskey Cake is already serving an OMG burger of Brobdingnagian proportions, its signature a gargantuan onion ring that overshadows the patty and corrals a herd of sautéed mushrooms. The burger is impaled with a steak knife, as if to underscore its caveman scale.
Take that, add a dose of whimsy, and you get Royale Magnificent Burgers. The Wes Anderson-inspired burger-poutine-milkshake concept’s initial menu was developed with input from John Tesar, and tongue-in-cheek superlatives make ordering a madcap exercise in over-the-top excess: “We’ll have the Bison Quintessence and Crab Cake Concoction with the Deviled Egg Marvel and Fried Pickle Bliss.” Desserts are whipped-cream-bombed candy-factory creations of gargantuan excess. (My friend ogled the next table’s chocolate-pretzel-covered, M&M-ringed mountain camouflaged in whipped cream … that is, until a mountain of a salted caramel sundae landed chez nous.)
Burgers on fluffy brioche buns had issues with cooking consistency. But among the many options (lamb, lobster, bison, crab) and their many aiolis, I found what may be my new favorite veggie burger. No one else at my table loved it as I did, but I found singularly satisfying its mix of beets, lentils, rice, and toasted almonds; pomegranate ketchup and cranberries (a tart punch); sautéed mushrooms and porcini powder (bulked-up umami power); and curry powder for depth. Yes, it lacked structural integrity. But black-bean burgers and textured-vegetable-protein patties have been so overdone, it’s nice to find something different that entices with a little commotion of flavor and isn’t simply trying to mimic, in a work-horse way, the texture and protein-content of meat. I found this beet-red number, served with sprouts and avocado, to be a smart, rather nice mess.