It used to be that a “bar” meant a place for drinks and cocktails but now you can have burgers, pasta, and even entrées in establishments with the word “bar” as a prefix or a suffix like Bar Louie and Elephant Bar. The former is a “bar” that serves desserts and the latter is a “bar” which serves food specialties from Italy and New Zealand as well as Chinese wok-fired dishes.
You can’t really call a joint that serves both drinks and burgers a “burger bar,” so the rule of thumb seems to add the word “bar” as a prefix or suffix. From the increasing popularity of both Bar Louis and Elephant Bar, this formula is working quite well. The common denominator is that alongside with drinks, food being served in those two places includes seafood, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Where Martinis Have Unusual Names
Bar Louie is considered “eclectic urban” type bar whose signature drink is the martini in different preparations. Burgers, small plates, and sandwiches are up there as the “exceptional selection,” together with imported beers, microbrews, and more than 20 varieties of wine (which you can order by the glass).
The martinis have unusual, albeit interesting, names to them, each one prepared with top grade ingredients. There are Margaritas, mojitos, and hand-squeezed and fresh fruit juices, but it’s the martinis which have Bar Louie as a household name. That’s because of the wide selection of this already popular cocktail. Here’s a sample menu of Bar Louie’s martinis:
Burgers in Eight Flavors
There are three signature flatbreads: Verde Chicken (grilled chicken, queso fresco, red onion, fresh cilantro, and jalapeño with house-made salsa verde), Buffalo Chicken (green onion, buffalo sauce, smoked onion, Provolone, grilled chicken, green onion, Mozzarella, and blue cheese crumbles), and Roasted Vegetable (tomato, basil, mushrooms, spinach and artichoke sauce, and onions).
And then there are the famous beef burgers with seven flavors (with portabella mushrooms, turkey or chicken breast as substitute filling for the beef) aside from the classic plain hamburger with cheese:
- Southwest: guacamole, fresh jalapeño, and pepper jack.
- Philly: onions, Provolone, and mushrooms.
- Blue Louie: buffalo sauce, blue cheese, fresh spinach, and bacon.
- Chicago Stockyard: onion, mushrooms, tomato, parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorn, Romaine lettuce, blue cheese, and tomato.
- Louie: spicy Giardiniera, Provolone, and grilled onion.
- Portabella: pesto mayo, onion, queso fresco, roasted red pepper, grilled portabella mushrooms, tomato, and fresh spinach.
Elephant Bar, meanwhile, is also an underrated bar-cum-burger joint because it is really so much more than a bar that serves burgers. Elephant Bar is an upscale restaurant with zebra stripes for ceiling décor and carpets with leopard spots for prints. Several dishes are a fusion of pan-Asian specialties and the interior is built around a safari theme.
The restaurant is officially called a “global grill” and “wok kitchen,” but like Bar Louie, Elephant Bar has cocktails like White Whiskey Old Fashioned, Habañero Lime Margarita, Mango Mule, Blue Rum Tropical Tea, Scorched Orchard, Blueberry Grapefruit Mojito, and Strawberry Mule. Mai Tais and “Skinny Cocktails” are half-price on Mondays and Tuesdays, respectively.
So what are those Skinny Cocktails? These are Elephant Bar’s signature cocktails, with less than 160 calories each. Skinny Margarita has fresh lime juice, triple sec that’s sugar-free, 1800 Silver Tequila, and Grand Marnier. Skinny Mango-Fusion Mojito has lime juice, Florida rum, sugar-free triple sec, mango, orange juice, and fresh mint leaves with a dash of soda.
Skinny Snap Dragon Martini, on the other hand, has passion fruit purée, cranberry juice, Dragon Fruit SKYY Vodka, and just a sprinkling of cayenne pepper for the unusual kick. You can enjoy these Skinny Cocktails seven days weekly during two Happy Hours: between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM and between 9:00 PM and closing time with reduced prices.
Do-It-Yourself Burgers and Global Specialties
Build your own wood-fired burgers from a wide selection of protein fillings (beef patty, salmon fillet, chicken breast or garden greens), buns (egg, Focaccia or wheat), cheeses (Monterey Jack, Gorgonzola, Cheddar, Swiss or Provolone), sauces (BBQ, spiked ketchup, Thousand Island or sweet chili), and other toppings (bacon, wood-fired jalapeños, ham, avocado, and sautéed mushrooms).
Elephant Bar’s wood-fired burgers are unusual, even for a bar, but their Global Specialties will really perk up your appetite for more than just the cocktails. Here are four Global Specialties that Elephant Bar takes pride in serving their customers with these mouth-watering food:
- Sautéed Chicken Marsala: chicken breast in rich Marsala wine sauce with mushrooms served with sautéed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes with Parmesan cheese topping.
- Macadamia Nut-Crusted Mahi-Mahi: sautéed fresh Mahi-Mahi hand-breaded and encrusted with macadamia nut served with sautéed vegetables, macadamia nut-tamarind sauce, water chestnuts, macadamia nut beurre blanc, brown or white rice, and fresh salsa.
- Braised Lamb Shanks: tender and juicy lamb shanks from New Zealand with rosemary-garlic-tomato sauce served with sautéed vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes.
The Chinese Wok Specialties
In line with their desire to offer customers pan-Asian cuisine, Elephant Bar has included Wok-Fired Specialties (again, you will have to check their official website to see which locations have these on their menus). Here are just four of these specialties prepared on a wok’s hot surface to sear and caramelize meats and vegetables as well as give the exact temperature in Asian sauce recipes:
- Mongolian Beef: thin slices of sirloin are quickly seared and cooked with hot chili peppers, green onions, Shiitake mushrooms, and a sauce of garlic-ginger-soy sauce served over brown or white rice and fresh vegetables.
- Crispy Chicken Teriyaki: chicken glazed with teriyaki sauce tossed with vegetables and mushroom-garlic-ginger-soy sauce, toasted sesame seeds, and green onions served with brown or white rice.
- Thai BBQ Soba Noodles with Vegetables: fresh vegetables and soba noodles tossed and stir-fried in chili-BBQ sauce.
- Kung Pao Shrimp: stir-fried shrimp, fresh vegetables, water chestnuts, hot chili peppers, and roasted cashew nuts in spicy Kung Pao sauce (chicken can also be substituted for the shrimp).