The trend in new burger joints around town continues unabated. One of the latest—and, in our opinion, the best—to recently open its doors is The Dam. Located adjacent to the Amsterdam Tavern on Morganford Road, The Dam serves up plenty of quality burgers, and then some.
The space is minimal, both in size and decor, and evokes the classic lunch counter of old, complete with jars of pickles near the register. Seating consists of a shallow counter top running along the perimeter of the room, with 18 or so mismatched bar stools to choose from. Guests who want a bit more elbow room can also order from The Amsterdam Tavern side and get their food delivered via a pass-through window. Take-out also is an option, and delivery is available through Grub Go.
The Dam bills itself as 'slow food fast,' and places an emphasis on local ingredients and hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. The burgers are the main attraction, and are grouped into two categories: Dam Burgers and Specialty Burgers. The Dam Burgers are basically build-your-own burgers, with available options like extra meat and a multitude of cheeses and add-ons to choose from; while the Specialty Burgers are stand-alone creations from the kitchen. We almost went with The Animal, a triple-patty behemoth that's a holdover from the menu of Big V's Burger Joint in the Delmar Loop, which was co-owned by The Dam's owner Michele Coen-Racanelli. But we were faint of heart, and instead opted for the more manageable Eye Opener ($7), a single patty topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, chili and a fried egg, all sandwiched between two lightly toasted buns. The chili was on the dry side, making for a little less of a mess than we usually make with our chili burgers.
The menu at The Dam isn't just populated with burgers, though. There's also a wide variety of other sandwiches available, as well as a bunch of apps and a tasty selection of Dam Dogs, which caught our attention. We tried The Louie ($5), a bacon-wrapped, deep-fried kosher dog slathered in cheese and topped with copious amounts of tomatoes, onions and jalapenos. Truly delicious and decadent, and not something you want to indulge in if you don't have the option of taking a nap later. This dog was so loaded down, in fact, that we ended up having to resort to a knife and fork to subdue it.
No matter what you end up ordering, a side of one of the varieties of the Belgian-style fries is a must. The Belgian Dip ($3) version came with a choice of 10 different house-made dipping sauces and were truly a cut above most fries--crispy, with just enough oil for taste without bogging them down.
For quality food and the feel of a real neighborhood joint, look no further than The Dam.
--The Dam, 3173 Morganford Road, 771-3173, thedamstl.com