Lunchbox Laboratory (Ballard)

20Jan09

lunchbox-lab We were compelled to visit the Lunchbox Laboratory this week to investigate a dining spot that promotes an intriguing manifesto welcoming the “fat and hungry.” Rumors were that this place stretches far beyond a typical burger joint, and offers unique and generous portions of burger dreamery. To find The Lab, be sure to wear your glasses and pay attention as you drive up north on 15th, and you’ll be lucky find this miniature building located on the east side of the street next to a cheeky nail salon. And let us warn you now… what they lack in parking (both for your car and your ass) they make up for in funky memorabilia and tasty food. If your Xanax isn’t properly suppressing your crowd anxieties, your best bet would be to lunch here on a rain-free day so you can opt for an outside table (as there are only 2 for sharing inside).

Once past the front door, you’ll be welcomed by chalkboard menus towering some 7 feet in the air. Don’t be overwhelmed. Rookies should select from the frequently-changing pre-constructed burger options, as we did. Advanced users can actually create their own burger from many, many options – not just patties, sauces and cheeses, but you’ll need to choose from a list of salts for your tot or fry side. For dessert, there’s even a list of more than ten homespun milkshakes served in beakers. If you’re feeling especially ingenious, email the owners with your hamburger invention and, if selected for the menu, you’ll win a couple big boys of your own. Our lunch ticket included:

DORK 101: A mixture of duck and pork create a delicate and flavourful patty which was reminiscent of a pot sticker. It was then topped with a creamy garlic dijon sauce, caramelized onions and melted gruyère.

SIDES: Crunchy sweet potato fries with bacon and garlic salt that were tangy, sweet and salty. We also paid for an extra side, enticed by the “macaroni and cheese du jour.” The chef had posted today’s selection as gorgonzola basil pesto. A quaint portion, our mac consisted of penne noodles swimming in a warm and creamy cheese concoction oozing with nodes of expensive blue cheese and fresh pesto, just as advertised.

The LL is a little pricey, but after perusing the menu, you’ll find they boast ingredients like black and white truffles, exotic cheese selections and meat and vegan patties of all kinds (lamb, venison, duck). So it’s clear these guys don’t skimp on components, and we found that evident in our bill.

So if you can get past the parking, seating and price hurdles we expect you’ll come to adore the Lunchbox Lab as we did. And be sure to cross your fingers for the Fatty Chow burger to hit their menu board soon.

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