Caramel Sea Salt Shake @ Filling Station in New Canaan

Jeff "jfood" Schlesinger

CTBites is pleased to present this month’s sneak peak preview of Filling Station’s April 2011 Special Bacon Blue Cheese Burger and its Special Caramel Sea Salt Shake. Although April 1 is normally associated with jokes and pranks on friends and family, the April monthly special burger and shake is neither as it combines some favorite all time flavors.

This month’s Special Burger includes the Filling Station's farm raised 75/25 beef with toppings of thick cut bacon, crumbled blue cheese, crunchy deep fried onions, lettuce, tomato and Worcester sauce infused mayonnaise.

When I visited Filling Station Co. today, the staff was busy experimenting with the timing of their new non-pressed burger technique for the recently announced Stamford location and I asked if I could try the April burger cooked with this new method.  I performed my ritual of cutting the burger in half and saw that the new method produced a perfectly prepared medium rare. My first bite was delicious. The bacon was fantastic and the tomatoes, even for this time or year, had great vine-ripened flavor. The Worcester mayo was a pleasant, not overwhelming addition, and the lettuce added a nice crunchiness. The onions were not as noticeable or plentiful as I anticipated and more would have been better. I enjoyed each bite of the burger. This is probably my favorite of the Special Burgers since they were introduced last November.

Combining salt and caramel was all the rage in the 90’s when the uber-pastry chef and chocolatier Pierre Hermé introduced this combination in his renowned macaron with the salt bringing a heightened enjoyment to the condensed sugary essence of caramel. Filling Station starts by placing its caramel syrup into the vanilla shake base and then adds some of the Maldon Sea Salt halfway through the mixing process. Using the Maldon variety, which is a flakier version than normal salt crystals, allows for some of the salt to dissolve while a small amount remains as flakes to add a slight crunchiness to the shake. The first spoonful brought that sugary goodness of the caramel to the forefront and the second spoonful included some of the salt. It was a very tasty combination. After a few spoonfuls I was very impressed with this month’s shake and would place it on par with the chocolate mint shake from last December.

Filling Station’s April Burger and Shake Special is one of the best combinations so far. Stay tuned for next month’s sneak peak of the Filling Station Burger of the Month which will be another twist on an old-time favorite.