Barbecue and bluegrass are the name of the game at this Lexington restaurant that has reopened on Southland Drive. Michael Symon stopped in to the old Broadway locale before the move to sample the pork burger. He raved about the “porky, fatty juiciness” of the patty, which comes topped with smoked cheddar cheese, homemade barbecue sauce and an extra-crunchy fried green tomato.
This brewery pairs craft beers with classic Cleveland dishes. Indulge in deliciously charred bratwursts steamed in Great Lakes’ own lager. They’re paired with pierogi, whose creamy insides and crunchy outsides make for little pillows of lusciousness. Sweet-and-sour red cabbage completes the dish.
This spot elevates the classic burger with creative riffs that deliver big on decadence. Follow Michael Symon’s lead and try the Market Burger (it’s topped with tender short ribs and a buttery bearnaise sauce). Then indulge in the Sweet Burger, made with a super-fudgy brownie, funnel fries and more.
There are dining options aplenty in Brooklyn, but it’s this British-style spot that Michael Symon heads to when he wants a creative take on pub food from across the pond. “What sets Black Swan apart is the unbelievable comfort food,” Michael explained. He’s a fan of the Maine Lobster “PLT,” an amped-up version of the BLT that comes stacked with succulent lobster meat, crisp pork belly and a fried egg.
Burgers are the name of the game at this restaurant, which features innovative between-the-bun creations. A standout is the Ghostface Burger: A brisket-short rib patty comes smothered with smoked Gouda cheese, topped with sweet potato-bacon tots and finished with ghost chile jam for a fiery kick.
The Heavy Seas Brewery is the largest producer of cask beer in the United States, as Michael Symon found out on a visit to the company’s Baltimore alehouse. He had the honor of driving the tap into a cask of Heavy Seas 20th Anniversary Beer, an unfiltered ESB brew that’s bourbon-barrel-aged. Michael paired the drink with a beer-infused eclair. “Wow, I love this,” Michael said of the “beer-clair,” which features an ale-laced custard and a stout-spiked chocolate sauce.
At this artsy beer bar, the brews are paired with some of the freshest burgers around (the grass-fed meat is sourced from the owner’s nearby ranch). A highlight is the Hawaii Consolidated: Its cheese-smothered patty is finished with Canadian bacon, housemade teriyaki sauce and sweet pineapple jam.
This quaint shop is housed in a former fishing shanty in the historic village of Fishtown. In addition to its stellar cheese selection (60-plus varieties), this cozy spot is brimming with local specialty items (cherry products and more). It’s also a great place to pop into for sandwiches bursting with fresh ingredients. Opt for the pretzel bread and your sandwich will be built on a fluffy roll that actually does taste like a pretzel, as Michael Symon found out when he stopped by with Mario Batali.
The name of this barbecue spot is not only a nod to the local farmers of Michigan’s past, but also a tip of the hat to those of the present who provide the fresh produce, fruit and cheeses that get top billing alongside the burgers and ‘cue served here. For a standout meal, pair a hickory-smoked chicken with a Diabolical Ale from the North Peak Brewing Company, then follow it up with a hefty wedge of cherry cobbler bursting with bright fruit flavors.
Chef-Owner Johnny Shipley amps up the flavors of smoked meats at his Lexington, Ky., barbecue spot. Locals flock here for innovative dishes like the Smoked Fried Flank Steak Sandwich. Michael Symon raved about the “crunchy, smoky beef” that comes topped with a mound of kale greens and is served on a fluffy biscuit. A rich, smoky gravy made from sausage, roux and heavy cream completes the creation.
Calling them "porkapalooza," pork-obsessed Iron Chef Michael Symon loves the pork rinds at The Publican, aka its version of spicy Cheetos. But diners know them better as a great appetizer before feasting on the equally enticing porky entree, Edwards Country Ham.
Pitmaster Evan Leroy uses the smoker at Freedmen’s for just about anything, so ’cue lover Michael Symon just had to get a taste of creative dishes like the Barbecue Benedict. A buttermilk biscuit is piled high with tender, post oak-smoked brisket, fluffy poached eggs and a rich hollandaise sauce made from lemon juice, egg yolks, butter and smoked tomatoes (yes, even the tomatoes take a turn in the smoker here).
This spacious spot can fill up fast, particularly on the weekend, so snagging a table often means arriving on the early side. Patrons without a seat can mingle by the rustic-chic bar that stretches along one wall. Head here to order wine, cocktails and beer, including suds from local brewers like Long Island-based Montauk Brewing Co.
Thick, juicy patties and classic toppings add up to mouthwatering burgers at this old-school joint. The Bistro Burger stars a half-pound patty made from freshly ground sirloin and chuck. This beauty is topped with super-melty American cheese and maple-smoked bacon, then nestled in a sesame seed bun.
This cozy taproom offers a small selection of craft beers created at its nearby brewery in Grand Rapids. Michael Symon and Mario Batali tried all nine options on tap, including the Mitten Milk Stout. This brew contains nitrogen, which gives it smaller bubbles than those in a standard beer. The resulting stout is “thick, like a milkshake,” Michael explained. “It’s delicious!”