The folks behind La Grande Orange return to the winner's circle with gourmet burgers and classy digs.
When Ingo's Tasty Food opened in November, I asked myself: Does Phoenix really need another haute-burger-inspired eatery? After sinking my teeth into a juicy Ingo's cheeseburger, I had my answer: Why the heck not?
Located on the corner of 40th Street and Campbell Avenue, Ingo's is the latest offspring of LGO Hospitality – parent company of La Grande Orange and Chelsea's Kitchen. Named after an LGO partner's childhood music teacher, Ingo's holds fast to a low-fuss concept: nine food items, a seven-bottle wine list, a couple of craft beers and numerous non-alcoholic beverages, including house-made lemonade.
Housed in a space-age circular structure designed by local architect Will Bruder, Ingo's sports an 18-seat counter inside and a dog-friendly patio outside that wraps around the front of the metal and brick building. Outside seating requires ordering from a walk-up window, taking a number and waiting for the food to be delivered to the table.
The cheeseburger ($7.50), made with Strauss Family grass-fed beef covered with aged cheddar, shredded lettuce, a thick slice of tomato, dill pickle and mayonnaise, was appropriately greasy and oozed out of the griddled poppy seed bun. After inspecting the layers, I discovered an unexpected slather of sweet pickle relish that wasn't revealed on the menu – an unwelcome taste for a person firmly rooted in the dill pickle camp.
For a different burger experience, try the Ingo burger ($7.75), a tender beef patty crowned with fol epi (a French Swiss-like cheese), tangy house-made sauerkraut and Dijon sauce. Sauerkraut, more apt to smother a hot dog than a burger, is a surprisingly good complement to a hunk of ground beef. All burgers are cooked "pink medium."
Not in the mood for a burger? The crispy chicken sandwich ($7.50) stands out, an organic chicken schnitzel crowned with spicy aioli and fried to a perfect crunch, but pleasantly moist on the inside. It pairs well with thinly sliced Granny Smith apples and dill pickles.
French fry lovers will covet the fresh shattered potato chips ($3.75) – thinly sliced fried potatoes served with lebni, a thick Mediterranean yogurt, laced with herbs and lemon. Unless you're dining alone, you should probably snag two helpings, because you won't want to share.
The No. 1 tuna burger ($7.50), which promised sushi-grade tuna and bulgur wheat with spicy aioli, was a disappointment. Expecting a thick slab of tuna, I balked at the chopped, lukewarm and very fishy smelling "burger." The server gladly exchanged it for another item.
After opening in December, Ingo's scrapped its vegetarian burger and added an heirloom brown rice bowl ($6.75) packed with black beans, feta, pistachios and greens and finished with a soft-boiled egg and hot chili sauce. Another meat-free choice is the kale and quinoa salad ($6.25) dressed in light lemon vinaigrette.
After siring a champion in La Grande Orange, the LGO stable of restaurants has been curiously slow to expand in the Valley, trotting along while the Fox Restaurant Concepts and Upward Projects of the world run lap after lap. With Ingo's and its mostly-delicious menu, LGO looks ready to race again.
Ingo's Tasty Food
Contact: 4502 N. 40th St., Phoenix, 602-795-2884, ingostastyfood.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday
Highlights: Ingo burger ($7.75); chicken sandwich ($7.50); potato chips ($3.75); brown rice bowl ($6.75)
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