Although I seem to be the only person in the world without a coupon to the new Boardwalk Fresh Burgers & Fries at Metro Pointe, I tried it last night anyway, as I was in the area.
As many people know, Boardwalk got off to a slightly shaky start by sending out coupons that mentioned a June 20 grand opening date... and then didn't open on that day. It actually opened on the 24th, this past Wednesday. It turns out the eaterie was desperately trying to make it happen but the food hygiene inspector had such a backlog she couldn't schedule a visit in time. Maybe Boardwalk could've planned better, but seeing as they've agreed to honor the expired coupons, we're willing to forgive them.
An East Coast import, Boardwalk is another one of those "concept" fast-food joints, which basically means you can build you own burger by adding sauces and toppings, which are free (except for bacon, chili or cheese, each 60¢ extra).
It's hard to place it, though: it's as if it's trying to be more upmarket than a regular burger joint. But in reality it's all very casual and low-key, with inexpensive wooden tables and chairs and a TV overhead. Last night was pretty quiet when I stopped by, but the lady I just spoke to there said they've been busy since opening.
The menu covers all the bases--as well as burgers, there are wraps, salads, dogs and chicken sandwiches or tenders. For dessert, there's the frightening-sounding "funnel cake fries".
Service is very friendly, if a tad slow--to be expected to a degree in a place that cooks everything to order, especially one that's only been open a couple of days.
The burgers aren't bad. I chose a "LittleBurger" but was actually given two patties instead of one. The patties were quite large but thin, flimsy in consistency; combined with the mustard, ketchup, pickles and lettuce, they made a tasty mouthful. The wholemeal roll was boring, but that may well be because the signature buns aren't coming till tomorrow.
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The fries, served in a cup, are long, hot and crispy, though possibly too salty for some people.
There's also an interesting choice of beverages: fountain drinks such as Strawberry Fanta, beers and ales including Downtown Brown, Great White, Cucapá, Chimay and Hefeweizen, and even mini bottles of wine (!)
Overall then, worth another try, if I can manage to get over the 'is it a restaurant or is it a fast-food joint' issue. Maybe it doesn't really matter. The point is: it sure beats the majority of the other (admittedly dire) food and drink options in the area. And, in any case, I'm going back for the beers alone.
Boardwalk Fresh Burger & Fries, 901 South Coast Drive, Suite 170C, Costa Mesa, (714) 557-5501. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.