The Duck Burger at Pat’s Tap

Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table

Pat’s Tap, the latest of Kim and Kari Bartmann’s creations, opened in September on Nicollet and 35th St, a stretch of South Minneapolis that has been tragically barren of proper watering holes for some time. Along with a pool table, skee-ball, and some bizarre poodle-themed wallpaper, Pat’s comes with a fully stocked menu — including its very own duck burger ($14).

The burger is fatty and well seasoned, garnished simply by a pile of cool bean sprouts, cilantro, and a swipe of wasabi mayo (more, please!). On the toasted sesame bun, the flavor combination is light and fresh and allows the flavor of the meat to take center stage.

Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table

The patty itself has the texture and peppery bite of sausage. The meat is ground with a bit of duck skin and fat so that the burger self-bastes as it cooks. Even so, the burger’s well-done default doesn’t quite alert you to the fact that it’s fowl, making it a good bite for duck newbies but perhaps not the best exhibition of its unique flavor.

The sandwich’s supporting cast is fantastic: good French fries or golden, velum-like homemade potato chips that shatter delicately when bitten. They are salty and damn near as addictive as the homemade Cheez-Its that arrive before your meal in a little white cup. While the level of crunch may vary from cracker to cracker, they are thick and buttery, the kind of snack that has the potential to reach the cult status of those wicked cheddar biscuits over at, um, Red Lobster.

With its hefty price tag, Pat’s duck burger might not be what patrons go clamoring for as they order a third can of Buffalo Sweat and stare too long at a coquettish poodle strolling the walls, but it emphasizes the Bartmanns’ eye for quality details, down to the pinstriped cloth napkins and custom cocktail menu. See, you can play your skee-ball and eat well too.

Natalie Champa Jennings / Heavy Table

Pat’s Tap
Gastro pub in South Minneapolis
3510 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55408
612.822.8216
HOURS: 11am-2am
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No / No
BAR: Full
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / Yes, limited
PRICE RANGE: Small plates $4-$12, entrees $9-$18

By Emily Schnobrich

Emily comes from a family notorious for dunking whole pieces of cake into cold glasses of milk. It’s no surprise she inherited their angry sweet tooth and a devotion to pudding. Between a string of restaurant industry gigs, she has tutored writing, biked across Quebec, studied cheese, and baked cakes professionally. A perennial Minnesotan, Emily is at home in South Minneapolis where parking is prolific and the livin' is easy.

6 replies on “The Duck Burger at Pat’s Tap”

The homemade Cheez-Its could use a little work. I enjoy everything about Pat’s Tap but I am always underwhelmed when they bring out the Cheez-its. If they were thinner, perhaps a little saltier and a little more cheesy I think they could achieve cult status. A new take on the table starter is always welcome.

No duck burgers today, sadly, but the bacon burger (1/2 bacon and 1/2 beef, ground together) with fried onions and a nice bun is quite delicious. And the skee-ball is free!

This was the first time I’ve been to Pat’s Tap and also the first for a duck burger. Knowing the fat content of duck, I was hoping for a tasty treat. When I wasn’t asked how I would like this burger done; I just thought to myself ‘huh?’. Well, the flat bread was awesome, so… Was very excited when it came. Not so excited when I received it and could have rang the bottom bun out on my pin-striped towel. Luckily for my server, I was in the best of company and could have been robbed while being there and I wouldn’t have complained. Underseasoned, soggy, and overdone are the three best words for this burger. Sad. I just really really have a hard time going back to a place where being underwhelmed is the definition of the most expensive (or nearly) burger on the menu.

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