Wednesday, March 19, 2008

american/burgers: FORKERS

No. 8, Alley 10, Lane 223, Zhong Xiao E Road, Sec 4
(02) 2771-9285

website: English only

hours: Sun- Thurs 12noon to 11pm; Fri- Sat 12noon- 12am


Kid friendliness: no high chairs or boosters, booth seating

Visit reviewed: 3/11/2008

You may or may not have heard of Forkers- the new burger place that opened up a few months ago that features over 40 (yup FORTY) kinds of burgers, along with fries, chicken wraps, spinach/artichoke dip and pie of the day, along with an assortment of other things. I was pretty excited to try it since I always like a good burger and fries and there is a lot to choose from.

The place is lots of wooden seating, some booths, a patio outside. The owner pops around the different tables- on this day, we didn't have to wait as there were about 4 other tables occupied when we were seated on a weekday lunch. I can't imagine if it was fully packed, it might be quite slow as the service was fairly casual. There are separate English and Chinese menus (with some pictures) that you can find on their website as well.

They have the classic burger variations, as well as regional-inspired burgers (Greek, French, Canadian, Mexican, Californian, Alpine, Italian, Australian), Asian burgers, and the "Forkers"- open faced burgers so huge or messy you have to eat them with a fork (all NT$190- NT$290) since they are topped with gravy, chili or spaghetti sauce.

With each burger, you get the choice of two sides such as salad, fries (cajun, curry, garlic, plain), hawaiian pasta or potato salad, or upgrade to chili cheese, tex mex or poutine fries for extra NT$40. You can choose the burger patty as beef, chicken, Kobe beef or vegetarian.

We chose the warm spinach artichoke dip (NT$140) over the hummus (NT$120)- and it was VERY cheesy with a sprinkle of fries, pita bread and celery/carrot sticks. I would have liked to have eaten some chunks of artichoke or spinach, but we didn't find any swimming in the cheese unless it was pureed in. It was still tasty, but we could have used a few more chips to dip.

I was torn between a lot of the different burgers (Mexican, Greek, Californian) and ended up choosing the Alpine Burger, which comes with mushrooms, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing.

the Alpine Burger with garlic fries. are there shiitake mushrooms in Switzerland?

My friends got the Hack Burger (topped with chicken fingers(!), cheese, bacon, honey mustard) and the Mushroom Cheese burger (which comes with cheddar instead of swiss).

the Hack Burger with Hawaiian Pasta Salad

I don't know if I ate too many chips, but the burger was just okay. There were certain things that I personally didn't like- the bun was slightly sweet (and not toasted) which did not mesh with the flavors of the Alpine. I didn't expect shiitake mushrooms which tasted a little weird with the swiss cheese- I would have preferred regular white mushrooms especially since the menu doesn't say "shiitake," it says "sauteed mushrooms". The burger's texture was a bit soft- I don't know how to describe it other than its was more like a meatloaf burger than a grilled burger. My tomato was tiny since I like tomatoes on my burgers. Were my tastebuds being nitpicky that day? I ate about two thirds of the burger.

Both my friends finished their burgers and said their burgers were fine, and I had a bite of the chicken finger which was quite good.

I guess I wanted to be blown away and I should have ordered one of their more unique burgers?

As for the sides, the garlic fries were soft rather than crispy and seemed to be a lot of short ends. The salad was basic. The Hawaiian Pasta has a kick to it, but we weren't crazy about it.

I wanted to try the peach almond pie, but again, it just wasn't to my liking. There is a layer of peaches on top and then some weird paste in the center. I thought it would be more like a peach pie with almond flavor or slivers, but I didn't get what was going on with the pie. The owner says that he usually eats it ala mode and warmed up and we opted it without ice cream- don't know if that makes a difference. Maybe their upside down apple tart would have been more up my alley.

I really wanted to love Forkers and I will probably give it another try, especially to try the chili cheese fries/poutine and other things on the menu. It's in the lane behind California Fitness on Zhong Xiao (near Yan Ji Jie) and there was a popular Chinese dessert place on the corner I want to check out. How would those of you that have eaten at Forkers compare it to other burger places like California Grill, Mary's Hamburgers (which I haven't been) or the Diner, Bongos or even Chili's/TGIF?


Anonymous said...

The burgers at the Diner are better. Also, I thought the customer service at Forkers was lacking, not outwardly friendly.

J Bell said...

Being from Texas, I really like a good burger - plain. Good beef, not to lean but not too fatty, good toasted bun, lettuce, tomato, pickles, & mustard (gotta be French's). We go to any burger place we find out about.
I found Forkers to be a little to Asia-fied. I ordered the Plain Jane so as not to be confused by all the extras. I was not impressed. For my money the best burger I've found is still at TGIFridays.

abstractpoet said...

I've always found the food to be pretty good at Forkers, but the service ranges from adequate to terrible (depending on your server and on whether or not the Chinese manager is there). And I've found the owner to be not particularly helpful or sympathetic when you complain.

Try the Australian Burger, though, which has beets, a fried egg, and bacon. Sounds weird, but really, really tasty.

Otherwise Bongos has better service and better fries, and the burgers are just as good (just without as many options). We haven't been to the Diner for months just because the wait is so ridiculous, and the only edge it has on Bongos is that it has milkshakes.

DK said...

I'm gonna guess that the 'weird paste' in your pie was almond paste (marzipan?).

Unknown said...

Yea, went to Forkers recently with the lure of 40 different burgers. There are alot of different burgers but I wound up with a bacon mushroom cheese burger. Not sure what kind of mushrooms were used but didnt look like the regular white ones most commonly found in the states. They didn't detract from the burger though. The burger was fine for me nothing to amazing. I did have the kobe beef patty which is pretty good.

Got the chilli cheese fries with my burger which was pretty good and also the hawaiian pasta salad. I thought the salad was going to be like the macaroni salad you get at L&L. Salad was decent.

Also ordered a side of the spinich artichoke dip which i usually love pretty much anywhere. The cheese was too solid at the top when we got it so it was hard to dip through the cheese and get some cheese and the stuff under it. The chips we got were pretty stale.

My friend got the salmon wrap appitizer which she said was ok.

Service was... ok but very very slow. Felt like it took forever to get the burgers and the appitizers arrived after the burgers got to our table which was kind of annoying.

Over all seems like a decent place if you are in the area and craving a burger. Might go back to try different burgers for the novelty but beyond that not really digging it.

joanh said...

thanks for the feedback everyone.. i'm glad it wasn't just me.. i thought i was totally off after reading various rave reviews elsewhere.

billy: yes, i think the burgers at the Diner are better too.. though i didn't have a problem w/ the service.

jb: i just had a burger from TGIF recently.. it was pretty good- i liked it better than Chili's.

abstractpoet: i usually go to the Diner on weekdays when it's not so crazed. i haven't been to Bongo's yet though!

dk: maybe? that makes sense.

eric: yup, shiitake mushrooms probably. i felt the dip was thick too.. gotta eat it hot.

Tina Khoe said...

Discovered a new brightly-lit place called "Good Day" just around the Chungxiao East Road area. It's right behind Hagen Daaz, and found it after I was looking for PS Cafe, didn't find it to my liking and saw this gem of a restaurant instead.

Burgers were totally delish (BIG!), had sidings of thickly-cut potatoes and comes with a free dip. A steal IMHO for NT$230 a set. Very American feel (think about the "Grease" years), and ideal for the money. Half-expecting blondes on roller skates to come out and serve the food.

They've been open till November last year, so check it out!

joanh said...

raven: been to Good Day and actually reviewed it a couple posts back already.. i tried the "tacos" but the burgers looked good.

Anonymous said...

You know, I discussed Forkers with a friend who told me about Bongos. She said that Bongos was opened by a foreigner and a local but that partnership may have broken off. Then I saw a picture of a Bongos burger in an old issue of Taipei Walker and I swear it looked exactly like the one I had at Forkers, right down to the grill marks on the (what I believed to be) pre-made, frozen patty and the untoasted muti-grain bun. Coincidence? Plus both places are famous for poutine.

Anonymous said...

Good Day is not bad at all! Even burritos were decent, coming from a Texan (I'm from Dallas, yall!) Really wanted to try their brownies (yall I am DYING for real brownies!!!!!) but they were sold out...

nesiote said...

I was actually really impressed with Forkers. I've been there a few times and for me it was significant in that it seemed like the first place that could possibly top a Diner's burger.

So far the Monster, Tropical and Mexican have really impressed me, and the salads have been substantial and really good. While the service can't beat the Diner's, I haven't had any complaints.

I will agree that the desserts aren't much to write home about - I was equally ambivalent about the pie.

Otherwise I guess I'll just have to go back to the Diner to do a burger comparison :-) Has anyone else been to their new branch yet?

joanh said...

billy: i've yet to find Bongos.. is their mexican food worth checking out?

glitterbugjulie: hmm, brownies? then are you talking about g'day cafe or good day? i don't remember seeing brownies at good day..

nesiote: maybe i should try the mexican next time then.. and the poutine. :)

Anonymous said...

Joan, I actually haven't been to Bongos but just hearing about it from a coworker made it sound very much like Forkers.

I had a burger at Friday's the other day and it was goooood. Frankly, I'd rather go to Friday's because their burgers are great and I don't have to wait like I would at Diner or Forkers.

Anonymous said...

Hey I love your blog. I didn't like Forker's much. Maybe my expectations were too high but it wasn't as good as TGI Fridays. The service and food quality were both below the standards of other chains I've tried around Taipei. I still find the best burger is the one I make in my own kitchen. It's just easier to pay the money and have someone else do it. Forkers doesn't really add anything to the options that existed previously.

Anonymous said...

I've been to Forkers a couple of times. Don't really like their veggie burger. Tried some other places and do not like it either. Then I tried a new burger place across the street. It's called KGB (Kiwi Gourmet Burger) and it is really good. Their non veggie burgers are good too. My friend tried it and says it is better than Evan's and Forkers.
KGB, Shi-Da Rd. lane 114, no. 5. (across the street from welcome) MRT Taipower Building exit 3

Tina said...

I've been to Forkers 3 times. The first time, the burgers were pretty decent but we had rude service. The last two times, all of the burgers we ordered had paper-thin buns as was the one tomato slice. Not very tasty at all. Service was very, very, very slow. Definitely not returning.

Anonymous said...

I have to put in another thumbs up for KGB Burgers in Shida. Awesome food and totally relaxed atmosphere. Love it.

I am vege... recommend The Tower or the Classic Vege, which is a classic american style burger with a vege patty. so good... now if only I could find mexican food...

Anonymous said...

California Grill for me all the way. Best beef burgers and chicken breast burgers in Taiwan.

Slee said...

Went to Forkers for dessert the other night and it was a bit of a bust, though perhaps with a little work they could be better...

Sticky toffee pudding: It was supposed to be served warm but came out cold. We asked for it to be reheated to very hot but it came back still barely warm. It has potential if they truly heat it up, get rid of the pineapple slice and then top it with ice cream and caramel.

Apple tart: The pastry was good, but they really skimped on the apple.

Fried Snickers: One would expect fried Snickers to come out warm and be oozy and melted (to be a great combo with the a la mode). This came out cold and hard and frankly, I would have enjoyed eating a Snickers better on it's on. Recc heating this one up too.

Anonymous said...

the service was horrible!!! guess if the owners don't believe in customer service, would the staff?? Terrible joint, will never return!!

Baby Madison said...

my burger was okie, nothing to brag about... cajun fries weren't yummy and the hawaiian pasta side thing wasn't either.

customer service was HORRIBLE!!! my 1st and last time at forkers!!!!

back to Cali Grill, no shame!

@riceagain said...

Offensive, rude customer service the moment I walked in the door at Forkers. Food was pretty good.

Carmen said...

I went there with a group of friends for my birthday dinner and was quite disappointed. The service is horrible. It took them forever to bring out the burgers and I got mine last (veg) when some of my friends had already finished theirs. When I was about to take the second bite I discovered a (dead) cockroach sticking to the bottom of the lower bun!!! It (the cockroach) looked was still in a pretty good shape so I figured it had probably landed there while they were preparing the burger. I'm fully aware that there are cockroaches in pretty much every kitchen around here, anyway, I don't fancy finding them on my burger. The owner was not in that evening so I complained by one of the waiters. He looked at for quite some time and offered me that I don't have to pay for the burger. I suggested he bring me a new one for free and he agreed. Then he also brought an appetizer (although everyone else had already finished eating) which I couldn't it because I'm veg (hence the VEGGIE-burger) and he brought some chicken stuff. So I told him that this'll be no use for us because the others where not hungry any more and I wouldn't eat it because it was meat. He then brought some chili fries which of course weren't veg either but at last some of my friends ate them. When I got my new burger (took them about 15 min) I checked for cockroaches and then ate about half of it, because I didn't feel like eating anymore. Burger was so-so. Since I couldnt eat the free appetizers I asked for a free dessert, which I got, the Apple Pie, liked it although nothing special.
I hadn't really planned going there again but since my boyfriend insisted I gave them a second chance. We had no reservation on a early monday night, still the place was so crowded we had to sit at the bar. Which forced us to observe the owners rude and arrogant interaction with staff and customers all night long. Cheese Tacos came out cold, Burger was ok-ish. Def not worth the money!
Their broad range of burgers really doesn't justify all the inconveniences so I strongly recommend you NOT to go there.

StefanMuc said...

Looks like Forkers have a different web address now: (without the ".com" in the middle).

Ginny said...

We also went in wanting to love it and we just didn't. It was so-so. We experienced mediocre service too. And, hate to mention this, but the bathroom was absolutely disgusting. Not sure what that says about the kitchen! We felt like you can easily find a much better (and cheaper!) burger in Taipei.

Anonymous said...

the service sucks.

Paul Cowsill said...

We went there Sunday evening, but the manager said they were fully booked though there were several tables available. It's probably because we were with his 4-year-old daughter. Anyway, we were shopping in the area. Afterwards, as we passed by, the same tables were still available.

Wells said...

Went there for lunch today (friday), pretty empty, just my friend and I and then two other tables. The service wasn't as bad as it seems others have had it. The waitress spoke both really good english and chinese which was a plus. The burger however left a lot to be desired. While there were a lot of different toppings, the burger itself felt like it a frozen burger from cost co. The Hawaiian Salad had a nice kick, we got both garlic and cajun fries, both were not as crispy as I would have liked, and the garlic fries were pretty bland. Overall, it satisfied my craving for a burger, but I def won't be coming back anytime soon.