Farm-to-Fork Insanity

Crazy Burger’s Matt Reagan talks about their craziest plan yet – an off-season gourmet bistro menu


Farm-to-fork food in a dressed-down diner sound crazy to you? Who else to do it then but Narragansett’s famed Crazy Burger. Entrée dinner service is back Thursday through Mondays and Matt Reagan is back in the kitchen, with a small bistro menu as an accompaniment to all of Crazy Burger’s normal offerings. I talked to Matt about mushroom demi-glace in the land of the moo-moo melt.

How did you end up doing a bistro menu at Crazy Burger?
I’ve been working with Mike Maxon for the better half of ten years now. I had been working for him at Bed and Bistro, but the costs were just too much. It was an expensive location, but we were only open for dinner from 5pm to 9pm. We couldn’t really go later because we would have guests upstairs. It was kind of a funky situation. The thinking was, Crazy Burger is successful on its own, let’s refocus the energy back over here. So that was the point with this menu; to bring the farm-to-fork bistro to Crazy Burger, so the people that missed what we were doing over there can come here again.

What was your approach when making the bistro menu?
The focus is to do as many local, sustainable items as we can. There are 30 different burgers on the menu, so we keep the bistro menu much smaller: seven entrees and two appetizers. We try and get as much locally as we can. I’m the only person working the bistro menu. I’ll go to Galilee to pick up the fish, and I get a lot of stuff from Casey Farm.

This menu is alongside the regular menu. How do your regulars match to the menu?
I’d say the bistro menu is more geared for an older crowd, or people really into food. It’s mostly couples as opposed to getting a burger with your family. It’s almost like a date night kind of thing, you know, you plan to have meals like this at Crazy Burger, as opposed to just going to get something we normally offer.

What’s a local product you feature, and how do you showcase it?
We get maitakes for a chicken and wild mushroom risotto from Rhode Island Mushroom Company. They’re gorgeous, and I really don’t do much to them. I just break them up and throw them into the risotto and let that process cook them down. There’s no sautéing beforehand or anything like that. And then I’ll take a nice chunk of the mushroom and just slightly blanch it when I’m putting the dish out. The maitake is almost like a flower opening, so it has that visual appeal. It’s a dish that would be quite dark and rustic looking with the mushroom demi-glace, so I make a carrot-cayenne coulis to brighten up the bottom of the plate and then we use swiss chard as a vegetable to get that rainbow of color under the chicken. It’s pretty.

Crazy Burger
144 Boon Street, Narragansett • 733-1810