Like the other recent additions to the neighborhood, Flipside emphasizes its premium ingredients. Their menu promises that they use "100% all-natural certified Angus beef that is ground fresh daily. And is never frozen. Our beef is brought up with strict husbandry principles and never treated w/ hormones or antibiotics." They also offer vegetarian options with veggie burgers and salads.
At first glance, the large menu stocks the usual standards although there are a few unusual combinations like the "Hangover" (fried egg, yellow American cheese, applewood smoked bacon, French fries and Tabasco mayo, $10.50) and the "Islander" (grilled pineapple, Swiss cheese, grilled onions and teriyaki glaze, $9.50).
My husband and I went for the first two listed on the menu: the "Classic" (lettuce, tomato, red onion, lettuce and their housemade 'Flip' sauce -- their version of Thousand Island sauce) and "California Sensation" (avocado, Swiss cheese, sprouts and 'Flip' sauce, $9.50). All the burgers include fries or salad, and I upgraded my order to "frings" which is half fries, half onion rings. They've also got sweet potato, garlic and curly fries if you want something else besides the regular fried spuds. And you can also get your burgers on Texas Toast or a 9-grain bun.
There's a sign on the counter that says that as each 1/2 lb. burger is made to order, wait times can vary between 12-25 minutes depending on how busy they are. We settled in at our table, although we wished they toned down the music and widescreen TV a notch, which we found distracting since they were both blaring loudly at the same time.
Despite the promising provenance of the ingredients, when we took our first bites of our burgers, we found that they had been grilled well beyond medium. Needless to say, the "California Sensation" was less than sensational. The meat was on the dry side and even with the buttery "signature classic" buns slathered with Flip sauce, the burgers were below average. Their burgers are quite large as well, almost big enough for two -- and when they're overcooked, the portions are rather overwhelming. The thin-cut fries and onion rings were perfectly crisp, not too greasy and tasty, although the side salad of romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumber and tomato was undressed and elicited a ho-hum reaction from my husband.
So while we were disappointed with our first visit, Flipside's only had their doors open for several weeks. There's plenty of room for improvement, and of course there's many items we haven't tried yet like their "fountain-style" shakes and malts. In any event, the Flipside is the latest player in the busy burger battle that's unfolding in Oakland, and they're worth watching to see how they evolve over time.