“Do you have your Rush Rewards card?” asked the cashier at Flipt, a burger joint in the cacophonous Rivers Casino. A loyalty card? I was clueless.
Which was OK with me. I’m too much of a cheapskate to gamble. But the casino is fascinating, with its beckoning blinking slots, smooth-dealing croupiers and gyrating roulette wheels. It’s hungry work, apparently, because there are plenty of places to spend your winnings on a meal.
The dining area for Flipt is bright, with big windows. “I like the natural light,” Lisa observed. Flipt, which occupies a niche beside various other casual food purveyors, is new and clean-looking.
Flipt has burgers and shakes, and lots of tasty fried stuff. It’s not as cheap as drive-through fast food, but you can still afford to eat there after a losing day. A 5-ounce burger with lettuce, tomato and onion on a brioche bun and a pickle will set you back $7. Add cheese for 50 cents. There are combo meals, such as a burger with fries and a soft drink starting at $11, that will save you a buck or two. There are wings (6 for $10), chicken tenders and little hot dogs. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry shakes ($4) are awesome.
Flipt is open for breakfast from 6 a.m. You can get three eggs with ham, bacon or sausage and breakfast potatoes and toast for $10. Upscale egg on a roll is $4. Lunch starts at 11 a.m.
Order at the register and they give you a number card to display on your table. We walked along a long counter and peered into the open kitchen, where we saw two cooks manning the lunch shift on our way to get a table.
Our strawberry ($4) milkshake didn’t come out looking anything like the pristine one on the menu board, but it was delicious. Lisa watched a staff member dispense our vanilla shake from a commercial machine, add red syrup and whir it up without much enthusiasm. I could see tiny strawberry seeds in the streaks of syrup on the inside of the plastic cup, which actually made it seem more authentic. It had a dome of whipped cream, and the shake was smooth and creamy, not icy like the ones at a fast-food place. Very delicious, we agreed.
The burgers are good-looking and they didn’t disappoint, served on toasted golden brioche buns that look better than they taste. I had the Frenchy ($8), with caramelized onions, caramelized onion spread and creamy onion cheese. Fried onion straws added some crunch.
Flipt made its point: Onions, especially when caramelized, are tasty. They didn’t overwhelm the burger, happily, but it was still a lot of onion for me. Anyway, a perfectly cooked burger, juicy and good.
You can substitute chicken or, like Lisa, a black bean burger for a beef patty. That turned the Magic Mushroom Burger ($8) into something arguably healthy, with arugula, sliced ripe tomato, sautéed mushroom, Swiss cheese and truffle rosemary aioli. Very good, she said.
I hadn’t tried mine — I was busy devouring the fried onion rings ($3). They have a thick bread-crumb coating and are better than most, Lisa said. I agreed.
The main event, the one we couldn’t keep our eyes off, was the overflowing paper boat of Jackpot Fries. “I’d just get those next time and skip the burger,” was Lisa’s observation. Because with these, you really don’t need anything else.
There’s a lot going on: big fat, browned waffle fries cooked until really crisp, loaded with actual beef chili with beans, cheese sauce, fresh jalapeño slices and sour cream topped with green onion. Formidable, colorful and something best eaten in moderation. But, yum.
The tab for lunch came to $35.64 including a $3 bottle of water. As a Rush Rewards card holder, you can save 5 to 15 percent in the casino restaurants, depending on how high you roll.
Mohawk Harbor looks terrific, with beautiful views, and a walk along the water in nice weather is itself worth a visit. And if you get hungry and are thinking of a burger, or fat onion rings, or want to hit the jackpot with some fries, well, try Flipt. It’s a good bet.
Flipt at Rivers Casino & Resort
WHERE: 1 Rush St., Schenectady; 518-579-8800 is the main number for the casino (Flipt has no extension); riverscasinoandresort.com/dining/flipt
WHEN: 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
HOW MUCH: $35.64
MORE INFO: ADA compliant. Credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover.