Middle of the Road

By Matt Tapia

Posted May 19, 2011 in Eats

Where’s the beef? Well . . . it’s here at Bravo Burgers . . .  but that’s it. That’s all you get. Just the beef. No sizzle. No flash. No pizzazz. No “x factor” to the food or dining experience that’ll prompt a repeat visit.

The food at this Moreno Valley eatery is just, well . . . OK. We tried their burritos, we sampled the hamburgers—heck, we even tried their chicken nuggets just to make sure we had a cross-section of the menu’s offerings.

Sorry, your taste buds will not be blown away. Foodies, prepare to leave disappointed. It’s mid-grade all the way here.

And that’s a shame because I so badly wanted to love Bravo Burgers. I had driven past it a million times as I drove to and from the Costco and WinCo on Day Street. You can’t miss it as Bravo is a stone’s throw from the southbound 215’s Eastridge exit. So it’s freeway friendly . . . if not foodie friendly.

But my mother always taught me that you can always say something nice about everyone and everything (actually she didn’t, but it sounds cool to say this).

So here goes:

This is definitely one of those don’t-judge-a-book-by-its-cover type of places. In other words, Bravo Burgers’ wardrobe doesn’t match its body. From the outside, this restaurant looks like a semi-divey diner, sort of a knock-off Farmer Boys or one of those places that serves chicken fried steak by the pound on the weekends (Flo’s over on Van Buren Boulevard in Riverside is a good example). Or maybe a Bakers clone or something like that.

But walk inside, and Bravo Burgers is bright and inviting. The dining room is shiny and clean. Counters and tabletops wiped clear of debris and pancake syrup dribbles. Tasteful décor, everything is just trim and tidy. There’s nothing greasy about this spoon. Time to chow down.

For the morbidly curious, Bravo is one of those breakfast-lunch-dinner places that offers (a la Bakers) both Mexican and “American” (whatever that means) food. Tuna melt or taco? Quesadillas or chicken strips? They’ve got both bases covered here.

Oh, I just thought of something positive to say: the salsa bar here is pretty nice. From red and green salsas to diced jalapeño peppers and pepperocini, all manner and forms of spice await you. Nice touch.

My wife ordered the carne asada burrito. The good news: It was a big burrito. Portion control—forget about it. But it wasn’t great and it came packed with too many onions. Adding insult to injury, we had ordered it “wet,” but it came back free of the requisite sauce. Boo.

Strike one.

My turn at bat. I have a weakness for ordering burgers from greasy spoons (some might call it a death wish)—I consider them the benchmark by which the entire menu can be judged by. So, I ordered Bravo’s “house” burger. Again, nothing spectacular . . . but nothing craptacular either. First, I was kind of miffed that the burger came quite a bit on the flattened side of things. And it didn’t help that it was merely an average grilled and seasoned beef patty that was made even more average after it was teamed up with the (yawn) usual suspects (lettuce, tomatoes, Thousand Island dressing, etc.).

Sort of a shame.

In conclusion, Bravo Burgers is neither the yin or the yang. It’s not a 1 . .  but it’s not a 10. You won’t die of starvation here, if that’s any solace.

And perhaps the greatest tragedy was what Bravo Burgers states on its own website: Our mission is to provide every customer who walks through our doors a fabulous meal, in a clean environment and with outstanding customer service.

Two out of three ain’t bad.

Bravo Burgers, 21635 Eucalyptus Ave., Moreno Valley, (951) 656-3636; bravo-burgers.com. AE, D, MC, V.


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