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At Sea Level Restaurant In Fort Lauderdale, Burgers Just Got Even Better

June 18, 2015 — When the James Beard Foundation summoned chefs across the country to create a “better burger” using at least 25 percent mushrooms in the patty, Sea Level Restaurant & Ocean Bar’s Jason Connelly stepped up to the challenge.

The result? A mushroom goat cheese burger.

To come up with the recipe, executive chef Connelly said he simply thought of everything he’d want on a burger. The patty is topped with smoked bacon, thyme aioli, a fried egg and arugula that was grown in Sea Level’s herb garden.

“I think that burgers can be forgotten,” Connelly said. “But in all actuality, there are so many crazy off-the-wall things you can do with a burger."

The clever menu concept is one that restaurants nationwide—including 16 around Florida—have introduced as part of the James Beard Foundation’s Better Burger Project.

These burgers are not only healthier (fewer calories, less fat and sodium, and more nutrients) but also better for the environment, since they’re incorporating a more sustainable, plant-based ingredient to replace some of the beef.

Connelly’s beef patty is roughly 25 percent mushroom-based, and he used a blend of crimini and button mushrooms. Patrons can try it at Sea Level through the end of July.

“What’s so great about the Better Burger Project is that you can create a delicious new burger that is much healthier because of the mushroom element while also being original,“ Connelly said.

Sea Level Restaurant & Ocean Bar has also introduced a few new summer chalkboard specials that highlight seasonal flavors and ingredients. This month, the restaurant is offering day boat scallops— locally sourced accompaniments include heirloom cherry tomatoes from Michael Borek Farms, plus French green beans and corn from Paradise Farms—as well as market fish served with jumbo lump crab, warm quinoa salad, carrot puree and garden arugula.

In July, Sea Level will feature its house-made pasta with bay scallops and bacon, along with a New York strip steak with Paradise Farms yellow wax beans and edamame butter.

Sea Level Restaurant & Ocean Bar at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort; 3030 Holiday Drive, Fort Lauderdale