View Full Version : New York City Burgers

January 15th, 2003, 12:22 AM

The Burger Takes Center Stage

I have eaten hamburgers every day for the last two months. I have traveled the five boroughs of New York City to do so. And in the city's lowliest corner diners and loftiest expense account restaurants, I have found satisfaction. New York, my research has documented again and again, is a hamburger heaven.

All are represented here: the bar burgers, diner burgers, white-tablecloth loaves and fast-food pucks, flame-broiled, pan-seared and roasted. All in some way are deserving of praise. For every New Yorker, my relentless eating suggested, there is a hamburger.

With the opening a few months ago of Blue 9 Burger in the East Village, this discovery reached a kind of apotheosis. Truly every burger style is now represented in New York, as Blue 9 serves what might be the city's first California-style hamburger. It is reminiscent of the ethereal hamburgers served by the West Coast's In-N-Out Burger chain: a thinnish patty of meat on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and Thousand Island dressing.

The restaurant already faces competition, however. Tucked away in a corner of the Parker Meridien Hotel's grand lobby is the newly opened Burger Joint, which dispenses a thicker, though smaller in diameter, four-ounce burger on a paper plate.

Burgers go way back in New York. Introduced to the city by German immigrants as steak served in the Hamburg style, they were on the menu at Delmonico's as early as 1833. At 10 cents a plate, or a shade more than $2 in 2002 dollars, a burger was about the best deal in the restaurant.

This long history explains a bit of why many upscale restaurants still serve burgers, at least at lunch. A tremulous economy is part of it, too. Danny Meyer, an owner of the Union Square Cafe, said he currently serves more than 40 burgers a day.

"Especially in these uncertain times," Mr. Meyer said, "a juicy, two-fisted hamburger provides comfort and certainty."

The burger at Union Square Cafe costs $12.50 and comes with French fries; it isn't even close to the city's most expensive. For many years that title was held by the "21" Club, with its $26 burger made with houseground top round and sirloin, which Eric Blauberg, the chef, has recently rejiggered to include duck fat and fresh thyme and marjoram.

It's a flavorful burger. But really, what kind of a burger joint requires a gentleman to wear a jacket and suggests a tie?

Then Daniel Boulud stepped forward with a $29 hamburger at his DB Bistro Moderne on West 44th Street, although some burger purists insist that with its interior stuffing of black truffles, foie gras and braised short ribs it is a hamburger in name only.

"It's delicious,'` said Alan Richman, the food columnist of GQ, "but it certainly doesn't resemble any of the lousy burgers I grew up with in the Philadelphia suburbs."

That's not surprising. It is hard to imagine a burger in Mr. Richman's neighborhood served, as Mr. Boulud's is, on a housemade bun with toasted Parmigiano Reggiano, tomato confit, chicory and fresh horseradish and a side order of habit-forming fries.

More recognizable to Mr. Richman, perhaps, but even more expensive, is the new reigning champion of hamburger pricing: a $41 monster that has just appeared on the menu at the Old Homestead on Ninth Avenue, built of beer-fed Kobe beef, with lobster mushrooms and microgreens, on a Parmesan twist roll. It is genuinely lousy, a mushy, gray thing of loose consistency and little flavor.

The Old Homestead and DB burgers are just two of the extreme burger variations available in New York. Indeed, in New York, if you can grind it and cook it, someone will call it a hamburger.

La Sandwicherie, carved out of the back of the kitchen of the Moroccan restaurant Zitoune, on Gansevoort Street, serves Moroccan-inspired burgers, made with spicy lamb sausage and salmon. At Dim Sum Go Go in Chatham Square in Chinatown, Charn-Hing Man, the chef, makes a burger with a patty of dumpling filling served on a steamed bun. And at Marseille in Midtown, Alex Ureña makes a Provençal-inspired seafood burger with salmon, shrimp and scallops topped with a harissa mayonnaise and served on a brioche bun.

Mr. Ureña's fish burger is particularly fine. But more in tune with the common New York burger experience is the superlative beef patty available on East 51st Street, at Prime Burger, né Hamburg Heaven.

Founded in 1938, Hamburg Heaven gently played off its location across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral with a slogan printed on its menus and doors: "The Gates of Heaven — Never Closed." Rita Hayworth and Henry Fonda were regulars, fans of the restaurant's prime beef burgers, homemade pies and cakes and perhaps also of its one-person booths with swivel trays that looked like school desks.

Hamburg Heaven fell victim to overly ambitious expansion plans, but New Yorkers can still eat those same burgers and pies in those selfsame booths for one at Prime Burger, which took over the location in 1965. The single-occupancy booths are a particularly lovely anachronism: take your coat off before you sit down, as the space is so confining you'll find yourself twisting like a contortionist to do so after the fact.

Neighborhood taverns and bars have also long been havens for superlative New York hamburgers. The Old Town Bar on East 18th Street has served outstanding burgers since 1980 (the bar itself has been open since 1892). P. J. Clarke's saloon on Third Avenue is currently closed for renovation, but it served its signature small bacon cheeseburgers for 53 years before it was shuttered. Philip A. Scotti, the current owner, promises that the burgers will return. And Upper East Side residents have been eating the burgers at J. G. Melon's for 30 years.

Burgers can also be found at virtually every coffee shop and diner in the five boroughs. I have had dozens of cheeseburgers at the Cosmic Coffee Shop right off Columbus Circle, and though the Cosmic burger can hardly qualify as great, it is certainly satisfying and graciously served by the warmhearted people who work there. It is a perfectly good burger, and in New York that counts a lot.

The Burger Joint on Broadway and 77th Street serves a similar function (as well as a fine burger) for the Upper West Side, though service there can be a bit more harried. And Downtown artists and families get their good-enough burger fix at Joe Jr.'s on the Avenue of the Americas and 11th Street.

Just what goes into a great hamburger? Here are some ground rules. Burger greatness begins with fresh ground meat , preferably chuck from prime beef, which has more marbling and therefore more fat. The meat should not be too lean — that results in a mealy, overly dry burger.

THE newly opened Lunchbox Food Company in the West Village makes its excellent burger by grinding hanger steak. Bill Telepan, chef at the Judson Grill, grinds Niman Ranch chuck steak, which he said has a meat-to-fat ratio of 75 to 25. It provides a wonderfully smooth texture and taste to the interior of his hamburgers. And at Peter Luger in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the burgers (only at lunch) are made of fabulously beefy dry-aged prime beef.

Good meat is only the beginning of a great burger, however. How a burger is cooked also plays a role. Exemplary burgers can be cooked by charcoal, as at Judson Grill, on a griddle as at Blue 9, or in a salamander in the manner of Prime Burger and Peter Luger. The key element is that the cook makes sure there is enough heat to properly sear the ground meat into a tight patty.

And how much meat? As with bagels before them, many New York burgers have fallen prey to a sort of elephantiasis that has left many bagels, at least, looking like spare tires. This obsession with size can be traced to the opening of the first Jackson Hole restaurant in 1973, which served 10-ounce burgers then as now. But bigger is not necessarily better. Unless the ground beef used in the burger is of sufficiently high quality, a diner can end up eating a pile of mushy, tasteless meat. It is also worth noting that bigger burgers also invariably overwhelm their buns, resulting in a dripping mess. (Some burger lovers, particularly those who patronize Corner Bistro in the West Village, consider the mess a virtue.)

Smaller, thinner burgers are more likely to achieve the right ratios of bun to meat to condiment to toppings, which can result in the winsome confluence of flavors and texture that defines the perfect burger.

Still, half-pound burgers have become the norm in New York. For some, there is the impression that more meat represents better value, particularly for a burger in an upscale environment. Mr. Telepan, the chef at the Judson Grill, said he had tried to make his burger smaller to improve the meat-to-bun ratio and to make it easier to eat, but his customers rebelled.

"I started getting complaints that the burger was too small," he said. "So I caved. I myself like a smaller burger."

The half-pound burger has given way to what the owner of Burger Joint, Nick Imiriziades, has dubbed the sumo burger, which weighs in at more than a pound. The sumo has done well. Until recently, Mr. Imiriziades said, his hamburgers came in three sizes: the regular 5-ounce burger, an 8-ounce Big Nick and the sumo. "But no one orders regular anymore," Mr. Imiriziades said. The smallest burger has been relegated to the children's menu.

Then there's the matter of the bun. Purists want their buns lightly toasted or grilled. They are correct. A hamburger bun should be soft enough so that it can embrace the burger and the cheese that comes with it. Store-bought buns work very well, as do those made with brioche dough at fancy-pants burger places like Union Square Cafe and the Judson Grill. The newly opened Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien Hotel has an old-fashioned toaster where the buns revolve around the heating element. As each burger is ordered, one of the young women at the shop puts a bun in the toaster; it's ready the same time the burger is.

Toppings are a matter of personal taste, of course, but the classic New York burger is encased in American or cheddar cheese, with lettuce and tomato and a few slices of onion on the side (burgers that aspire to greatness, I say, should come with sautéed or grilled onions). Fries, of course, should be on the plate as well — fresh, not frozen, golden brown outside, soft inside, served with plenty of salt.

And to drink? Mr. Richman of GQ requires "bubbles — it could be beer or soda or even Champagne."

I like a shake, or even better, a chocolate malt. That way you get your beverage and your dessert simultaneously.

January 15th, 2003, 09:40 AM
Nice article. *Who doesn't love a good burger. *I actually was craving one yesterday.

I wonder how those crazy prices burgers really are. *Anyone know first hand?

NY really does have it all - and is the best at most of it!

January 15th, 2003, 05:10 PM
I was slavering like one of those Simpson's aliens reading that article! *My vote currently goes to Island Burger. * Here's what some people said on the NY Times forum for the article ...

hobchi - 10:29pm Jan 14, 2003 EST (# 7299 of 7392)
Re Burgers.... Burgers are OK, In NYC I like those burgers from those places in Wyoming? Can't think of the name. But best are burgers with a hard fried egg atop. Usually called eggburgers. A high Protein diet, with mushrooms and onions.
siouxms - 10:42pm Jan 14, 2003 EST (# 7300 of 7392)
hobchi - are you talking about Jackson Hole? Their burgers are okay, but they are really too big.
petersdowling - 04:47am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7301 of 7392)
A major oversite in this article is its scant mention of JG Melon's, an Upper Eastside institution largely due to its delectable burgers. I highly recommend this place for great burgers, great fries, and the warm, oaky bar feel. God, I love Melons!
mtvbusdave - 08:45am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7302 of 7392)
God Bless the New York Times for publishing the burger profile. For the record, I would like to point out a few other classic places that my friends and I (or, as we prefer to call ourselves, 'The Knights of the Ground Round Table' ) can't live without:
1. Who can fail to be impressed by the ginormous colossus known as the McHales Burger? Sweet Jesus, it's hard to finish those bad boys, but man are they heaven. Plus their fries rule.
2. It was definitely an oversight to exclude the best gourmet burger in town: Island Burger. Come on now Levine -- truffle burgers but not Island? That's just wrong. Just cuz they don't serve fries...
3. While I do dearly love Old Town, it does seem wrong to exclude the gloriously meaty multitudes served by Molly's in Gramercy Park. Sawdust on the floor, burger juice slip-slidin' down my face? Nirvana!
4. And you can never forget Big Nick's. Those wonders of low-brow dining technology are big, sloppy and nasty (in a good way) and most certainly should not be overlooked.
All the same, thanks for the glorious research. Our dining options have multiplied exponentially. Mr Levine, if you ever need help researching an update for this story, I'm there for you man. So are my fellow knights.
Dave Anderson da@madstonefilms.com
oceanaj4 - 08:46am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7303 of 7392)
In reference to Ed Levine's "Burger," I just drove into NYC last night from Long Island to try the Kobe burger of the Old Homestead with a friend. The burger was pure oral pleasure, although a bit difficult to handle, I savoured every bite of the medium rare succulent patty. Two glasses of Cabernet and oysters to start with, completed the awesome experience!
terrydmoore - 09:45am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7308 of 7390)
Paul's Palace on Second Avenue in the East Village has the most delicious burgers, and a wide range of types. As a former New Yorker transplanted to Texas, I make a visit to Paul's a must on every trip back to the city. Espcially good are the Texas burger with a fried egg on top (which I have never seen in Texas), and the Blue cheese and bacon burger.
gblue8 - 09:57am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7309 of 7390)
Greatest quote of all time "Burgers that aspire to greatness, I say, should come with sauteed or grilled onions"...pure poetry....also, just of note, Manchesters on 48th/2nd has been my favorite burger in a pub for years but I will sample all the places in your article...
kepniss - 09:57am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7310 of 7390)
City Hall (the restaurant, not Mr. Bloomberg's pad) has an amazing burger. The bun is onion, the fries are great and
winterblep - 11:12am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7323 of 7390)
All the burgers at Piper's Kilt, on upper Broadway at 207th in Inwood, are among the best ever. Besides the fact they advertise "the best burgers in New York," the burgers really may be the best. Out of the way (unless one lives here), but easy to reach via the last stop on the A line running North.
leilap - 11:53am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7328 of 7390)
I have to agree with phish242, Paul's Place in the East Village should have gotten at least a mention. Paul's is dedicated to cranking out quality burgers that don't cost too much. The article dedicates too much ink to the $25+ burger. After all, don't the vast majority of NY'ers look for value when having a burger?
tkbaltimore - 11:55am Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7329 of 7390)
I agree with many others: I'm amazed that the Corner Bistro only got that short mention about being a mess. It deserves more than that. My only problem with it is that I can never get a table.
snookle - 12:40pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7341 of 7389)
Cozy Soup and Burger, in the Village. Massive and good.
coachboomer55 - 12:48pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7344 of 7389)
One mention of Corner Bistro. Unbelievable. It is a staple of the burger vocabulary. Everyone knows about it because it is WORTH knowing. It's sort of like not giving MJ the MVP every year. We all know how good. This guy just wanted to talk about something different. And in the end he kept talking about new places that don't have the 15+ years of experience. Anyone else think this dude was all about the California band wagon as well?
dsteak - 12:49pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7345 of 7389)
If you haven't tried Island Burger on 9th Avenue, you should. Excellent burgers with many kinds of toppings, and they also serve a nice chicken breast as well with the same toppings. Although there are NO fries, the shakes are great.
snookle - 01:25pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7348 of 7389)
Cozy Soup and Burger, in the Village. Massive and good.
liulide79 - 01:35pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7351 of 7389)
Coachboomer55 - Ed Levine was all about the California bandwagon because it's worth getting on. I'm a lifelong New Yorker but I have to swallow my pride and concede the burger to California. That In-N-Out burger was an eye-opening experience.
tobilove - 01:45pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7354 of 7389)
Donovans in Woodside has a great burger and the beer is cold, but when I am in the 60's around Ave of the Americas there is a corner diner at 55th and 6th called Astro, the burger is an Astroburger and it is the best I have had....Sometimes they are only good, but usually they are great I worked across the street for a few years and had a lot of them. I never get tired of Donovans' or Astros'. Just great burgers.
mollyceger - 01:46pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7355 of 7389)
I too, am surprised that the Corner Bistro merely gets a nod. Although, I find it amazing that Jimbo Burger (the one on Amsterdam between 125th & 126th) did not make it either - the best griddle burger in Manhattan.
laudanet - 01:49pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7356 of 7389)
P.J. Clarke burgers with Guiness stout is still my #1.
gkirch - 02:14pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7359 of 7389)
Handsdown "Houston's" at Citicorp Center... Can't beat it. Ed Levine should have tried them.
lornarg - 02:52pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7371 of 7389)
My fav bar burger is from Julius’s bar on West 10th and Waverly. They are cheaper and much better than Corner Bistro. (Which are totally overrated.)
kaprock - 03:06pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7372 of 7389)
I live in LA but when I'm there, none is better than Arizona 206 on East 60th.
aghavey - 03:14pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7373 of 7389)
SoupBurg on Lexington just above 79th is a great burger. Also Neils coffee shop on 71st and Lex. Perfect burger for lunch.
Los angeles has the Apple Pan and My Fathers Office in Santa Monica is fantastic with onion compote great beef bleu cheese with arugula on baggette.
sidearm17 - 03:18pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7374 of 7389)
Pauls at St. Marks and Second....hands down....try the blue cheese burger on a oversized English muffin....
mklonsky1 - 03:23pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7376 of 7389)
Clancy's has by far the best burger in Midtown!
duffyhiggins - 03:26pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7377 of 7389)
Barney Mac's (now Boxer's) on the corner of west4th on Barrow. GREAT burgers! and aside from the top 3's of Corner bistro, J.G. Melon's and Jackson Hole, FIND Chumley's in the West Village and get you socks knocked off !!!
020001 - 03:51pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7378 of 7389)
Hey, what about Nick's Burgers on the Upper West Side (across from Ruby Foo's)? -- they're the best I've tasted in NORTH AMERICA!
michaelcambre - 03:53pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7379 of 7389)
Big Nick's on Upper Broadway. A great variety of burgers, great taste. Atmosphere is cramped, but fun.
jonnya640 - 04:10pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7383 of 7392)
without a doubt my favorite burgers in the city are knickerbocker on university and 9th st(also great crispy fries) and McHales on 8th ave and 46th st (a great bar burger) check it out
manoto - 04:11pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7384 of 7392)
Skinflints in Brooklyn has one of the all time greatest flame charred burgers anywhere. Worth the trip to Bay Ridge for a look into this great old time bar alone! Who would have ever thought to order a cheeseburger at Lugers? It's not like they give you a menu there! Gotta try one.
mwolf14 - 04:16pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7385 of 7392)
It seems that the other boroughs, besides Manhattan and Brooklyn, were seriously neglected.
I highly recommend Mikes Diner in Astoria - 31st Street just under the Ditmars Boulevard Station Stop on the N or W Subway Lines. The burgers are heavenly and the milk shakes are so thick that you'd think you were drinking slightly melted iced cream. It is the only place I feel safe ordering a drippingly rare carniverous hamburger and knowing I won't regret it later - a thing of value for a female the day before that time of the month.
The other place of note is the Bayside Diner located on Northern Boulevard. The place is in disguise as an actual restaurant but is huge and the burgers are served with a heap of french fries and coleslaw and a nice salty pickle.
dave! - 04:24pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7386 of 7392)
Rita's in Chelsea Piers makes the juciest, best burgers. The buns are always fresh and the beef is thick & juicy...
ebcohen4a - 04:32pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7387 of 7392)
Hmmm Blue 9 is like In and Out in LA...wow am I going there this wkend ....maybe twice
djmnyc - 04:43pm Jan 15, 2003 EST (# 7388 of 7392)
I've always thought Fanelli's was nearly as good as Corner Bistro, though not quite. Blue 9 is exemplary for the thinner patty--get the Blue 9 burger with onions, it's very well proportioned. Definitely go with the medium-well, much better than the medium-rare. Knickerbocker's is quite good, as well.

January 16th, 2003, 12:20 PM

My current favorite neighborhood burger is at Milady's bar and grill - Thompson and Prince in Soho. Yummy.

January 26th, 2003, 02:44 PM
I practically lived in Milady's back in the '70s.The great thing about them is they are SO neighborhood that the casual visitor would probably overlook them.I was there recently,hung out with some regulars for awhile,had a Western egg there.(By the way,Cosmic Cafe's Western is excellent.)
A couple of blocks East is Googie's Bar,another old hangout,and I've heard they have good food.I just go there to drink.
But my favorite NY burger,after an exhaustive personal survey,is at Jackson Hole.That Wyoming place.Great 1/2 pound burgers,made in front of you,served on a loaf,surrounded by a mountain of fries-- and beer is available.Lotsa good burger,not expensive.Cheap,really.
Try one.The restaurant has about 9 Manhattan locs.I've been to 2 of them,and keep going back whenever I visit the City. *

September 10th, 2004, 12:30 PM
Cozy Soup 'n' Burger

739 Broadway at Astor Place


September 10th, 2004, 12:33 PM
Next question: how much?

September 10th, 2004, 02:17 PM
What is wrong with the meat on that burger? Yikes.

You truly cannot beat Corner Bistro's $6 Bistro Burger. It's tied with DB Bistro's $30 burger for the highest rating in Zagat.

September 10th, 2004, 03:25 PM
Ear Inn Tavern.

Bacon Cheddar Burger and a Guinness. VERY nice, and very affordable.

Any other suggestions for the West Village/Soho/Tribecca?

(I tried reading throygh all of it, but only the Corner Bistro came up that I recognised...)

September 10th, 2004, 05:16 PM
Amusingly written and very informative.

TLOZ Link5
September 10th, 2004, 06:21 PM
Silver Spurs, Broadway between 9th and 10th, just up from Soup Burg. A bit more expensive, but if I recall the burgers are bigger.

October 6th, 2004, 10:41 AM
I think the Corner Bistro on West 4th is the best, HUGE BISTRO for only

five bucks. The burger joint is good too but the burgers are a little on the

small side.

A couple of years ago Relish in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn was

rated as having the best burgers in the city. Never ate any burgers there

but, its an awesome diner. :D

October 6th, 2004, 11:55 AM
Donovan's Pub in Woodside and Bayside, Queens.

200 Fifth in Park Slope, Brooklyn and Dumont in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Also, for a sick amount of meat and variety, while not being the best, Jackson Hole is something. Locations in Manhattan and Queens.

October 6th, 2004, 03:04 PM
I would agree with the quality assessment of Jackson Hole. The one time I got one of their burgers it was practically swimming in oil.

October 8th, 2004, 12:24 AM
Better Burger NYC...organic, etc. Nice burger, not too big, selection of sides and a drink...$8. Not bad.


October 8th, 2004, 04:21 PM
I'm a big fan of Mickey Mantle's on Central Park South. Basically just a gussied up burger joint. But damn, what a burger!

October 13th, 2004, 08:10 AM
They are going to be putting a Fatburger in Times Square soon but go to Jersey City on Washington Street (about 1/2 mile south of the Newport Path Station). They have the best burgers, chili cheese fries and shakes out there.

October 15th, 2004, 07:07 PM
New York Burger Co, another newbie, is quite good. It's on Park Ave. So. and 23rd. Good burger, option of fries or salad, soda or water. Variety of sauces and burgers.

June 11th, 2005, 12:18 PM
go to 44&X in hell's kitchenn...awesome cheeseburger and fires...the burger is on an english muffin! one of new york's top 10 best...plus its my mom's best firend's place..so maybe thats y i love it so much =P

Ollie G
June 12th, 2005, 12:53 PM
I'll think I'll try that one LBIgirl13 sounds very nice. You don't have the full address do you so I can find it on a map. Thanks. I like the burgers at Brendan's Bar and Grill on 42 W 35th St. http://www.menupages.com/restaurantdetails.asp?restaurantid=3969
Really enjoyed the burger there and am definatly going to visit in when I'm in town in July.

May 20th, 2008, 06:04 PM
WTF?! Wall Street Eatery Unveils $175 Burger

by Lysandra Ohrstrom (http://www.observer.com/2007/author/lysandra-ohrstrom) | May 20, 2008

It seems like ages since Daniel Boulud introduced his $28 burger back in 2001, much to the horror of old-school carnivores who resented haute cuisine's appropriation of the popular, affordable American food staple.

Today, the DB Burger is $32--a price tag that few sophisticated foodies would bat an eyelash at--and it has spawned a horde of pricier imitations, including Mr. Boulud's own truffle infused Royale. At $81, Old Homestead (http://gothamist.com/2008/05/20/175_hamburger_o.php) steakhouse had also briefly claimed the most expensive burger in the city mantle, but now it too has been left in the dust: The Wall Street Burger Shoppe (http://burgershoppenyc.com/) has unveiled the $175, "Richard Nouveau," burger, named after the fictional mascot of the Web site Pocketchange—an exhaustive account of conspicuous consumption in Manhattan—the Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/food/2008/05/20/2008-05-20_the_175_burger_is_a_haute_handful_for_ra.html) reports today.

It "comes topped with a blizzard of real gold flakes, plus 25 grams of black truffles, a seared slab of foie gras and an aged Gruyere typically reserved for a high-class cheese tray," the News reports. "The patty is made from 10 ounces of Kobe beef, a pricey meat so rich that grinding it up is like bathing in bottled water."

Yes, the restaurant has adopted the British spelling of "shoppe," which seems appropriate since few people in the Financial District can afford to shell out $175 for a burger these days, unless they happen to be paying in foreign currency.


© 2008 Observer Media Group,

May 21st, 2008, 09:05 AM
Another example of purchasing for the purpose of exhibiting wealth and nothing more:

It "comes topped with a blizzard of real gold flakes,

That has to be one of the most ultimate wastes of capital. It adds nothing to the taste, and very little, if anything, to the look. This is just to get the price higher.

"The patty is made from 10 ounces of Kobe beef, a pricey meat so rich that grinding it up is like bathing in bottled water."

This confuses me. Like bathing in bottled water? I guess they are inferring using bottled water to bathe in as being opulent, not "rich" as a culinary descriptive phrase.

Things like this sicken me, but being a flash media release, I think it is intended to. I can't even say if this is a sign of the class stratification and isolation that seems to be becoming more prevalent in todays society or if it is just another attempt by a news outlet to get attension to something that effects so few people that even using the ink to print it is a net loss in capital.....

Ah well.

Any good downtown (WTC) burgers? And no gold flakes, please.

May 21st, 2008, 09:32 AM
Going over that recipe, I think I can improve it.

Add $50.

We are doomed.

May 21st, 2008, 11:18 AM
Best Burgers are J.G Melon on 75th and Third as well as Nick's on 76th and Broadway and they are both under 10 bucks!

May 21st, 2008, 12:54 PM
Looks a bit of a mess here.

http://blogs.denverpost.com/lewis/wp-content/photos/goldburger.jpg (http://blogs.denverpost.com/lewis/?pp_album=main&pp_cat=default&pp_image=goldburger.jpg)

Photo. denverpost.com

May 21st, 2008, 03:06 PM
For you foie gras fans


The Benniest
May 21st, 2008, 03:32 PM
WTF?! Wall Street Eatery Unveils $175 Burger
$175 for 1 burger? You don't even have to read the article to know that that is absurd.


May 21st, 2008, 05:26 PM
Zip Burger on 52 off 2nd is real good. Their shakes are excellent as well. Very reasonably priced

Island Burger and Shake on 9th off 51 is great as well, but they do not do fries :(. Also reasonable

Agree with Kliq on JG Melon. Great burgers and a nice comfortable palce.

Rare on 3rd off 37th in the lobby of a hotel the name of which escapes me at the moment, is probably the best of the lot. It is a bit pricier but not bad.. 10-15 bucks or so. It is set up in a nice pub type atmosphere with a full bar.

May 21st, 2008, 07:07 PM
Brianac, I don't know why you put a thumbs up with that post, I'd put a big thumbs down. $175 for a hamburger, doesn't that just about sum up everything that is wrong with NY, gross consumption and self-indulgence.

May 21st, 2008, 07:36 PM
I agree with you completely. I am more of a Gray's Papaya Hot Dog guy myself.

I didn't realise I had put an icon there at all.

So, I have changed it.,Thanks for pointing it out.

May 23rd, 2008, 06:07 AM
A silly stunt, aimed at silly people.

May 27th, 2008, 09:53 PM
Looks fairly disgusting, in all honesty. But can you imagine overhearing the exchange over lunch between such a conspicuously-consuming, self-indulgent couple?

"Mmm, this burger sure is delicious. I'll have to schedule an extra appointment with my personal trainer this week, or else it'll go straight to my hips!"

"Um, honey...you have a little mayo and some gold flake on the corner of your mouth. [...] No, other corner."

May 27th, 2008, 09:57 PM
Actually, after looking at their website, it seems like an otherwise fairly reasonable place. "Normal" burgers are priced in the single digits.

May 28th, 2008, 02:33 AM
$175?? Nah, I'd just as soon go here...


May 28th, 2008, 10:56 AM
I was thinking about going to Shake Shack with a foreign friend for his American burger experience, I have never been there and I'm a vegetarian who knows nothing about burgers, is this place worth the long wait in line it evidently entails? Apparently they have a portobello mushroom burger for someone like me.

May 28th, 2008, 11:17 AM
The Shake Shack burgers are great -- but nothing like a McD's or that type. It's just a little patty of really good meat on a nice soft bun. Delicious. I like them plain -- no condiments at all (which isn't usual for me -- normally I lay on the mustard & onions & pickles) -- that way the taste of the meat and juices on the bun are really pure. The shakes are really good, too :)

Not sure about the portobello burger, but given their track record I'd say it will be tasty as hell.

May 28th, 2008, 11:27 AM
Thanks Lofter. I'll have to decide between a shake or a frozen custard to go with that, they both sound great.

I love the look of the "shack". Whenever I've walked by, I noticed lots of people but I assumed it was just for the park surroundings, not aware that the food was so good. What a great thing for Madison Square Park:)

May 28th, 2008, 11:31 AM
Too bad there aren't comparable establishments in other parks (style, food quality,price). The vending carts don't always cut it.

The Benniest
May 28th, 2008, 11:58 AM
Hmm. The Skake Shack. Would this happen to be something you get at the shack?:


...if so, I'm already making plans to go! :D

May 28th, 2008, 03:38 PM
You like CHEESE, eh?

May 28th, 2008, 06:00 PM
I love crinkle cut fries, not too crispy.
I'm going down there now, hoping there's a smaller line in the evening.

May 28th, 2008, 06:53 PM
Sorry guys i see that line every day and there is no way Id ever wait that long for a burger.

May 28th, 2008, 08:09 PM
If you can avoid it between 11 AM -2 PM the line eases up.

The Benniest
May 28th, 2008, 09:04 PM
You like CHEESE, eh?
I'm a huge fan of cheese. I eat cheese on a LOT of things which, unfortunately, is probably not to healthy. :(

May 28th, 2008, 09:52 PM
We got down there around 6:30 and the line was very long. We waited anyway.
It was the best vegetarian "burger" I ever tasted. Not a patty, it was a whole giant mushroom stuffed with delicious cheese. Yum.

The Benniest
May 28th, 2008, 10:13 PM
That sounds delicious. I'm dying for a (cheese)burger now. :p

May 28th, 2008, 10:56 PM
I love Shake Shack. I used to work down in Chelsea over on 6th Avenue in the 20's and would walk over to Madison Square Park during the summer months to Shake Shack.

The line seems to have gotten much longer on average since when I used to go regularly -- but their burger is quite good.

I second avoiding mid-day, although judging by their online webcam, which I happened to look at earlier today around 3:30 PM, the line isn't all that much shorter. I guess word has spread.

MidtownGuy, I totally agree about the Shack being great for the park. I wish the City might open up more about leasing space to small restaurants in parks. Another successful instance of this is at the park on 1st Avenue between Houston and 1st street.

The Benniest
June 10th, 2008, 09:32 AM


June 10, 2008 --

Hold the tomatoes.

McDonald's, Burger King, Whole Foods and other chains pulled certain raw tomatoes from their restaurants and shelves yesterday because of an outbreak of potentially lethal salmonella that has spread to 16 states.

Since mid-April, at least 145 people have been infected with a rare form of the bacteria called Salmonella Saintpaul, and 23 have required hospitalization.

Salmonella poisoning's main symptoms are diarrhea and severe abdominal pain. It's caused by eating food contaminated with a bacteria found in animal feces. The tomatoes can pick up the bacteria through contaminated water or manure used for fertilizer.

Get MORE Regional News on NYPost.com. (http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/regionalnews.htm)

There have been 13 salmonella outbreaks involving various foods since 1990 and there are about 40,000 cases and 1,000 deaths a year.

The feds haven't been able to trace the source of the infection. At this time of year, almost all tomatoes sold in the United States come from Mexico or Florida.

McDonald's buys 15 million tomatoes annually, most of them from Florida.
The fast-food and grocery chains said they were taking a precautionary measure by pulling tomatoes from their menus - but nonetheless, some customers saw red.

At the Mickey D's on Sixth Avenue between 21st and 22nd streets, Beata Royzman, 17, a La Guardia HS senior, winced as she bit into a cheeseburger that didn't have tomatoes.

"It's disgusting," she groaned. "It would be much better with tomatoes. I'm obsessed with tomatoes. I eat them raw with salt."

Anabel, a sophomore at the Manhattan Village Academy, agreed.
"I miss tomatoes. It doesn't feel like a burger without tomatoes."

The chains acted after the Food and Drug Administration warned that the outbreak, which began in Texas and New Mexico, was linked to eating raw red plum, red Roma and round red tomatoes.

It spread to 16 states, but there are no known cases in New York state.

The FDA said it's safe to eat these kinds of tomatoes if they are grown in eight states, including Arkansas, California and Georgia, and seven countries, including Canada and Israel.

In addition to the two big burger chains, Subway, Chipotle, Outback Steakhouse and Taco Bell have also pulled tomatoes off the menu. A Wendy's spokesman did not return calls.

Grocery chains that have yanked the fruit include Whole Foods, Kroger's and Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart actually announced the move last Thursday, two days after the FDA issued its initial warning.

In New York City, D'Agostino and Gristedes are not withdrawing tomatoes, the stores said.

D'Agostino said it carries tomatoes only from the 15 states and countries considered safe. Gristedes said its tomatoes are either from safe areas or are hydroponically grown.

In a statement, McDonald's, the world's largest hamburger chain, said it would stop serving tomatoes in its sandwiches in the United States until the source of the infection was traced.

"This is a precautionary measure only," the company said, adding that it would continue to serve grape tomatoes in its salads because the FDA says they are unlikely to be the source of the outbreak.

Burger King said it was withdrawing tomatoes at its US restaurants with the exception of some in California that are serviced by growers in the areas considered safe.

McDonald's, which boasts of having sold 100 billion burgers worldwide, would not say how many it sells in the Big Apple each day. Nor would Burger King. But Burger King did reveal that it uses tons of tomatoes a year in the US.

Copyright 2008 New York Post

June 12th, 2008, 11:01 AM

Is the bacteria IN the tomato or ON the tomato?

I have never heard of a case where it is the former, and plenty where it is the latter....

In any case, it is always a good idea to wash your veggies before eating. I see that most of the places that pulled these things seem to be places with questionable hygenic tenacity (You think they specd time and effort to make sure eevry tomato at McD's is washed properly?).

Would be good to know what is up with this....

The Benniest
June 12th, 2008, 12:23 PM
I work in the produce department in a HyVee grocery store and we were informed to pull all roma tomatoes on Monday due to salmonella scares.

For some reason the normal size tomatoes are still on the shelf (at least when I left at 10 a.m. this morning) but the romas are still pulled until further notice. :confused:

August 9th, 2008, 05:03 PM
So this was the insane line at the Shake Shack today. I was passing through and couldn't believe these people, I had to stitch together 2 photos to show it all:eek:


August 9th, 2008, 06:09 PM
Shake Shack is about the most overrated restaurant in NYC. I ate there once. I don't see what the big deal is. There's literally a million better restaurants in NYC.

August 9th, 2008, 07:13 PM
Me either. I can't speak about the hamburgers but I will say they make the best veggie burger I ever tasted. Instead of a patty it's more like a stuffed Portobello mushroom with cheese inside and I don't know what else but it's very good. The fries are only mediocre.
If I get a craving, I first check the webcam, around 11-11:30 or 3-4 on a weekday the line isn't bad. The people in the photo above are just nuts.

The Benniest
August 9th, 2008, 07:55 PM
Woooooooow!! :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

So this is what you were talking about. :p ..

.. and I thought the line was long when I ate with you MidtownGuy. :confused:

August 9th, 2008, 08:59 PM
The line at Shake Shack is like the line at those flavorless frozen yougurt places red mango, pinkberry, etc. People wait not so much for the product but because its "trendy" and "cool". Just give these places a couple of months and the "it" factor will have passed.

Gregory Tenenbaum
August 9th, 2008, 09:47 PM
When I used to live on 27th I would lean out of the window with a PA system and ask someone to bring me a chocolate shake and fries. I couldnt ever be bothered to line up there, but if you work in the area and want to escape your office, I guess lining up and talking to your colleagues is a good time out.

August 9th, 2008, 10:40 PM
Just give these places a couple of months and the "it" factor will have passed.

Shake Shack opened in March '06 (http://eater.com/archives/2006/03/breaking_shake.php), so they're working on their 3rd incredibly successful year. (OTOH: Now that Pinkberry (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/23/dining/23yogurt.html) has been shown to be a frozen collection of various sugars -- and not a really healthy treat -- their days of popularity could be numbered.)

Major factor for SS is Madison Square -- which is a great place to hang out for lunch. Plus the SS Burgers are very tasty -- high quality beef and not too much of it. Plus they have a webcam (http://www.shakeshacknyc.com/camera.html).

The Benniest
August 9th, 2008, 10:48 PM
I agree about the "yum" factor. I was told that the burgers there were good, but I consider "good" to be an understatement when describing the SS burgers. :rolleyes:

August 12th, 2008, 06:29 PM
I don't get it either. Places near me with perpetual lines: Magnolia Bakery, John's Pizza, Tomoe Sushi. Apparently these places are SO MUCH better than the countless other excellent bakeries, pizzerias, and sushi joints in the Village that they're worth waiting hours in line for. No thanks.

August 12th, 2008, 06:57 PM
Would the Shake Shack burgers fit the description of a "slider"?

I like the SS's small size, but don't know what the "slider" cut off amount might be.

Last night I was watching some late nite TV (catching up on my favorite shows after a prime time full
of swimmers and gynmasts) and (a hint to those shopping for my next birthday)
saw an ad for THIS (http://www.bigcitysliders.com/), which makes all this in an instant:


August 12th, 2008, 07:06 PM
Chipoltle right near the Chrystler building.

You figure THAT one out.


August 12th, 2008, 09:36 PM
I don't get it either. Places near me with perpetual lines: Magnolia Bakery, John's Pizza, Tomoe Sushi. Apparently these places are SO MUCH better than the countless other excellent bakeries, pizzerias, and sushi joints in the Village that they're worth waiting hours in line for. No thanks.

Exactly. Id understand if it was the only place in town, but its NY frigging City.

September 25th, 2008, 08:11 AM
OK, so here it is my first post and on my fave subject. I have been to NYC on a few food vacations and typically spend a week in the city going to all 5 boroughs checking out the best in burgers, pizzas, steaks, hot dogs, all the quintessential NYC staples. Coming fromthe UK I really appreciate the fantastic burgers that NYC has to offer and in my humble opinion there are a few real standouts............

Firstly I would like to mention Donovans Pub, in Queens a great burger, huge, greasy and really messy knocked back with a mug of draught in a unasuming New York pub, worth the trip from Manhattan.

My second favourite is Island Burgers on 9th Ave, truly massive with a myriad of toppings to chose from, no fries but who realistically has room for fries when the burgers are this big and tasty.

Moving sharply on to Burger Joint at the Meridian, for a Brit on tour this is a truly amazing experience, the patties here are moist and the fries are also good.........I love this place.

Shake shack, as soon as it opened I was there, line free and waiting, crinkle fries with cheese and an awesome sliderish burger. Sat in the park starring at one of the most famous buildings in the world eating one of these beauties on a crisp April morning was nice, real nice.

My old fave is now a little further down tha ladder, Corner Bistro, so cheap so tasty so fresh so moist.........at least they were a few years ago, more recently and in the late evening (as apposed to my first time early evening) I had a Bistro burger that was a little dry and tasted like it had maybe been re heated?????

Willl be back in the Apple early March, any suggestions on great Burger, Pizza, steak etc places would be highly appreciated. Thanks.

September 25th, 2008, 09:26 AM
Warning on Corner Bistro.

Never get the chili-burger. It just gets too wet/sloppy to enjoy. Since they use generic rolls (potato rolls, I think) they turn into a soppy mess when something like chili is put on them.

It tasted OK, but it was hard to enjoy.

Otherwise, I agree! ;)

PS, welcome aboard!

September 27th, 2008, 08:13 AM
Burgers for Regular Joes

by Ethan Wolff
September 26, 2008


As simple pleasures go, charred beef bookended by a fresh bun will always be right up there with sunny days in Central Park and snagging a seat on the morning F train. Not that New York hasn't tried to tart things up. A holdover from that bygone era when investment bankers ran the city (sooo 2007), Wagyu, truffle, and foie gras adulterations of the humble hamburger can still set you back as much as $175. We have no carp with T-Bone or Kobe burgers, but are those rich cuts really best enjoyed all ground up? Straightforward patties have more character, at their best blending texture, fat, juice, and flavor into the bites human taste buds have been craving for ten millennia. The Corner Bistro and JG Melon have long camped out on many a city's best burger list. Newer players like burger joint and the Shake Shack have justifiably rabid followings (and legendary lines to match). At the extremes of unaffected burgerdom, Zaitzeff and Blue Smoke bring smooth refinement without sacrificing heartiness. For the city's absolute best-tasting, juiciest, most well-proportioned masterpiece, the fresh-ground Grade A chuck patty of Rare sets the standard. When you want to check back in with the simple life as the good life, a quick hit from the grill is the perfect cure for the "market correction" news that ails you. (And, come to think of it, a side of fries and a pint of beer won't exactly spoil the experience.)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-10.gif http://www.observer.com/files/mollys2.jpg Molly's (http://www.observer.com/node/75569)

287 Third Ave. • 212-889-3361
Yes, they still have the sawdust on the floor. From the shingled entry to the long, dim bar, to the cottagelike dining room in back, Molly’s remains fervently old school. The walls ar... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75569)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-9.gif http://www.observer.com/files/cornerbistro.jpg Corner Bistro (http://www.observer.com/node/75568)

331 W. 4th St. • 212-242-9502
The Corner Bistro’s ancient barroom embodies a lost Bohemian Village. A soundtrack of cool jazz plays low. The mahogany bar, tin ceiling and worn stools evoke Beat ghosts. The cliente... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75568)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-8.gif http://www.observer.com/files/ShakeShackSized.jpg Shake Shack (http://www.observer.com/node/72416)

Madison Square Park • 212-889-6600
The cult of Shake Shack is unstoppable. Danny Meyer’s little snack bar that could has helped transform Madison Square Park from a no-man’s land of discarded drug paraphernalia to Fl... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/72416)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-7.gif http://www.observer.com/files/dumont1.jpg DuMont Burger (http://www.observer.com/node/75564)

314 Bedford Ave. • 718-384-6127
DuMont Burger stakes its name on doing one thing well. The stripped-down menu is limited to just eight selections. The squared-off space is minimal, decked with salvaged wood. Inside se... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75564)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-6.gif http://www.observer.com/files/bluesmoke2.jpg Blue Smoke (http://www.observer.com/node/75806)

116 E. 27th St. • 212-447-7733
The light fixtures at Blue Smoke are stylized versions of the metal brackets you see at industrial sites. They hang low over the bar and stretch out overhead in fanlike arrays, shifting... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75806)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-5.gif http://www.observer.com/files/bonnies1.jpg Bonnie’s Grill (http://www.observer.com/node/75563)

278 Fifth Ave. • 718-369-9527
On still days, Fifth Avenue in the lower Slope fills with blue smoke and the alluring scent of grilled beef. The incidental advertising comes from the chimney of Bonnie’s, a narrow sl... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75563)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-4.gif http://www.observer.com/files/burgerjoint2.jpg burger joint (http://www.observer.com/node/75415)

119 W. 56th St. • 212-708-7414
The burger joint’s infiltration of the Parker Meridian lobby attracts those drawn to counterpoints. Where the hotel’s space is sleek and airy, the house hamburger stand is retro, fu... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75415)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-3.gif http://www.observer.com/files/zaitzeff3.jpg Zaitzeff (http://www.observer.com/node/75512)

18 Ave. B • 212-477-7137
Zaitzeff goes about as far out on the low-pretense burger limb as possible without toppling into haute. The restaurant is classy and minimal, black chairs against white walls. Wine and... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75512)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-2.gif http://www.observer.com/files/jgmelon2.jpg JG Melon (http://www.observer.com/node/75088)

1291 Third Ave. • 212-744-0585
JG Melon is as comfortable as a pair of worn-in jeans, only most of the patrons here wouldn’t be caught dead in denim. Clay-tennis-court-red slacks are the more likely attire, a shade... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75088)

http://www.observer.com/sites/all/themes/obs_2007/img/dining-top10-1.gif http://www.observer.com/files/raregrill1.jpg Rare Bar & Grill (http://www.observer.com/node/75511)

303 Lexington Ave. • 212-481-1999
Rare may jut off the entrance of the buttoned-down Shelburne Hotel, but its aspirations are angled toward the grassy ground of the backyard grill. Loving close-ups of planed onions and... Read More » (http://www.observer.com/node/75511)


© 2008 Observer Media Group

December 5th, 2008, 02:10 PM
I will try the 10 places for burgers,also Mickey Mantle's,McDonald's,Burger King and more.

December 8th, 2008, 09:20 AM
BB, do you listen to those around you?

Do not blind quote.

You know what? Don't quote people at all anymore. Ever. Save our mods some work.