The burger: so humble, yet also so easy to mess up. Sometimes it’s being too dry or too plain or too charred. But there are some places in NYC that get it oh so right.
A list of good burgers in New York needs to mention JG Melon. I go to the downtown Macdougal Street location. It has that old-school charm: dark interiors, checkered tablecloths, cheesy decorations, and a simple menu. Their cheeseburgers are simple and no-fuss. It’s a patty between two buns, with some cheese. Lettuce and tomatoes are on the side. It’s reliable and it is very good. The fries are also good; one order is enough for two people.
But I think the burgers at Lafayette are better.
It looks deceptively small, but it is so filling. The patty is incredibly juicy and rich. I don’t even like mushrooms, but the mushroom duxelles on the bottom bun adds fantastic flavor. The cheese is gooey and amazing.
(Yes, the burger is so good it’s worth two pictures taken on two separate occasions, each time delicious.)
It is a $24 burger, but oh so worth it. My parents were skeptical (after all, we’ve had some amazing burgers at All American for far less), but they were won over. Oh, and it comes with truly fantastic fries.
Lafayette also has desserts. Really good desserts, like mille feuille and profiteroles.
The Loyal just opened up, and they’re doing pretty well for themselves.
I know the addition of the tomato was a bit controversial, but I thought it was an inspired choice of condiment. The tartness was a nice balancing complement to the richness of the meat and the sauce. This burger is very much worth the price and the fullness you’ll feel after devouring it.
The duck fat tots, though, are a miss. The first bite was really good, but then every bite afterward was too much — salty, greasy, but not quite flavorful enough
Their S’mores Baked Alaska was phenomenal. The graham cracker crust, the flamed meringue, the espresso ice cream…it was a perfect way to end the meal.
And the drinks! This cocktail was the Flood Gates (gin, Negroni marmalade, Meyer lemon). I ordered two.
Downtown, there is Augustine. Close to the World Trade Center, it’s not exactly close to lots of other big-name restaurants. Inside is dimly-lit and has a very “traditional bistro” vibe to it. Their burger, simply named “The Augustine Burger,” is on their brunch, lunch, and dinner menus.
It’s a good burger, but ultimately not the most memorable (and a little on the salty side).
And then there is the famous, the renowned, the legendary Black Label Burger Minetta Tavern. I will warn you now that I have no pictures of the burger, because I got right stuck in and then my hands were greasy. I’ll just leave you with a picture taken from Minetta’s instagram.
This burger was so good. The patty was juicy and simple and flavorful, the bun had integrity, and the fries were SO GOOD.
I do have pictures, however, of dessert. My friend and I split the “Chocolate Soufflé for Two,” which we had to order at the beginning of the meal to allow for adequate cooking time. It was crisp up top and gooey in the middle, and came with a side of vanilla ice cream. I don’t have many words for this beyond: EAT THIS.
There are good burgers out in the streets of New York City. Go eat them and savor them.