Sunday, July 19, 2009

Burger Fridays

There are so many good burgers to be had in the city. Just ask the Burger Club from the NYTimes, read one of the latest articles from NYMag or check out Grub City's list of the city's 82 most notable burgers. It seems sort of overwhelming, as I want to try them all and not compromise my recent attempts to eat healthier. I think I've found the perfect plan of attack though: Friday afternoons, one new burger spot. I have half day Fridays in the summertime so its a great time to just sit and relax. Plus, I've found a burger with lots of bacon and cheese to be a pretty good reward for eating well during the weekdays.

I had my first burger of the summer at Dumont Burger. This place is fairly well-known as Williamsburg's favorite spot for a good bun and patty, so of course I felt the need to verify this loose claim. But honestly I wasn't terribly impressed, though it was a good, high chunk of meat. The ingredients were all very fresh (I tried mine with guacamole and grilled onions) but the meat was a bit overcooked. The saving grace here was the mac 'n' cheese -- simply incredible. My favorite kind of pasta (radiatore) that perfectly holds the thick cheese and crispy bacon in its folds, saturating it with cheesy perfection. I'm not usually a fan of heavy duty mac 'n' cheeses, but this one was amazing.

Dumont Burger
314 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 384-6128
Next stop was Joy Burger Bar in Harlem. Rob works near here and comes here a lot for lunch, so I joined him one Friday after work. Maybe I'm a tough burger critic, but again I wasn't all that impressed. There's no table service, you just wait in line and order at the counter. Very similar to Goodburger, although I have to admit I like Goodburger more (even though its crazy overpriced). Even if its slightly crowded when you get there, you'll have to wait forever because they make each burger to order. Munch (3 oz), midi (5 oz) or maxi (8 oz), then topped with whatever sauce you want (and they do have a nice selection of those). On my first visit I got the midi with garlic mayo and sauteed onions. The garlic mayo was pretty watery, and I couldn't even detect any garlicky taste. The burger was flat and the overcooked parts were gray and dripping with grease. My stomach didn't feel so great afterwards. On my next trip I swapped the mayo for some chimichurri sauce, which definitely improved the overall taste, though the meat was still flat and grayish. I think the medium-sized patty was too slim for it to have any hope of pink after it was ordered to medium doneness. It's too bad, but my stomach fared much better this time, even with a half order of mozzerella sticks. And at about $6 for a medium sized burger, the price is right here.

Joy Burger Bar
1567 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10029
(212) 289-6222

Well, I guess the third time's the charm, because Prune absolutely blew me away. Maybe its because Prune figured out the perfect calculations for an ideal mound of ground meat: 80% beef and 20% lamb. Maybe its because I felt confident ordering the burger the way I really like it: medium rare. Maybe its the parsley-scallion butter that pares so well with the cheddar. Or maybe it's because of the English muffin. I've never been a big fan of bready hamburger buns -- they never add much to the burger equation anyway -- and I found the English muffin to be a great bun substitute. The greasy pink juices (which squirt out every which way upon every bite) settle into the crevices nicely, and the thin halves take up minimal room, so much of your bite is straight up beef and lamb. Put a small slice of cheddar cheese on top and a strip of bacon on the bottom and I think I found my favorite NYC burger yet. Much better than Five Napkin. Better than Luger's, even. Yeah... I said it. And I'm not taking it back.

54 E. 1st St.
New York, NY 10003


Rutila said...

I found your blog via Greenpointers. Totally agree about Dumont being overcooked, and if you want to have a quality burger I suggest Donovan's in Woodside. Here's my review of the institution. Also, anything's better than Luger's burger; what a disappointment!

Jules said...

i love prune!! you gotta come check out the burger at Sweet Afton in Astoria. SO good!