Josh Capon is no stranger to the burger world, after rescuing a seemingly past failed Soho locale with a retro marine sushi seafood mega Soho restaurant, in Lure Fish Bar. He later challenged the masses of celebrity chefs in 2009 vying for the coveted title of Best Burger at Rachael Ray’s Burger Bash at the New York Wine and Food Festival. Josh secured the title with his signature Bash Burger which is a Pat La Frieda blend, caramelized onion, bacon jam, shaved pickles, and a secret sauce on a toasted Marty’s sesame seed bun. Soon after his team decided on taking the winning sandwich to the burger addled palette of the masses. Burger and Barrel in Soho was conceived. His brand new bistro is his spring-board for whets sure to be a patent staple in the bistro world. As I entered the brooding low-lit lounge of Burger and Barrel-teaming with foodies, the odd celebrity and happy couples enjoying the last of the summer air-I noticed an interesting addition. At the start of October a funky exclusive funghi seems to wash over the culinary world, of course I’m talking about “White Truffles”. That delectably gorgeous mushroom like morels shaved over a burger with equally luscious robiola cheese. If that wasn’t enough, burger king Josh, tops it with a crispy fried onion ring all on a homemade brioche bun. It is a sexy bistro with friendly staff and an acquired setting of red wines pigeonholed above the bar. Dapper dressed staff greets you while directing to the lounging red chairs comfort your body as well as the food on the menu comforts your stomach.
Capon buzzes around the room, personally attending to every table, cracking jokes, making people laugh. He’s running on pure adrenalin, the restaurant has been packed since its opening two weeks ago the sign of a true artisan of culinary feats. His personality is raw but sweet and lovable; he’s the type of guy that would make friends in any situation. I notice another burger maven at the bar, Josh Osersky was in the house, “You gotta order the white truffle burger”, he shouts. Feeling kind of spicy, my first choice was the Puebla Burger a Pat La Frieda blend with roasted poblanos, red onion relish and queso fresco. Much to my chagrin, Capon and Osersky cruised by and convinced me to sample the white truffle burger……that was it I was sold! For starters the creamy flattened out blue cheese wedge was spectacular, the smokey bacon, and chopped tomato was light and pleasantly un-funky as other blue cheese wedges have been in the past for me. Simply fresh, crunch and delightful. The tuna tartare with fried gaufrettes, reminded me of my days at the French Culinary Institute, slicing those things potato after potato and frying them as a shi-shi French instructor lovely look over me…. The tartare was fresh and positively blissful and a superlative dish to start.
Our waiter was a “dude”- happy and smiley, with the constant barrage of tables he seemed to glide through his work. Then came a bang! Braised short rib tacos-need I say more? A generous mound of chopped rib meat, glistening in a special sauce topped with crunchy cabbage and various other condiments that you’ll have to visit to experience. I see an elderly man dressed in a leather jacket, sit beside is with two young women, he instructs the waiter before his coat is off his back ” We’ll all have the white truffle burger please” again a positive confirmation of Capon’s talents. The moment of truth arrives, Capon delivers his seasonal truffle concoction personally, I start taking pictures of this beautiful Italo-American creation wanting to get the best view of the patty smothered in creamy robiola cheese and shaved truffles. I’m friendly scalded by Capon,” Just eat the darn thing dude”. I follow interactions and sink my red wine soaked and burger starved mouth into a moist and eye roll back in your head miracle! Minetta Black Label Burger! Huh? Nothing on Capon’s creation, the flavor and succulence is purely brilliant. I find tears welling up in my eyes, like a young boy at his first Christmas. Homemade tater tots and an excellent crispy onion ring speared through the burger are my accoutrements for the dish.
I glance over to the leather guys table near me, and their whole table is in heavenly silence, as they gorge into the same white truffle burger, this tells me I’m not the only one who thought so….. Mr. Capon congratulations!