Posts Tagged ‘a quest for the best burger in NYC’

As far as hamburgers go, few have reached such  fame as the “Jucy Lucy”.The creation comes from either Matt’s Bar or nearby 5-8 Club in Minneapolis MN. The misspelling of the name coins its mystery and renowned reputation. As the Wikipedia page explains “  Matt’s Bar boasts on posters that  if it’s spelled correctly, you’re at the wrong place”, while in contrast “Employees  at the 5-8 Club wear  shirts that boast  the legend ” If it’s spelled right, it’s done right.” Despite the combativeness, no one is denying the idea that stuffing a patty with a luscious type of cheese is a genius one. New York native, Craig Koenig and a few of his buddies recently opened Whitman’s Restaurant in the East Village, which opted for the correct spelling of his version as printed on the menu [Juicy Lucy]. A simple shop front marked “Slow Food*Beer*Wine*Cafe” opens into a small space with muddled decor. Accented with an Americana theme, Whitman’s is fitted with simple barnyard walled sidings and minimal country seating and white subway tiles with a wall-lined bench. Service is counter style where two styles of burgers are available-the Upstate Burger-an all grass fed creation with seared onions and ultra-secret special sauce and the famous “Juicy Lucy”. A Mama’s Boy free range chicken sandwich with Coffee BBQ sauce and Fennel-jalapeno slaw [$9] and a Succotash Maide-Rite [$9] made with cumin roasted carrots; corn, edamame and poblano cilantro with cilantro, round out the menu. Fried accoutrements consist of hand cut French fries and Crack Kale-a flash fried kale dusted with red pepper.
 
           
 
An avid burger follower and critic Koenig says, “We were inspired by all the food blogs and TV shows surrounding the Juicy Lucy, namely -Food Wars -as inspiration for starting the venture.” This is his first foray into the restaurant business after owning various bars and lounges around the city. Koenig transplanted California native chef Chris Edwards to head the helm where together they focus on classic ingredients with simple twists that are locally sourced. The pair worked on their version for the New York Juicy Lucy for several weeks as Koenig states “It’s all about the quality of the meat and a special Pimento cheese recipe that blend the form together.” The Counter at Whitman’s, is the casual spin-off of the upmarket version slated to open soon in the basement. The menu not complete but, will feature a “Black Label-esque” blend of burger which is being sculpted by a Brooklyn butcher, The Meat Hook-who Koenig says, “Doesn’t even deliver-we have to go pick it up.” 
 
       
   
 
 
As the Juicy Lucy arrived to my table the server warns me, “Watch out for your shirt- it can get messy.” Towered on a speckled sesame seed Blue Ribbon Bun with a vibrant green leaf of Bibb, caramelized onions, chunks of red tomato, spicy pickles and coated with mayo. The girth of the short rib blend was plump and glistening with color. A rush of pimento cheese flows into the mouth of the eater, bursting out of the patty with aggressive force, combined with a seasoned zest that represents Creole flavors. When asked what that was, Koenig stays tight lipped. The French fries were crispy, salty and plentiful, coupled with a wad of Crack Kale made for a wonderful gluttonous experience. Keeping in with Koenig’s idea of provided affordable fare to the neighborhood, he also features a small selection of quality Ales quench your beef soaked palate, Six point Rye and Blue point Summer Ale are available in frosted Mugs for $4-bottled beers for $7. With a the price tag of $8, the Juicy Lucy bursts in to the Gotham burger scene with succulence and originality.


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 George Motz burger impresario and filmmaker of award-winning film Hamburger America teams up with Food Bank NYC, the James Beard Foundation and former Schnack Dog and Water Taxi Beach Chef Harry Hawk-to bring us cavalcade of documentaries, features and short films highlighting the globes favorite foods. The Fourth Annual New City Food Film Festival is the arena where food and film blend together to make a delicious meal of sight and taste. Awards will be given out for excellence in categories such as, Best Feature, Best Short, Best Super-Short, Best Film Made in New York, Food Filmmaker of the Year and the Audience Choice Award.                                           

all photos courtesy of http://www.nycfoodfilmfestival.com

 The festival is already underway (started June 23-27) and I have the privilege of a special assignment involving pigs ears and of course, burgers. First on the menu will be Edible Adventure #001 Smokes, Ears and Ice Cream– which takes place Friday June 25th at Water Taxi Beach. The night will showcase films from various film-foodies (full list here) and offer up some delectable film nosh like: Pig’s Ear sandwiches from Big Apple Inn, Jackson Mississippi; Smoke Meats from Fatty Cue; and Ice Cream from Max and Mina’s.  A number of liquid pleasures are also in the cast of stars-featured, are Cucumber Soda from Dry Soda Co. And potables from Mixologist, Allen Katz.                                 

Sunday June 25th the NYC Food Festival comes to a close with an abbreviated screening of George Motz’s Hamburger America and Anat Barons “Beer Wars” followed by the coveted awards ceremony, which is hosted by NBC’s Cat Greenleaf. The whole evening titled, “All-You-Can-Eat Brooklyn Burger N’ Beer Garden” at the Tobacco Warehouse under the Brooklyn Bridge, promises to be a glitzy burger-poolaza with burgers from Pat La Frieda and Whole Foods and growlers of beer to be guzzled from Craft Beers.                                    

all photos courtesy of http://www.nycfoodfilmfestival.com

 For a complete schedule and tickets go to:http://www.nycfoodfilmfestival.com/tickets.html                                             

………..and the award goes to?                                                


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Mario Coppola and Chef Giuseppe Castellano of Gran Gusto [Cambridge Massachusetts] open Tiella on July 12th .Tiella’s railroad shaped space -so far, features rustic brick walls, dark wood modern decor and sleek drop  down lighting. In the kitchen is the smallest New York State approved brick oven, which will be firing up various baked Tiella dishes at a toasty 800 degrees.Get your baking and pastry
certification with mfa degree.
.The concept of Tiella was born after a raucous night at Brooklyn’s Rosewater restaurant, where Napoli natives and long time amici’s, Coppola and Castellano, were enjoying dinner-when one, jokingly said to the other -“why don’t you stick it in your Tiella!” Right at that moment the pair decided to devote an entire restaurant to a unique cast iron Neapolitan style pan by the same name.  
 
The “Tiella” pan was traditionally used by the poor of Naples, to fry, bake, grill and deep fry a dish, which was named after the pan itself. A selection of Tiellas will be featured- more likely as appetizers. “Giuseppe has about 10 Tiellas, we don’t know yet which ones we will use on the menu.” remarks Coppola. Some possible choices for Tiellas that appear are the “Fruilano”-with Tallegio and Speck; the “Proscuitto”-with Foie gras and Prosciutto and the “Pescatore”-with Mussels, clams and Mozzarella.
 
Tiella will also focus on many pastas, most of them homemade, such as a Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Clams and Zucchini and a Fettuccine Intergrale [Whole Wheat] with calamarelli and morel mushrooms. Again, with uncertainty of which dishes Castellano will choose to feature, Coppola says, “Poi per Secondi” -then switching back to English-“For main course, we could have something like a Branzino di Ceci [chick-pea cream sauce] or an Agnello [Rack of Lamb] marinated with fresh herbs and roasted in the “Tiella”pan with sautéed spinach.”      
 
Tiella will be open July 12th for Lunch from 12pm-3pm and Dinner from 5pm-11pm 6 days a week, they will also feature a selection of lesser known Italian wine varietals, such as Negra Amaro, Primitivo and Magliaco.       

  

 
Tiella
1109 1st Avenue
NY, NY 10065
x 61st
Ph:212.588.0100
Fx: 212.588.0102
 
http://www.tiellanyc.com/

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Keeping up with the ongoing burger craze in New York, Tall Grass burger shone its light on the burger addled scene recently in the East Village. Owner Kevin Huynh is no stranger to the restaurant business, having run several Quantum Leap outlets in the city. Yes… That’s right! I said Quantum Leap–the city’s well-known den of vegetarian fodder. Huynh traitorously switched to the dark side of the trade, by slinging out various carnivore favored sandwiches including 6 grass-fed burgers, a turkey burger and flame-grilled chicken versions. Tall Grass Burger is a modern, clean and simple burger shop, complete with friendly staffs that are clearly learning the ropes in the burger world. With counter service and a help-yourself condiment station, Tall Grass serves up colorful names to label their beefy delights. I asked one the staffers, “What should I order? ” After initially a blank face expression, I got the nod to go with the signature Tall Grass, which was generously stacked with crispy onion rings, sliced avocado, cheddar cheese and fiery horseradish mustard.
 
 
  I found out about the Tall Grass Burger from The NYC Food Guy, which he reported on, and he was then featured on Eater . He stated that, “Tall Grass Burger was doing a buy one-get one 50% off deal”. I snatched up the chance to take advantage of this thrifty opportunity, and get burgered East Village style. Tall Grass has a small dining room with counter tables and perched window seats, where I gazed overlooking the yellow chariots whizzing by on a balmy New York afternoon. I was treated to an array of fried potatoes, which was overzealously forced upon me, by one of Huynh’s staffers. As I waited for my “Classic and Tall Grass” burgers I tasted the fries which were speckled with little crystals of garlic that burst onto the buds with every bite-which unfortunately was over powering.
 
 
 
 

The burgers arrived, and I was impressed with freshness of the pickles, onion, and fronds of lettuce splashed on the paper lined baskets that were the vehicle for my burger tasting. An oozing of horseradish mustard cascaded down the side of the soft bun, which had been griddle pressed to perfection from the top, leaving a toasted char on the roof of the sandwich. The scent of toasted sesame instantly hit the nose, followed by a juicy but season less patty. For the Tall Grass burger, the flavor was accented by excellent horseradish mustard which was the highlight- the burger meat itself lacked depth and finished in my mouth as a nonchalant memory. I’m sure a less than fanatic burger adventurer would find some solace and satisfaction in this deli mimicked nosh, but for me- Tall Grass was a “short order”.

 


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  • Recently I visited the much blogged and written about Stand burger. In its conceptual phase it was expressed by a who’s who of food aficionados that such criminalist burger atrocities had occurred there. A penchant for the dramatic and skeptical, I was interested to see what sparked such auspicious burger educators to voice their dissatisfaction. Interestingly Stand Burger was created by noodle king Jonathan Morr , famous for APT and Republic  who then in 2007 started to think burgers. Stand has a modern open feel with some communal bench seating and a spacious dining room, perfect for a large crowd. I sat at the bar which was teaming with youngsters and college types. ESPN was showing on all TV’s and people were drinking like fish for 3.00pm in the afternoon, which made for a raucous bar scene. I found out there was a relatively new burger on the menu, the BOLD Burger, a gigantic twin patty goliath of Pat La Frieda beef stacked on a brioche bun with apple wood smoked bacon, sautéed onions, American and cheddar cheese, pickle, tomato, chipotle sauce and fried egg.
     
       
     
    The menu has an array of beefy pleasures, burgers for every palette are featured here such as  the Stand Burger noted as the “best burger in Manhattan at any price” with onion marmalade; Mushroom Beef Burger, Buffalo Blue Cheeseburger,Veggie Burger with quinoa, mushroom, zucchini and parmesan and the Hamburger with shredded lettuce onion marmalade and green peppercorn sauce. Other favorites on the menu include a Burger Salad, Shrimp Po’Boy, Crabbie Pattie Sandwich, fries and Onion rings-which are blogged about as the best in the city!
     
     
    I went with the Hamburger, BOLD Burger, and the much hyped about Toasted Marshmallow Shake. The Hamburger arrived first; it was plump and piled with shredded lettuce and green peppercorn sauce oozing out the sides. I thought the green peppercorn sauce brought an interesting element to the burger, tasting like steak au poivre more than a burger. In the distance I could see the BOLD Burger coming from the kitchen; it was like a tower of beef and pork levitating across the room. All I could see was this thing of structured beef beauty coming at me, it was daunting but at the same time exciting. I picked it up to take my first bite, struggling to handle its bulkiness. I opened wide, but just grazed the outside of the beast, the taste was succulent and juicy for the first 2 or 3 bites but then fell apart in my hands ending up like a meatloaf on my plate. I finished what I could of the burger, but it lost its juiciness and its flavor and ended up in torn mangled pieces on my plate. The Toasted Marshmallow shake with honey lavender chocolate, peanut butter cap, mint cookies and cream; however was one of the best things I have ever tasted ! It didn’t have any Bourbon in it, but it was a good $7.00 milkshake. In a burger addled town I found Stand to be disappointing, however the overall atmosphere and the staff were very friendly and invitingly appealing.

     
     

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  • Past penned Frederick Lesort opened AvroKO designed, Plein Sud recently at The Smyth Hotel in Tribeca. The Southern French fare restaurant and Bar a Vin, wreaks of taste and potential.  The atmosphere is lavished with elegant, yet simple bars perches overlooking the street and comfy chic style banquettes span the dining room. Chef Ed Cotton’s menu headlines an array of Gallic Classics like; Coq au vin, Croque Monsieur, Charcuterie,Boeuf  Bourguignon and Pâté et Terrines. Of course there’s a burger as well, and big surprise it’s a Pat La Frieda!  Le Burger Royale au Fromage, or Royale with cheese, is an 8 oz. Black Angus soft centre oozing of creamy white cheddar and propped on a shiny toasted brioche bun. Oh! And the piste de résistance is a slather of decadent black truffle aioli.

    I comfortably sank into my banquette, watching all the Mothers on Mother’s Day soak up the love of their families through food and conversation. Missing my own mother, I looked for more immediate solution to my emotional dilemma-a big fat Le Burger Royale!  It arrived to my table looking gorgeous, towering over a small side salad, and unfortunately slithered rather than slathered with the black gold-like substance. I mean I couldn’t even smell it! What did I annoy the waiter or something? I was painfully disappointed at the lack of Black Truffle aioli on my burger. Despite the lack of truffles, the flavor was adequate, juicy and homey; my mouth salivated with every bite yearning for another and another. Upon reaching the epicenter of the patty there was an eruption of cheese that burst and oozed onto my palette. The crispness of the bun and the buttery saltiness of the Pat La Frieda blend was decent and worth it. At $15.00, a typical price these days for an haute-burger, the Le Burger Royale comes with crispy thin French fries or a side salad.  Tell them to be generous with the truffle aioli which the manager pointed out later, “They will gladly do.”

     
     
     
     
    Plein Sud is connected to the Thompson Hotel Group’s newest venture the Smyth Hotel, they have delicious coffee and many other bistro-esque delectables. The kitchen is open at 6am for breakfast, on the weekend brunch menu you’ll find ” trois” le ouefs Benedict variations, and a trio of breakfast flatbreads…..”Life is like a box of chocolates” but with this one, you know what you’re gonna get!

    Plein Sud’s Dinner Menu 
    Plein Sud’s Brunch Menu
     

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    When I walked into this surf-esque, tin-shed walled restaurant two words immediately came to mind, Costa Rica and Taco! Well..that’s three but you get the idea. Co-owner Tracey Gardell shares this great little Montauk outpost,with her surfer sons and family. After the horrors of 9/11 Tracey and her clan shipped out from Downtown Manhattan to Montauk, a decision they’ve never regretted. 668 The Gigshack is a global surf cuisine hotspot blasting the vibes of the endless summer lifestyle through kitsch bohemian like decor, rad surfing videos, Pollack inspired art, and plenty of young smiles. The kitchen is spearheaded by Tracey’s 20-year-old son Gray Gardell, the talented creator such items as; “Montacos”- crispy fish tacos with Mango Salsa and creamy slaw; “Lamburginis” spiced lamb sliders with aioli and “The Shack Burger” a Bison goliath with creamy white cheddar.
     

     
     
    I mentioned Costa Rica, because in my opinion the best fish taco’s I have ever had were at Bubba’s in Jaco Beach,Costa Rica. 668 The Gigshack’s vibe transformed me back to that happy memory. The simplicity and explosive flavor of  a Bubba’s crispy fish, mango and fresh lime taco, a welcome delight after I busted my ass trying to surf like Kelly Slater. Ok…enough about tacos for now, this is a burger blog, and I was here to sample this Bison beast that these gnarlatious dudes were selling. An unexpected treat of Crab Cakes with fresh lime and creamy aioli came to the table, I snarfed these tasty babies up before they had a chance to cool, greedily waiting to see if I was to be blessed with more food. It wasn’t long before Gray broke out the “Montacos” topped with bright yellow sweet mangos and creamy red slaw. I had high expectations but happily the ” Montacos” didn’t disappoint, the taste can only be described as “Primo”. This place was the type of restaurant that I could have sat all day sipping Dead Guy Ales and eating my face off ! There was so many scrumptious goods on the menu that it was system overload for my taste buds. In addition Tracey is also killer cake-maker, her signature Red-Velvet Cake was world-class, but for the moment my sights were set on Bison. I waited chatting with Tracey, who looks more like a hot rocker chic, than an accomplished restaurateur and pastry chef, she started this restaurant with her kids and the locals in mind, she says “a place they can find themselves”.
     
     
     
     
     Tracey says, “the burger is not our specialty”, but the Bison was calling me so I stuck my ground and gave her the stern, “I want my burger face”. The burger arrived fat and juicy, I gave a nod to The Big Kahuna and  I tore into it like a grommet on a wave. The flavor was decent for a bison, the creamy cheese ran down my face as I aggressively devoured it -always a happy feeling. Bison for me in the past has been dry, but “The Shack Burger” kept moist throughout-good job Gray! Additional favorites on the menu are: New England Clam Chowder;BBQ pork Empanadas with Chipotle sauce;Lobster Sliders;Soft Shell Crab BLT; and Choripan, which is a grilled Argentine Sausage on a Baguette with a Provolone and Chimichurri Sauce. The long ride on the Jitney awaited, but thank-fully I had some of Tracey’s delicious Red-Velvet Cake to soften the woes that I felt leaving such a great place.

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    Off the highway and down a desolate dirt road in the posh hamlet of Montauk is where you’ll find new restaurant, Navy Beach. A massive make-over reveals a smart-chic beachy restaurant with 200 ft of sand and serene views at its door step. A large bar anchors the dining room with white-washed panelling and exposed brick walls. The decor consists of nautical memorabilia, glossy photographs of swimsuit models, and wall mounted boxes housing vintage 1950′s style bathing suits and caps. Chef Paul La Bue is at the helm navigating a seasonal coastal favorite menu with an emphasis on local seafood. I was cordially invited by new owners Franklin Ferguson, Frank Davis and his wife Kristina, to the friends and family launch, which was filled with locals feeling excited and relieved that Navy Beach had graced their community. Apparently, the predecessor Sunset Saloon, hadn’t been anything special for the last couple of years.

       

    My catch was The Navy Burger, an 8oz. meaty monstrosity constructed with a special hand ground beef blend from Cromer’s Market in Sag Harbor. The chef’s secret is a smokey sweet bacon marmalade which was generously slathered over the top of the patty. I was escorted to my beach-side perch along the far wall passing plenty of vino soaked patrons as they took advantage of the laid back vacay life style. The fire lights that were buried in the sand outside my window beautifully flickered as I struggled to see the menu. A happy haze came over me as I gained my thoughts and realized, ” I’m on the beach in Montauk, New York……not St. Barths or Anguilla! ” The server took my order as I settled in with a trio of blue points and a cold beverage to satisfy my sea-air propelled hunger. The oysters were meaty and smooth, with a hint of sweet-a perfect burger prelude.

     
     
     

    The burger arrived glistening with fatty goodness as loads of thick gooey bacon marmalade cascaded on to the plate. The first bite was a party of flavor in my mouth, from the smokey sweetness of the marmalade, to the velvety creaminess of the cheese. The bun was a faux-Spotted Pig style grillade version, light and toasty and melt in your mouth. As I wiped the last thumb full of marmalade off my plate,I answered the waiter’s question “How was everything?? ” …without saying a word!
     
      In addition to the burger the menu also features, Halibut Ceviche;Asian Chicken Salad with honey-miso dressing,Lobster Pot Pie and Pan-Roasted Filet with Lobster Tempura. The host and staff of Navy Beach made this moment memorable and definitely one I want to repeat.
     


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    Open for only a few days, Black Swan NYC is the latest in the Gastropub craze sweeping New York. Located in a restaurant starved section of Bed Stuy-Brooklyn, the owner Sershan Pather wanted to open a nondescript neighborhood spot, Sershan says, “where people could just hangout”. The ex-auto shop is shielded with a black fortress like front,the dining room is plastered with black wood paneling, hefty hand carved recycled wooden tables, banquettes and a long communal that completes the room. At the entrance, the bar is large and comfortable with various ales,stouts,and lagers from the four corners of the globe, all supplied by Craft Beers. The menu is nouveau pub fare,with Chef Cynthia Walker late of Brown Betty turning out plates like, Salt Cod Fritters with Carmel Ginger sauce, Roasted Island Spice Chicken with butter Rum plantain mash and sautéed collard greens and Chicken Wings [served at the bar] with sweet & spicy Thai or Jerk sauce. Sershan says,” This is a culturally rich neighborhood, with no real quality place to eat, it was nice seeing the guy that’s lived in the neighborhood for 40 years eating next to young students who just moved in”.

    The Black Swan burger is available loaded with assorted toppings, such as bacon, avocado, goat cheese or fried egg.Today I’m having it the way owner Cynthia likes it, with white cheddar, caramelized onions and a little ketchup. The beef is from The Piccinini Brothers, who also supplies Dumont burger. I sat in a banquette and watched Palermo beat AC Milan in the Serie A soccer, anxiously awaiting Cynthia’s handy work. My burger arrived perfectly stacked with white cheddar, an 8 oz. patty smothered in caramel brown onions, on a well toasted brioche from Balthazar Breads. The fries were stuffed into a chinese take-out box, and were crispy thin, with just the right amount of salt. The burger was juicy and forthcoming with plenty of flavor, the crunchiness of the brioche was a little troubling and crumbly, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. If I could change anything-that would be it. The burger was fat, pretty and had plenty of personality- not a bad first time Black Swan burger.

    After a Planes,Trains,and Automobiles type trek to Black Swan NYC, I was greeted by an excitement and fledgling restaurant staff, that were generally happy and looking forward to serving their neighborhood,mostly locals, some of which decide to hangout there on their night off. This attitude and commitment, and good solid Gastropub chow , will hopefully keep this place a float. I enjoyed my experience at Black Swan, and the burger was worth the 35 plus minutes it took me to get there by the MTA’s shoddy haulage.

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    After forty years of deterioration, Harlem’s population began to see a speedy increase sociocultural changes in the late 1990s. This was due to a change in federal and state laws and policies, including a concerted effort by local crime fighters to clean up, and wash out the bad element that plagued the area. In 1994, when the city began supplying funds for the area, it increased the property value rapidly to approximately 300% today-even President Bill Clinton moved in. Despite all of these positive changes the folks in Harlem have had little to experience as far as fine dining goes, maybe a fried chicken leg or bowl of collards-not that was a bad thing. Finally 5 and Diamond Restaurant has arrived, a neat modest little restaurant serving a loud and exciting menu, complete with a mouth-watering fat-back burger, to a culinary starved and growing neighborhood.

    Chef de cuisine David Santos, told me “The neighborhood was really crying out for a good brunch/dinner place, people are stopping me on the street and thanking me”. Chef/Owner Ryan Skeen, of such restaurants as Resto,The General Greene, Irving Mill and Allen and Delancey, teamed with local Harlemer’s Lia San Filippo and Selene Martinez to open 5 and Diamond. After some reality show worthy controversy, the team seems to be on a smooth, less dramatic course. The brunch menu is a touch of Southern home comfort featuring; Cornmeal Griddle Cakes with banana walnut butter,Yogurt Granola with fresh fruit, Buttermilk Biscuits with homemade apple butter, Tracy’s Canadian Fried Chicken, and David Santos’s Shrimp and Grits Hush puppies with smoked paprika aioli. The dinner menu was a solid Mediteranean/American feel,featuring Cavendish Quail and Liege Salad,Rabbit Sugo Parpardelle, 28 day Aged Creekstone Bone-in Shell Steak with roasted mushrooms,creamed Tuscan kale and tobacco onions.

    I sat in the window seat surrounded by a modern Japanese-esque style decor with antique style steel bay windows. There is a sleek counter bar where patrons can order from a bar menu highlighting Grilled Prawns with Papa’s Fritas and Gruyere and Mimolette Mac n Cheese. The Pat Lafrieda burger,was perfected by Skeen at his last venture, and is carefully constructed with a 60%/30% blend of beef cheek, bavette and pork fat back-which is ground on-site daily. This “heart stopper” was a gorgeous, 6 oz creation slathered with luscious white cheddar cheese, fresh homemade vinegar dill pickles, red onion and lettuce-all stacked on a char-soft potato bun. I started with a tasting of the Buttermilk Biscuits with creamy-fruity homemade apple butter, which were divine. The Shrimp and Grits Hush puppies followed, with smoked paprika aioli-these “puppies” were crispy and delectably fantastic !  The Yogurt Granola with plump strawberries and blackberries was fresh and delightful. After this bevy of  pleasure it was burger time, the pork-beef beast arrived open-faced with duck fat fried home fries in tow. I carefully stacked the green leafy lettuce and crunchy dill pickles into a towering impressive looking sandwich. The first bite was juicy and bloody, pork fat back ran over  my hands as my eyes rolled back in my head, my thought was, ” These guys are onto something here ! ”  The burger flavor was salty, robust and aromatic, accented by the tartness of the vinegar dills and a buttery potato bun. The fries however, were not my favorite, tasting kind of stale and greasy. The 5 and Diamond burger was definitely one of my favorites in the city, for the hearty eaters there is a Texas Burger version with fried egg and bacon that sparked my interest too-maybe next time.

     5 and Diamond, is worth the trip North, so if you’re the type that thinks that there’s no treasures above 59th Street, slip on your loafers and grab a taxi to Harlem. The bad element that was once part of this hood, is transforming into young urban yupsters with an appetite for Noveau chic cuisine. The tasting menu that showcases Sea Urchin,Seafood Tagliatelle, Rabbit and Ratatouille Sausage Spaetzle, Duo of Lamb and Spiced glazed Doughnuts is a steal at $50 with wine pairing $85.00. Thank-you to Chef David Santos and Ryan Skeen for making my brunch-“a spa experience for my mouth”.

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