Posts Tagged ‘best burger in nyc’

A buff ,but cordial doorman ,stands shifting his weight from side to side, while a pretty reservationist with almond shaped eyes shares  the aroma of charred beef and uncorked Bordeaux with awaiting patrons. These are images and sensations of Minetta Tavern. This  personified “classic steakhouse meets neighborhood” tavern by  restaurateur virtuoso, Keith McNally, plays for a raucous sophisticated audience and  its routine is flawless. Knowledgeable servers dressed penguin-like circulate hurriedly around the black and white checkered floors, a steadfast all-knowing manager, and a cheeky, yet comedic bartender-completes this cast of Minetta players. Like the set of a 40’s film, the stage is a grand ole tavern with faded frescos of a New York now past. Finishing’s of deep brooding oak enhance McNally’s trademark leather banquettes that are romantically positioned beneath littered charactertures of anonymous old  neighborhood guys that reflect some of these past iconic patrons-nestled tightly around the room- each booth telling a story.  Minetta Tavern was once a haunt for New York poets, writers and educators-opening in 1937 and named for the Minetta Brook which ran southwest from 23rd Street to the Hudson River. Offering an exclusive patronage to the rich and famous is often coupled with a somewhat reclusive attitude when making a reservation, especially when only a private number allows one to do so. I, however, did not experience anything, but prime treatment. Perhaps I was lucky or mistaken for someone very rich and famous.   

Minetta TavernMinetta Tavern 

Photos above by Daniel Krieger

Co-chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr team together to adequately float the now pride of McNally’s fleet-Balthazar being their maiden voyage together. The Hanson and Nasr team assemble a far cry from the red sauce Italian/American Trattoria menu that once was slopped here on diner’s plates. Today a carefully constructed myriad of primeval gratification that instantly makes the diner hankering and hoggish at the mere sight of the menu. Also subtlety teasing the palate with dainty flashes of hors d’oeuvres like; the Asparagus Vinaigrette [$16] with fresh ricotta, pickled honshimeji mushrooms, marcona almonds, lemon and micro shisu; the Dressed Prawns [ $18 ] with Bibb lettuce, trevise, haricot vert, celery root remoulade; and a delicately fresh Watercress and Oyster Soup [$14]. On the contrast, my table stuck with the gluttonous “Flintstone- like” bone-marrow that arrived on a stark white plate. Two large shin bones gormandized with gelatinous goodness lay before you. If you want to recreate this feeling? Turn your love of food into a Culinary Arts Degree with
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The diner then sparingly spreads onto crusty baguette points and can then be dunked into a shallot confit. The conversation at our table was muffled and interrupted by groans of happiness and content. Other omnivores that were sitting in the vicinity were gorging on other “Grillades” menu items, like the Bone-In New York Strip [$45], Lamb Saddle “Tranche” [$28],Veal “Porterhouse” Chop $36 and the bountiful Dry Aged Côte de Boeuf [$104 ] for two, with roasted marrow bones and sucrine lettuce salad. Typical pommes favorites [Frites and Anna] and a Legumes selection rounded the menu.

Black Label burger cross section @ Minetta Tavern

Above Photo from ExFlexitarian on Flickr

Minetta Tavern

Photo by Kathy YL Chan from Flickr

 Although all of these fore mentioned menu selections are stars in their own right, the crowd pleaser of Minetta, of late has been the Black Label Burger. The clandestine blend, exclusively created by La Frieda for McNally, has been talked about, admired, and unsuccessfully duplicated since its inception. A secret blend of highly selected aged beef cuts is molded into a patty and gently placed on a piping hot flat grill and generously mopped with clarified butter until pinkish red inside. The succulent plump patty is then perched on a soft toasted brioche.-All sounds simple enough because it is just that. The complexity of flavor equals a brilliance and superiority against any other counterpart. At $26 the Minetta Burger may not be eaten on the regular, but should be tried at least once. Furthermore, the quest for the best burger in NYC is now in danger of being completed and sealed. Only time will tell.     
Minetta Tavern on Urbanspoon


I grew up in Australia,which is a fanatical, tea saturated country and the idea of having a spot of tea in the afternoon was in-bred in my psyche at a very young age. Sanctuary T located in swanky cocktail and espresso laden Soho, is a testament to the wonders and flavors of the world’s best teas. Owner Dawn Cameron and Chef Kenn McGoey have created a spa-salon like tea temple complete with potable and non-potable versions of the ancient leaf. The decor is dark wood modern, panelling with an open floor plan and outdoor bay windows facing busy West Broadway. I was welcomed by manager Kermit and his band of tea servants and given a perch right in the window with the aroma of 50 brews of tea wafting through the air and I immediately fell into a tranquil state,as I tried to concentrate on my friends excited chatter.

The menu features typical brunch fare with a European twist, also known for tea infused creations such as Salmon Poached in Red Moon Tea, Halibut slow cooked in Lychee Black Tea and Smoked Turkey Eggs Benedict infused with Pear Cinnamon Tea. The burger on the menu, which used to be a slider, recently was promoted to a fines herb seasoned patty served on a towering sesame freckled brioche with blue cheese and roasted tomato. I sipped a refreshing goblet of Iced Rose Tea, and observed several people seep in the Zen like atmosphere, possibly concocted by the Long Island like version being readily served.

My burger arrived sitting appealing on a plate with a side salad, although to my disappointment it was cut in half, thereby undoubtedly letting the beautiful juice run out on the plate. I took my first bite and was welcomed with a rich aromatic herb flavor, followed by a storm of creamy blue cheese and roasted tomato. The bun was lightly toasted and perfect, I thought the overall flavor of the patty was impressive, but lacked in succulence and juiciness. It wasn’t a large burger,reflecting kind of spa like persona about it. Not that this was a bad thing, but something to be aware of before visiting. For those of you that are famished, I would recommend coupling this one with a heaping helping of tea infused French Fries. Prices are Soho marked, and you should call for a reservation  to avoid waits. The staff are friendly and cordial, and are the type that will do their best to make your experience special. To replicate your tea flavor experience in your home kitchen, be sure to grab a souvenir of some of their ingenious T Dust Tea Seasoning on your way out.

Sanctuary T on Urbanspoon

On Bleecker and Grove Street in the restaurant saturated West Village, lies newly opened Choptank. Named for the river that flows into the Chesapeake Bay where the owners grew up, this upscale seafood shack is inspired by the very cuisine of that Maryland region. Native proprietor Bobby Werhane famed for other well-loved comfort spots such as Dell’Anima and L’Artusi, came together with Chef Matthew Schaefer and culinary servant Kevin Patricio, featuring a varietal menu consisting of Binkert’s German Sausage, Fried Oyster Po-boys and Fried Chicken with Black pepper honey. I was greeted by kind and gracious  Bobby Werhane who ushered me through his modern, yet contemporary maritime decorated split level restaurant, complete with a charming outdoor space where he says “We’re going to have some killer crab boils in the summer”- the sound of which made my ears perk up! Hoping for an invite to such an auspicious seasonal event, I stared and daydreamed that I was lounging outdoors slurping oysters and chomping on peel your own Gulf shrimp while downing cold beverages and enjoying witty banter with friends and passer bys…..alas not just yet ! I would be content tonight in a warm cosy nook gorging on my warm hearty burger watching pedestrians lumber along clenching their coats against the last of New York’s winter.

Before long, my lovely waitress served me some tantalizing Old Bay seasoned potato crisps, which were accompanied by a tangy smooth crab dip which was very rich in flavor and insanely tasty. The signature burger that I was to choose, featured a goliath 8oz blended patty, juicy and full of flavor slathered in rich creamy aged Wisconsin cheddar, pickled pepper mayo, fried onions and bacon-jam, all nestled on a perfectly toasted speckled sesame seed bun. I grabbed the burger like fisherman hauls a catch, trawling the sandwich into my mouth savoring the flavor as my eyes closed with content and delight. This was a good catch, not going to throw this one away! However, when practicing the same action on a lightly fried Oyster po-boy, I was greeted with an uninviting flavor which caused me to want to throw this catch back ! I was disappointed, and left the Po-Boy to revert back to my delicious burger. I chatted to a couple of regulars at a nearby table who swear by the crispy Fried Chicken, Virginia Ham, and zesty rock shrimp tacos. I was really happy with the burger and was very impressed with the friendliness of upfront and hands on owner Bobby Werhune, and his competent staff.

Choptank has various seating options such as an oyster bar, dining room and cosy window nooks. The bar is full featuring a plethora of micro brews and wines if that’s your thing, Choptank is a great neighborhood landing spot to enjoy all varietals of tasty Maryland inspired fare and one heck of-a-good burger. I’ll be checking back in when the weather’s warmer for those crab and shrimp boils, maybe you should do the same !


The famous Spotted Pig was the scene for my most recent burger gorge, the otherwise known Gastropub with famed pork servant April Bloomfield at the helm was a long-awaited treasure. I finally worked up the courage and patience to face the long sometimes 2 hour waits that were promised, only to be pleasantly surprised and whisked upstairs by a more than capable “piglet” for a spot at the bar. I look around at the room and was in bewilderment by the amount of people devouring the juicy signature burger! “Could it be that good”? “Could it be that popular”? The answer to that will be revealed, for now I was taking in the sights of the trend setting fashionista’s and urban pop foodies dining and chatting in a decor that resembles someone’s Grandmothers house rather than a critically acclaimed eatery. With old-fashioned trinkets, pig ornaments and flea market type memorabilia, it made for a visually entertaining rest while I waited for my famous beef party on a bun. The Michelin star winning “Pig”-as Ms. Bloomfield calls it-came about in 2004 after partnering with other culinary giants Ken Friedman and Mario Batali-whom she is also in cohorts together with many other restaurants, such as John Dory and newly famed Breslin.

 The much written about burger that I was about to sample, was everywhere on diners plates, seemingly calling me from every angle of the room with its perfectly grilled bun creamy Roquefort and tangles of rosemary strip fries. I grew impatient as I smelt the aroma’s of rosemary and beautifully pungent cheese waft through the air as yet another burger was served to a nearby customer. ” When was it my turn”? I thought to myself. After some witty jovial conversation with the bartender, my wait was over….this glorious beast of a burger was placed down on the bar in front of me, it’s pure beauty captivated me for a second as I decided which way I was going to bite into it, with condiment or without ? I opted for it as is, and my taste buds were swamped with an overwhelming flavor combination of superior beef quality and excellence in creamy Roquefort. My knowledgeable cheese source (MB) informed me that the much sought after Roquefort cheese featured on the Spotted Pig burger was in very near danger of being ousted by the triple increased tariff placed on luxury goods. Thankfully the Gods saved us all from such a travesty and future happy burger eaters can continue to savor this delightful creation as nature and Ms. Bloomfield intended.


I enjoyed every last morsel of my burger as I occasionally paused not wanting it to end, the strands of rosemary fried potatoes were insanely good and crispy. I found myself shoveling these fries into my mouth as onlookers watched in amazement. I could have eaten everyone else’s plate in the place!  I was like some hunger crazed animal let loose in a cage of harmless and defenseless prey, gorging till there was no tomorrow. But sadly after a few minutes, my Spotted Pig experience was but a memory. In case you haven’t realized by this story, this portion of my quest at the Spotted Pig was pretty much perfect! The staff was pleasant and professional, the atmosphere was fun and lively and most of all the burger was in a word “AMAZING”. At $17 it’s on the high-priced side for a burger, but personally I thought it was worth every penny.

Spotted Pig on Urbanspoon

I was kind of hungry after work so I thought an impromptu burger tasting may be the ticket to a gloomy cold New York day. I stumbled upon this attractive little bar/bistro on 17th Street, it was full of glamorous looking types nestling in for a end of day beverage and bite to eat. I approached the staff and was immediately escorted through a bustling dining room to my table in the back, surrounded by a mix of tourists and locals I was certain that I liked the atmosphere of this urban hideaway pretty much immediately. A enthusiastic server from New Zealand suggested that I give the Rye House Burger a go ! I obliged and settled in for the short wait gazing around the room admiring all the happy and festive New Yorkers enjoying the holiday season. The owner Julio visited my table and offered a friendly greeting and begun to recollect the night he and his buddies came up with the idea for this charming American style bar, the decor consisted of large communal wooden tables and dark comfy leather booths, soft lighting and Pennsylvanian collectables. Whilst my burger arrived I was treated to some delicious mini-corn dogs that did not last long in front of me, served with a robust and spicy mustard these babies were rockin ! Before long my Rye House burger had arrived, delivered with a generous portion of crispy hand cut French fries my burger was fixed with fresh green lettuce, rose red tomatoes and irresistibly rich gruyere cheese. I took my first bite and was pleasantly excited by the roasted charcoal flavor mixing with the velutinous texture of the gruyere, however much to my disappointment the foundation of the burger, the bun was coarse and flaky. After a few bites the bun disintegrated in my hand and I was left with the meat patty itself, now I know things can happen in restaurants….like maybe there was no bun deliveries that day, so it wouldn’t sway me from returning to the Rye House. I was impressed with a very inventive menu with delectable items such as a Beef Wellington Sandwich , ( their signature I’m told) Crayfish Po’ Boy, Empanada’s, Sloppy Joe sliders and an extensive beer, whiskey and wine list.
All in all I think it was a real find and definitely worth a visit, just check on those buns guys !!

Rye House

On one of the worst weather days, I fought the Christmas revelers on 5th Avenue to finish some last minute Christmas shopping before honoring my appointment with the Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen. Owners Jonathan and Andrew Schnipper, had come to culinary fame by starting the popular Hale and Hearty Soup chain before trying their expertise at the burgers, their result was Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen. Now someone told me once there are three things to keep in mind when opening a restaurant, location location location, and they found it. Located at the foot of one of the busiest newspapers headquarters, this stark and spacious surgically clean burger joint has been on my list for some time, finally I was here!

After speaking with Jonathan, I was advised to try the Hickory Bacon Blue Burger, quite a mouth full huh? I wandered around the restaurant and could see the excitement in people eyes as they gorged themselves on many other Schnipper’s favorites such as, fish tacos, Mac and cheese, sweet potato fries and Sloppy Joes. For me however it was going to be Jonathan’s recommendation of crispy onions, smoky hickory BBQ sauce, blue cheese and bacon.

My burger arrived at the friendly and capable hands of the manager Joe, I attacked the body of the burger with a barrage of violent chomps, behaving like it was last meal and getting worrisome and horrifying glances from the table next to me. The flavor burst from the charcoal of the meat and the smokiness of the BBQ sauce almost brought me to tears it was so good, I stopped and thought to myself ” this is how a burger should be”. The French fries were equally tantalizing with a crispy sharp flavor that always is the perfect burger best friend.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, my friends at Schnipper’s urged upon me another specialty of theirs, the Green Chile Cheeseburger. When I tasted this spicy morsel I was pleasantly aroused by the roasted pepper flavor of the poblano Chile and the creamy blend of cheese that covered the meat patty, a different flavor but one I will gladly repeat.

So for many mere burger mortals that would have been enough, but for me I felt I would be cheating myself terribly if I didn’t try just one more of the Schnipper’s meaty treats. I sheepishly took myself back to the cashier and asked for a regular cheeseburger with crispy onions, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese and the mysteriously good Schnipper’s sauce. When asked what was in the contents of this fine condiment I was given a rightfully vague answer, after all you don’t want that secret getting out!

The cheeseburger went down with no problem at all, leaving behind in my taste buds a feeling of freshness and flavor that I feel won’t be rivaled for some time. In case you hadn’t guessed by reading this Schnipper’s was, well in a word AWESOME!! Just to re-cap the Hickory Blue Bacon Burger A+++, the Green Chile Cheeseburger A++, and the Cheeseburger with crispy onions and Schnipper’s Sauce…. PRICELESS!

I want to thank Jonathan and Andrew Schnipper, Manager Joe Richardson and all the friendly staff for making this a memorable burger moment.

I’ll definately will be back !






After feeling some mild post Thanksgiving depression, among other things I decided to participate in the quintessential New York pastime enjoyed between urban players, brunch. For this outing I chose to visit a rowdy, yet stylish New York landmark, 5 Napkin burger. Located in the theater district this restaurant has been slinging bistro style burgers to a pre-theater crowd for about a year and a half.

Decorated in contemporary modern decor, I awaited the usual restaurant server routine in a lavish booth, overlooking a view of busy Ninth Avenue. I was pleasantly surprised with a friendly greeting from the restaurant manager Caesar; he welcomed me and urged me to enjoy my burger!!

I ordered the Original 5 Napkin Burger one of numerous burgers on the menu, when the plate came I was enamored with a mountainous soft white bun before me in which the patty itself was beautifully hidden with a cascading flow of velvety comte cheese, caramelized grilled onions, and a robust rosemary garlic aioli. My first bite was heavenly, powered by the caramel flavor of the onions, then the freshness of the aioli, then lastly the woodsy charcoal taste of the patty it-self. There is a reason this place is called 5 Napkin burger, my hands were covered in juices as I devoured this creation into oblivion.

As an extra accompaniment I recommend the garlic Parmesan dusted French fries that go perfectly with this display of culinary expertise. The only negative aspect of this whole experience is that at some point it had to end. As I gazed into my barren plate, I felt satisfied, happy and content.

The Original 5 Napkin burger rates an A++ a great restaurant with friendly, prompt service a definitely must see on your brunch list.

Five Napkin Burger

Landmarc : situated in the city’s swanky AOL building, this newly iconic upmarket shopping mall cafe gets my vote for one of the best burgers I’ve had in a loooooong time, with a homemade bun and hearty flavorful patty and ample herb seasoned French fries, this is one to remember !! Good job Landmarc !!

Landmarc on Urbanspoon

Norma’s at Le Parker Meridien: Applewood smoked bacon burger…at $22.00 kind of pricey for a burger !! the smokey flavor of the bacon and the firm, yet softness of the bun was at first worth the $22.00, but then as I continued eating, I thought about so many other burgers in this great city of New York that were at the very least comparable, but not so heavy on the pocket !! definately food for thought !!

Norma's at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon