Posts Tagged ‘best burgers’

On a beautiful day: I travelled to Long Island City, Hunters Point to be exact, to Chef Ian Kapitan’s new spot Alobar. I was reluctant that such grande cuisine would exist in Long Island City-I was wrong!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alobar, a beautiful restaurant, with large open seating windows, stressed wood ceilings, a long marble bar that evokes a bright airy dining room space. Alobar was started by Jeff Blath (Jane) and Lisa Kalick (a physcian). In the kitchen, Chef Ian Kapitan’s menu boasts the gammit of all elevated comfort meat and seafood dishes, especially PORK! You’ll find a decadent charcuterie plate with piles of sweet norcino salami, Virginia prosciutto, boar & hazelnut patè, theres a Duck Confit “sloppy joe” with smoked ricotta, truffle, red wine onions, topped with sunny side up duck egg and mixed greens.You may want to try the Mac & Cheese “Carbonara” with four cheese blend, pancetta, truffle braised egg? All these items are reason to go to Alobar-but my quest here was the burger!
 
 
Coined the Hunters Point Burger, Chef Ian concocts a behemoth like stack-of typical burger toppings- except done exceptionally! there’s a moist patty, blanketed with warm creamy melted cheddar, smoked balsamic onions, spicy pickles and beer battered bacon-Yes! beer battered bacon. It that wasn’t enough to satisfy your flavor addiction, it comes with a heaping bowl of-skin on- truffle fries. The burger arrived and already I was excited over the crispy slabs of beer battered fried bacon that my mouth wasn’t going to wait long to dig in.
The crunch of that beer battered porky goodness resting upon a juicy plump patty was need I say-the sexiest thing I’ve tasted in a long while. The robust sweetness of the onions and the creamy silkiness of a high quality cheddar was welcoming and extremely good.
 
Alobar is a snout to tail, meaty poolooza of a restaurant with a comfort sensibility to the palate . Everything here is good, it’s so good-it’s almost bad! You’ll enjoy every guilt ridden bite into flavor town. Well done Alobar!
 


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Alobar

With Guide to Career
Education
you can learn to make these staples of American cuisine and
others like them.

Newly opened Blackburn Burger Bistro is situated in busy Hell’s Kitchen- open bay windows with faux-plant hedges will lead you into a decor like you were stepping into a Holiday Inn Express banquet room-red and beige walls, oversized floral patterned banquettes and a gaudy stain glass chandelier. The dining room is small with minimal wait staff with minimal knowledge of the product they are serving. The menu is moderately inventive featuring starters like grilled corn on the cob, and a Crab and Shrimp melt and various soups and salads. Happy couples, mostly tourists, sipping beer in tall warm glasses and wrestling with chewy Tandorri chicken with cous cous and leaves of lettuce. The grilled shrimp salad with bacon, avocado and citrus dressing, was simple and fresh. 

 

       

      

The burger headliner is the Blackburn signature -a classic beef pork blend with sautéed onions, a dollop of pimento mayo and a puffy lightly toasted bun. The Blackburn signature was charred black on an open flame grill, criss crossed crunchy edges and a medium well-cooked center. I was never asked how I would like it cooked and really never thought at the time to tell them. The patty was a little dry, but still with the crunchy pieces of charred burger, gave ample flavor and texture. Rich smokey sautéed onions were piled high on top and the pimento mayo added a nice smooth peppery flavor. The bun was surprisingly light and fluffy. The Vietnamese burger consisted of lean ground pork served with ham, cheese, daikon, carrot, cilantro and zesty chili garlic sauce served on the same puffy roll. The Vietnamese burger was the better of the two, a garden fresh porky flavor, with a crunch of the vegetables and the zing of the Asian chili sauce complementing it nicely. French Fries were partly skin left and sadly soggy, they also have a slider, a chicken burger with basil mayonnaise, and seafood burger with guacamole on a baguette. Blackburn’s staff were friendly if untrained and unsure, this hopefully for their sake will improve.


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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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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.

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Hidden in the outdoor pavilion of One Worldwide Plaza between 49th and 50th Streets in the Theater District of Manhattan, you’ll find Mother Burger. A burger joint with an outdoor beer garden/college campus type feel, Mother Burger also slings out, kobe dogs, grilled cheese,wings and $2.00 brews to urban youngsters, theater tourists and nearby locals. Created by Blockheads Burritos brothers Don and Ken Sofer, Mother Burger specializes in smashed fast-food type burgers reminiscent of a faux-In-Out style burger.I sat outside and gazed around at happy tables enjoying the spring weather, guys were downing jugs of amber and girls were sipping high potent umbrella drinks, I felt like I was on a Carnival Cruise in the Caribbean not a few blocks from Times Square-which could be good or bad depending on how you look at it.

Our waiter, who looked like the singer Moby, and was clearly still feeling the effects from “The Adult Flu” sauntered over and inaudiably mumbled the specials. His focus was  momentarily taken from our attention as he became increasingly worried about the flocks of “air rats” (pigeons) that were wreaking havoc on a nearby table. Reminiscent of that movie The Birds it was one of the more stranger events that have occurred during my burger dining days. Suddenly our whiskey-logged waiter came to the rescue, by banging two large plastic drink trays together. The sound was a loud and annoying clacking sound, that consequently caused the filthy flying rodents to scatter above the skies. Now that the drama was over I pondered on which burger to get, and I decided on the Single Mother with cheese and a double order of fries which are ordered separately. The burger arrived open-faced cradled in a tacky red basket,with a side container of “special sauce” which was undeniably Thousand Island dressing. The burger was relatively moist and decent, the flavor was good, and the fries were crispy. I tasted the freshness of the red-onion,pickles and tomato and the sharpness of the cheddar cheese as I consumed the little mother quicker than a pigeon picks up scraps.

Mother burger is cheap and cheerful and a moderately good burger joint with a colorful and friendly staff, if the weather is pleasurable, so will be the atmosphere. Indoors is more of a dive bar type feel than a restaurant, so stick to the outdoor seating, where you can bask in the sun and drink $2.00 Pabsts and watch the city walk by. The menu has some solid choices but stick to the simple items such as the burgers, kobe dogs and grilled cheese. And watch out for those umbrella drinks, they could leave a mark !

Mother Burger on Urbanspoon

Finally the wait is over, well nearly! Chef Jeremy Spector, accomplished culinarian of past eateries as Employees Only, Dogmatic Dog and Gramercy Tavern, heads up the helm at this British inspired restaurant, nestled in the East Village. I got the scoop, from a confidential burger source a couple of weeks ago, that a goliath meaty sandwich was going to appear on the menu for brunch to challenge this gotham of burger architects. The Brindle Room is the brain child of Chef Jeremy and CIA graduate Dean Piccolo, a beef fanatic, and owner of Sebastians Steakhouse in Morristown New Jersey. The Brindle room is a charming, cosy little Gastropub-like spot, serving a variety of fare with a small menu made up of three parts-spreads,small and large. The reason for this is to ensure an easy transition to seasonal and daily changes. Some features on the menu consist of a traditional Lancastrian speciality Potted Shrimp, Crispy shredded pork bellies with warmed spinach, and Roast Chicken with root vegetables in porcini jus. The restaurant is drowned in pleasant dark tones and has a feel, reminiscent of an old English ale house, featuring a Starck-esque wall length banquette, wooden stools and warm lighting.

I sat at the small counter/bar in the rear, and chatted to Chef Jeremy as he prepared a 9 oz patty, hand blended daily by Sebastians Steakhouse. The meat elements included aged trimmings of Short Ribs, Filet Mignon, Skirt and Rib-Eye. He pan-fried it in a seasoned cast-iron skillet, till char brown and juicy, assembled it in front of my eyes with a simple bun (soon to be Pain D’Avignon), creamy soft Stilton cheese, and earthy herb flavored caramelized onions. Perched in front of me with a generous bed of crispy hand-cut french fries, I wasted no time sampling this beautiful beast. The flavor was rich and powerful ! A mouth-watering succulence, mixed with full-bodied velvety taste of the Stilton, and slight tones of earthy herb and spice from the onions. The French-fries were perfect, crispy and salty. And to add a little” je nais se quoi” it’s also offered à cheval-with a fried egg.

The burger will open to a popular following in two or three weeks for brunch, or maybe you can pull up a bar stool like I did, and chew the fat with Chef Jeremy Spector and he might give you a sneak peek ? who knows? you may just have the luck of the Irish! or… is it the British?? Whatever! go and check out The Brindle Room and find out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

The Brindle Room

277 E 10th Street,

nr. Ave. A and 1st Ave

Ph: 212.529.9702

Recently I had the unique opportunity to try a different twist on America’s favorite sandwich, the Kimchi bulgogi burger is gorged by droves of young Korean students, sports enthusiasts and professionals alike. With over 240 locations littered across Korea, New York Hot Dog and Coffee company lived up to their namesake in 2008 and showed up on American soil to put a Korean twist on an American tradition. With a somewhat of a cult following that I was unaware of, my grand entrance into this stark modern dog and burger emporium brought a pleasant surprise to my face as well as taste buds. With flash bulbs popping, I walked into a horde of happy friendly tourists jostling for positions to get photographed against the backdrop of press and NYHDC food models in-cased in futuristic glass bubbles.

Bulgogi ,which literally means, ” fire-meat” because of the way it’s grilled over an open flame, originated in 37 BC and was served up to the King during the Josean Dynasty. Bulgogi consists of slivered sirloin which is marinated lovingly in freshly pureed fruits such as pears and apples among other savory ingredients for about 3 days. The meat is then piled high on top of a 7 ounce beef patty and assembled with pickles, lettuce and sesame seeds. An optional choice is Kimchi, which is a spicy crunchy fresh marinated cabbage.
The menu also consists of various different gourmet dogs, such as the Perro dog; with fresh tomatoes, pickles, jalapeno’s and bacon, the Dahk-Kalbi dog (54 calories) with tender marinated chicken in a traditional sweet sauce, lettuce and pickles, and the Texan dog with chili, cheddar and pepper jack cheese and crushed potato chips. The gracious staff including the owners daughter Jayne made me feel like a King. They ushered me into the sparsely designed rear dining room, with stark minimalistic decor and larger than life graphic images of people chomping on their signature burgers and dogs.

Today I was trying the Bulgogi burger, and the Bulgogi dog with Kimchi, even though my site is about the quest for the best burger, I couldn’t resist trying one of their gourmet dogs. Famous in Korea for being a healthy alternative to street food, NYHDC prides itself on using fresh quality ingredients in their products. For their hotdogs they use 100% beef brisket franks which are steamed and then grill over an open flame, which any hot dog connoisseur knows, gives the perfect fresh juicy snap when crunching into the frank, also these puppies weigh in at 190 calories which is easy on the midsection.
The burger was an explosive unique international flavor which can now be experienced outside of Korea, the hotdogs were fresh and tasty and the inclusion of the Kimchi was a definite plus. I was sold on NYHDC approach to these classic American favorites, and definitely enjoyed the people and flavors of Korea even if just for a short while. I believe the all food is to be savored and enjoyed, and in my opinion NYHDC achieved that with their complex native flavors.

New York Hot Dog & Coffee on Urbanspoon

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I trudged through the torrential blowing rain to a dark, enigmatic burger den on the Lower East Side. Located above speakeasy style bar Cabin Down Below, this dim-lit former pizza shop was quietly opened a couple of weeks ago by muffled owner Johnny T. Also owner of eclectic night haunts, The Bowery Electric and Niagara, Johnny was quite clear about keeping his restaurant free from the riff -raff of the press world. Fortunately the benefits of being a lowly burger blogger and not a superstar food journalist, is that I got carte blanche of this mysterious hideaway, for a brief moment. Black Market’s sexy decor consists of jet black leather banquettes, antique chandeliers and marble counter tops. A friendly group of hipsters are at the helm serving a minimal menu featuring oysters, burgers, tuna rolls and crudités.

 

 

I sat alone in the front of the restaurant and pondered, confused and asked myself two questions. The first was where were the gorgeous hip models and chic-punkster types that were supposedly frequenting? And secondly, why the bejeezes were the front steel shutters closed?? I decided against asking for the answers to those questions, fearing that my short right of passage as guest burger scribe would be revoked…. somewhat like the Soup Nazi …..NO BURGER FOR YOU!!! I quietly sat there and waited patiently for my burger, a blend which was yet again, flawlessly provided by Pat La Frieda’s. I watched the capable workings of my burger builder Mike, as he thrashed around the tiny counter kitchen to expertly assemble my tasting. He was joined by “Spanky” and “Reynolds” making up the trio of front men at Black Market that evening. My burger arrived with a perfectly toasted soft bun, crisp dill pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, and a generous portion of crispy French fries. My first bite was another heavenly mouthful of well blended, strong flavored beef that brought a smile to my face. I immediately thought Shake Shack …not because I was comparing it as better or worse, but because it reminded me of a simplistic, beautifully constructed burger that I could eat over and over.

The French Fries were doused in black pepper and salt, rendering the flavor spicy and addictive. Not wanting to outstay my welcome, I snapped up my fries, took the last bite of my tasty burger, slurped my diet coke, and asked for the check. The price was affordable at $11.00, which was great for a burger of its quality and taste. I hope and wish Johnny T and all the guys well in their new venture, I am sure that if his other projects are any indication, he won’t have a problem.

Black Market on Urbanspoon

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

On Grammy Awards Sunday I thought it was appropriate to catch the final day of the Brooklyn Museum’s Rock and Roll Photo Exhibit, featuring the worlds rock stars in various collections by famous shutterbugs. I meandered through Park Slope looking for a pre-museum snack, settling on Bonnie’s Grill a modest little home-style diner located on 5th Ave in Park Slope. With a long counter and a handful of tables, I propped myself at the bar and thumbed through the menu, which included such hits as Buffalo wings, Veggie Chili, and various homestyle dishes.

The Black Angus spiced rubbed burger had my name all over it. I watched in amazement as the cook served up dishes for the entire restaurant single handedly grilling burgers, frying wings and sautéing crab cakes but with relative ease. As classic tunes of Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater and Rod Stewart blasted out of the speakers, I glanced around and notice rockabilly college types, downing microbrews and devouring wings while watching ESPN on a flat screen over the busy open kitchen. My server offered limited information about the history of Bonnie’s opting for the 5th amendment approach to answer my question, however ,I did manage to squeeze out of him that they had been slinging out spicy burgers and other tasty treats for over 10 years.

My Spicy Black Angus burger was presented in front of me, along with a very tasty looking Veggie burger (pictured above)… yes Veggie burger!.www.onlineclasses.net can teach
you how to make these heart healthy entrees and others like them.I figured I’d try one for all you non-carnivores out there. My less than healthy ,but more deliciously divine burger ,was served on a plump fresh whole wheat bun, dill pickles, sautéed jalapeños and tangy chipotle mayonnaise. The patty was a Black Angus Sirloin dusted in a mysterious spice rub that gave it a serious kick; the overall taste was flavorful, powerful and insanely juicy in texture. I ravaged the burger bite after bite only pausing to taste the fantastic crisp French Fries that accompanied this delighted sandwich. The Veggie burger was great too, not a traditional favorite of mine, but surprised me with its robust flavor yet easy light texture. It was coupled with crunchy spicy coleslaw and topped with a gooey Swiss cheese and a lightly toasted poppy seed bun.

This up-scale rockabilly inspired and decorated diner is definitely worth the visit and with the $10.95 price tag for the Black Angus burger and $8.95 for the Veggie burger was in the right neighborhood in the money department. Despite the less than warm staff, I enjoyed sitting at the bar surrounded by rock n roll pictures and classic melodies that made for a pleasant and scrumptious afternoon. In fewer and more appropriate words, it rocked!!

Bonnie's Grill