Posts Tagged ‘Pat La Frieda’

Check out the DMANBURGER’S best burger in New York, the quest has been long and still ongoing…but the FOOD Magazine’s crew and writer Jo Piazza caught up with me to snag some inside scoop on my life, history, love for burgers and of course the best burger in New York……and the winner is ? Grab a copy of the latest FOOD Magazine ( with Rocco Dispirito on the cover, and featuring Emeril, Micheal Chiarello, Iron Chef Cat Cora and Alton Brown plus more…. on newstands NOW !!

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


Under the Brooklyn Bridge inside the roofless skeleton of the Tobacco Warehouse last night, was the closing ceremony for this year’s NYC Food Film Festival. The event ran from June 23-27 and showcased foodie films which featured eye-popping images and poignant stories about several of America’s faved food haunts and tastes. The event culminated with an award ceremony/All you can eat Burgers n Beer Garden, hosted by NBC’S Cat Greenleaf. A proud Brooklyn resident herself, Greenleaf happily remarks “I love food and this event, and any burgers with bacon.”

Festival Creator and award winning filmmaker George Motz came up with idea of the event, when friend Harry Hawk suggested he screen his movie, Hamburger America, at Hawk’s restaurant. Motz recalls, “It rained, but 200 people still came!” He described the experience of creating the event similar to “throwing a wedding, it has been a tremendous success”. Someone who knows a little something about weddings- Josh Osersky, complimented his burger friend and colleague by saying “Motz coming out of documentary filmmaking, and not being a food guy, makes this event transcend from the usual feeding trough, it’s not just some event you go to-there’s an actual spirit to it and the fact that George and Harry are so passionate about the event shows through.”

Guests drifted around tasting burgers from 3 different meat vendors, Whole Foods, Pat La Frieda and Burger Maker with the “World’s Longest Topping Bar” to dress their creations with an infinite array of condiments and toppings. Anat Baron former executive of Mike’s Hard Lemonade screened her film to 600 burger eating guests- “Beer Wars”, which is a David and Goliath story reporting on the infighting of Americas Beer industry. Baron, with an allergy to alcohol, has never tasted beer, but after speaking with all the brewers, who specifically matched the flavors of the beers selected for the event, she says “Burgers and Beer are all American and apparently- the flavors go well together”. One of those beer flavors included at the event, was from star of the Beers Wars film Rhonda Kallman, who plays herself in the film. Kallman otherwise known as “Queen of Beer” and founder and CEO of New Century Brewing Company, offered up two of her new brews, soon to hit Manhattan bars-the light and crisp Edison and Moonshot, a pilsner with 69 mgs of caffeine added.

A “Queen” of a different kind, was honored in the film “Florent-Queen of the Meat Market“, which is the rise and fall story of West Village iconic diner Florent, and it’s charismatic beloved owner Florent Morellet. Florent auteur, David Sigal, last night accepted the “Made in New York Award” as well as the “Feature Film award”. Sigal received his award ironically from Mayor Mike Bloomberg who was in attendance, “I was honored to get the award from Mayor Bloomberg since I love New York City, this little diner in New York’s meatpacking district had so many stories to tell” says Sigal. An avid burger lover himself, Mayor Bloomberg sauntered around the event, politely cutting in line for toppings, while gorging on burgers and chatting with people. “So far I’ve had 2 beers and the reason I’m talking funny is because my mouth’s full of my second hamburger, if that’s not a testimony of the fact I like the event I don’t know what is” says Mayor Bloomberg.

Motz recalls “I sent the Mayor my book Hamburger America and he wrote me a letter back saying, I love hotdogs but hamburgers are a close second”. Next stop for the NYC Food Film Festival is Chicago, where Motz will franchise his festival for the First Annual Chicago Film Festival Sep 24-25.

As for the mayors favorite burger in the city…..he’s a JG Melon man.


  • 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.


    Stand on Urbanspoon


  • 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

    Plein Sud on Urbanspoon


    On the most holiest of holidays, I traveled to South Carolina to celebrate Easter at Myrtle Beach. The weather was warm, the beach was vacant and the water was ice-cold. Of course burgers were in my vacation prospectus, the question was which one? I had spent several years vacationing with family and friends in South Carolina, and this question was answered rather easily, it was Hamburger Joe’s. Joe Brooks, aka Hamburger Joe, started his restaurant career 34 years ago with a locally well-known seafood restaurant called White Point. After several years of frying fish, simmering clam chowder and filling up tartar sauce bottles, Joe decided to re-direct his fast food expertise in the form of burgers. In 1989 he opened Hamburger Joes,which he openly and honestly told me, copied after a hole in the wall burger shack, in rural North Carolina. In The Carolina’s the burgers are served with mustard-chili-slaw, or all the way-with onions. After a brief mishap where Hurricane Hugo tore off the roof, Hamburger Joes thrived, serving it’s Carolina style of burgers to locals and tourists alike.Some believe the origin of this unique topping came from the West Virginians method of hot dog makings, as they drifted down to The Carolina’s looking for employment in the early 60’s, bringing with them their mustard-chili-slaw ideals.

    Joe gets his hamburger blend from Iowa beef, some say the Pat LaFrieda of the South. He adopts the smashed style burger method, and uses sharp cheddar, pressing the burgers out to a perfect 4 oz size, enabling them to neatly fit on the bun. The chili is made from Filet, Short Rib and Rib Eye trimmings from his steakhouse Joe’s Grill, along with some other secret ingredients, make for a hearty beef chili. The slaw is light and chopped fine, with minimal mayonnaise, a recipe that has stuck with him for over 34 years. The menu is cheap and simple, with hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled “Carolina”style BBQ, and a fried bologna sandwich, that may change your beliefs in processed meat. The restaurant is like a country house, wood paneling, corrugated iron roof, fireplace, neon beer signs and dollar bills draped all over the walls and ceilings, which at last count was $8000.00.

    Joes hires all female servers, which many have been in his employment for many years. Joe attributes his success to simple ingredients, and a clientele that’s always in a good mood- mainly he says “Because they’re on vacation”. I sat and watched generations of families gorge on their burgers, which seem to arrive rather quickly compared to the volume of people in the room. The assembly line of burgers, sandwiches and wings were moving fast and steady, as I snuck a peek over some guys heads, as they guzzled their pints of Natty Light. The crowd was typical South Carolina, Nascar shirt wearing gents,bikers,neon-cladded woman with teased hair, and overweight, but happy golfers on a restbit from their day on the greens, loudly bragging about their supposed hole in ones.

    As my back was turned, my server delivered a bevy of pleasure to my table.I ordered a cheeseburger with mustard-chili-slaw, a hamburger with lettuce,tomato,pickles and onion,and a side of crispy well-done onion rings. The cheeseburger was first of the tee, tasting rich and hearty from the chili, crunchy and zesty from the slaw. The hamburger was decent with a char-grilled smashed burger flavor, that was reminiscent for me,of its Eastern counterparts Schnippers and Petey’s. The onion rings were scrumptious, going perfectly with salt, ketchup and Texas Pete. I would imagine people who are not used to the mustard-chili-slaw combo,maybe having a problem reading this right now, but just remember there are worst things that have been eaten-I mean who would have thought that oysters would taste good!


    Hamburger Joes is a great place to go while in Myrtle Beach, friendly,quick service,will sure bring a smile on that sunburnt face of yours. Be sure during weekends and holidays to bring your patience, Joes has been slinging out hamburgers to Myrtle Beach locals and tourists for over 20 years and by the lines to get in,shows no sign of stopping. I enjoyed chatting with Joe Brooks, aka Hamburger Joe, to be in the presence of such a South Carolinian burger founder was a definite high light in my burger quest.

    Hamburger Joe's on Urbanspoon

    In Italian, Scuderia means stable or team, and the team at this Northern Italian Trattoria is delightfully headed up by Leyla Marchetto and Alessandro Bandini. The decor is ingeniously adorned with illustrations from New Yorker cartoonist Marisa Acocella Marchetto, Vintage rock anthology and strategically splashed Italian graffiti. The dining room features family style communal tables, bar and private mezzanine, with seasonal access to 35 more spaces al fresco. I heard about Scuderia from the culinary fame that surrounds her location- Da Silvano.It was comforting and refreshing to know that this charming Greenwich Village spot has created its own confident gallop on such famed Italian piatti as Carpaccio di Manzo, Parpadelle al Cinghiale and Saltimbocca alla Romana. Scuderia is also famous for their thin and delectably scrumptious pizzas, which include ravishingly topped pies such as Piccante (Spicy Pork, Taleggio, Rucola), Tartufata al Formaggio ( Four cheeses, Black Truffles) and signature Scuderia (Fig Jam, Blue cheese. As the DMANBURGER I never expected to find among all these wonderfully inherited Italian specialties another inherited American treat; the burger!

    The Scudburger, as it’s affectionately called is a perfect Pat La Frieda blend of assorted rich prime cuts of which has been especially crafted for Scuderia. Open for a little over a year now, Scuderia has the brainchild of Chef Carlo Appolini in the kitchen, whom was former culinarian of such exorbitant upscale eats as Le Cirque at The Bellagio in Vegas and Osetria del Circo in New York. I sat in a comfortable window seat and was treated to a taste of Crostini Misti a Modo Nostro, which tonight was robust and hearty boar Ragu, white Cannelini beans hinted with Rosemary and fresh sautéed mushrooms, all of which were fantastic! I couldn’t wait to sample the burger which was looming in my thoughts as I contently watched Fred Astaire dancing in an old movie which was playing on a screen perched above the service line. ” Why was I watching Fred Astaire so intently”  I scarily asked myself ? Normally I wouldn’t be able to focus on such a film, but tonight a peace and certainty came over me that could only be attributed to my calm and pleasant surroundings. The burger arrived which quickly took my attention off Daddy Long Legs and on to the mammoth beauty that was in front of me. The Scudburger was seated on a well toasted  roll, oozing creamy good Caciocavello cheese, fresh Rucola, crispy fried Speck, dark caramelized onions and spicy mustard. The flavor was heavenly as I bit over and over into the complex layers of the burgers ingredients; the smokiness of the Speck, the velvety richness of the Caciocavello, the tartness of the Rucola and the delicate earthiness of the mushrooms. My only slight criticism would be the bun or roll, the bread was a little too coarse and cumbersome in my opinion, and rather hard on the tooth. Having said that though, I ate every bit of the leftover top-side of the bun using it to mop up tasty olive oil, which I thought was more suited for this type of bread.

    I had a wonderful time at Scuderia! Leyla and Alessandro are wonderful people  who  entertain their customers with the utmost respect and attention. The Scudburger wreaks of flavor and goodness and is definitely up there with my favorites in terms of flavor and originality. I look forward to returning to Scuderia, not only for the food, but  for the World Cup Soccer festivities that they are planning in July as a wonderful place to park my caboose, eat my face off and watch some worldly competitive team football…….Ci vediamo presto Scuderia !!