Friday, May 11, 2012

Cheeseburger at the Burger Joint, NYC

Don't expect to find this place while casually walking the streets in Manhattan. This place is hidden- it's part of their "thing"- the mystique and mystery is an important part of the whole dining experience. Located behind a red velvet curtain in the lobby of the classy Le Parker Meridien hotel near Central Park, lies a dark and dingy place called the Burger Joint- which dishes out fresh- never frozen beef burgers that are grilled on an open flame.  The menu is limited to a burgers, fries and and some drinks- Don't expect much else- their motto is "if you don't see it, we don't have it".
A red velvet curtain hides the entrance to the Burger Joint
I read about this place from searching forums, review sites and top 10 list for the best burgers in NYC. This place continuously comes up as a must try if you are looking for a good burger- some say it's the best in the city. The reviews also tell of stories that the place is run like the soup Nazi from Seinfeld, and a sign at the register warns that if you don't follow the order process- you get sent to the back of the line...and indeed- I did see a group of foreigners told to step aside as they couldn't figure out what to order quick enough...however, they were invited back to the register once they figured things out. Also to note- they take cash only.

The ordering process 
You place an order by choosing a Hamburger or Cheeseburger, then, how you want it cooked, then the toppings ("the works" for everything) and if you want fries or a drink. I simply opted for a Cheeseburger- medium rare, with the works.

The burger was pricey at $8 and I had really high expectations, however the burger joint failed to deliver on the goods. Don't get me wrong- the burger was good- very good, it just didn't live up to the hype of it being the best burger in NY that I read about. First, the bun. It was fresh, lightly toasted but lacked a meat grease shield. By the time I had taken the first bite the bun was near mush in many spots. This might be a sign of a juicy burger, however this issue could easily be fixed by putting in a lettuce leaf shield under the burger instead of direct burger to bun contact. A simple trick by other burger builders.
Cheeseburger at the Burger Joint, NYC
As I had stated, the burger was super juicy and cooked to medium rare perfection- just as I had ordered however, it didn't have that crust that are created by flat-tops. It was a also little lacking on the seasoning- perhaps a bit more salt was needed. The cheese was real cheddar, not processed american, all melted and gooey and the sauce was o-so reminisent of the shake shack with a hint of horseradish.

All in all, this place is worth a visit- if it's just to experience the hype. The burgers are really good, but I just don't think that they're the best in NY.

Aburgeraday rating: 8 out of 10

Burger Joint
119 West 56th Street
New York NY 10019-3318

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon