Menuism Dining Blog
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Black Label Burger from Minetta Tavern. Photo by Wally Gobetz.

Black Label Burger from Minetta Tavern. Photo by Wally Gobetz.

Without a doubt, one of the richest burger scenes in the world is found in New York City. The approximately 8 million people who live in the world’s premier city have easy access to its sheer litany of burgers. But a city’s inhabitants can’t keep their great burgers all to themselves.

Before I travel, I always research the most buzzworthy burgers. The following list comprises 10 New York City burgers that are currently tempting me to travel all the way from Montreal to the center of the world, because they stand out from the large pack of thousands.

1. Corner Bistro

When in Rome, do as the Romans. Meaning whenever I visit an unfamiliar city, I try to eat what everyday citizens eat. That place in New York City seems to be Corner Bistro. On nearly every must-try list, you’ll find this well-known burger joint and its Bistro Burger with cheese and bacon. And, as long as we’re going to do like the locals, get a beer with it.

2. The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien

For an outsider, it sometimes takes more than just an appealing burger to get one’s attention. The thing about this particular joint is that it’s not exactly easy to find, tucked into a small corner of the posh Le Parker Meridien hotel. Like most great burger places, the burgers on the menu are quite simple and thankfully won’t cost you as much as a room.

3. Shake Shack

A list of New York burger places is incomplete without Shake Shack. Established nearly 10 years ago in Madison Square Park and originally conceived as a hot dog cart, you’ll need patience if you plan on having a burger here, as the wait can last a few hours. Of course, like many successful enterprises, expansion was the next step and now you can find a Shake Shack in many locations. Still, I find the pilgrimage to the original location quite necessary, especially since the menu has a section for dogs.

4. Spotted Pig

A little controversy can create a lot of cash. Last November, Gordon Ramsay tried to trademark the Spotted Pig name for his restaurant in England. What he didn’t know was that it was already quite a place to go, from the mind of another famous television chef, Mario Batali. Their ensuing Twitter war prompted enough intrigue to make Batali’s chargrilled burger creations worth seeking out.

5. Five Napkin Burger

I can’t resist a burger that sounds like a challenge, especially when that challenge includes 10 ounces of fresh ground chuck topped with Gruy√®re and rosemary aioli. This restaurant took on its name from chef Andy D’Amico’s taste for greasy and enjoyable burgers. And this year, the Hell’s Kitchen location is celebrating its 10th year, so he must be doing something right.

6. Burger & Barrel

When looking for a good burger, just having the word in a restaurant’s name doesn’t mean it’s going to be good. Well, Burger & Barrel now has an award to back things up. For the third time, its Bash Burger has won the grand prize at the New York Food and Wine Festival. It’s little wonder, considering the burger includes bacon jam.

7. Peter Luger

Peter Luger has been one of the top steakhouses in New York for the longest time, so most people wouldn’t think to order a burger from the menu. However, the lunch menu includes a half-pound burger that’s not much of a slouch, especially considering the quality meat. It’s definitely worth a shot.

8. JG Melon

Let’s face it, some people spend more time in bars than their own homes. I’m not saying who. But if you’re ever on a weekend bender and you happen to find yourself at JG Melon at 3:00 in the morning, you may want to try JG’s thick bacon cheeseburger. In reality, it’s probably better to show up then because you’ll find long lines at dinner time.

9. Veselka

Veselka is a Ukrainian restaurant serving classic dishes like borscht and pierogi. However, anyone you ask about this restaurant will tell you to try their hamburger instead. Well, the reason is the owner, Tom Birchard, and his passion for the burger’s balance and high-quality ingredients, such as fresh chuck delivered six days a week. Like most proud men, he is also proud of his heritage, and the restaurant whose roots date back to World War II. Sometimes, a burger is only as good as the story behind it.

10. Minetta Tavern

Minetta Tavern, which relauched in 2009, touts a Black Label burger. The reason that this burger is quite special is because of the extensive treatment the meat gets before it ever reaches the plate, including dry aging and a chop to the meat rather than a grind in order to minimize handling. The meat itself is so minutely planned out that it doesn’t require the additional flavour of cheese.

This list easily could have reached 100. What else should have made the cut?

Posted by on January 10th, 2013

Filed In: Burgers, New York City

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Mr. Lew is a high school teacher from Montreal, Quebec. In 2009, after trying Montreal's supposed best burger, he decided to see what else was out there. So, every week, a new burger was added to the Great Burger Search. Since then, Mr. Lew has tried more than 100 burgers in cities across Canada, and hopes to one day expand to the rest of North America. Since Mr. Lew is part Chinese, the search isn't limited only to great burgers, but to other types of cuisine that makes Montreal one of the greatest culinary cities in the world.

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