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burgers, burgers everywhere burgers!

Of course you've all heard that Thomas Keller is opening a burger joint in Napa...What you may not have heard is that he is also scouting locations in our very own NYC...
Geoffrey Zakarian is teaming with restaurateur Jonathan Morr to open a burger joint on 12th and university (old Yujin space)..
Laurent Tourondel is opening a burger joint called BLT Burger at some point this year...location TBA
Even Tom Colicchio was looking to get into the burger wars with of course Craftburger....Due to a less than stellar response to Craftsteak...He has decided to postpone further expansion and focus on his existing empire...
All of this begs the question: What is missing in the New York burger world?
I believe we are well covered in the lower end burger market with such luminaries as Shake Shack (despite the filth), Corner Bistro and The Burger Joint...Likewise the high end burgers are pretty well represented by Peter Luger, Blue Smoke and The Spotted Pig...But whats missing for me, is a casual place with a high end burger and bar...that doesn't cost an outrageous amount or demand too much of your time...Anyone else?

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  1. "a casual place with a high end burger and bar" - sounds like you just described JG Melon, or McSorley's.

    1. Melon's! Great burgers & fries...excellent & consistent...

      3 Replies
      1. re: fauchon

        I love Melon's but the wait is usually long unless you go very early.

        1. re: fauchon

          Am I the only one who thinks Melon is way too expensive? You get a tiny burger, ala Carte sides and a small beer for about $20...and then leave hungry. It’s a good burger, but I always feel I’m paying way too much for what I’m getting.

          I prefer to head in the other direction to Rathbone’s. The burger is always cooked perfectly, comes with a generous helping of crispy fries and to boot, it’s only $10 with a beer on Mondays. One of my Top 3 favorite burgers in the city.

          Of course, my favorite is still Molly’s...which has taken over the number 1 spot since McHale’s closed.


          1. re: fauchon

            Agree; Melon's is awesome. Skip the sides, skip the overpriced beer. Just get the burger.

          2. What's missing is In N' Out.

            1. One of the best burgers around can be found at Moda in the Flatotel.

              1. PJ Clarke's. Good burger in a great old saloon. Go during off hours- since the restoration they are really busy during peak times.

                1. while I like those places...I don't think of their burgers as high end or even good...just sort of passable

                  1. Totally agree with Rathbones - my favorite in the city, i also think they have the best wings.

                    1. totally weird. my post about what nyc needs in terms of burgers evaporated overnight. i repeat: burger meister.

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: hardcore

                          burger meister: 1/2# niman ranch patty, niman ranch applewood bacon, cheddar cheese, fries, the works 8.75. super good service, no pretense, old fashioned burger joint setup, yummy milkshakes.

                      1. "But whats missing for me, is a casual place with a high end burger and bar...that doesn't cost an outrageous amount or demand too much of your time..."

                        IMO, this type of place is presently over-represented in NYC. I echo the comment about the need for In 'n Out or places like it. I also wouldn't mind an old-school establishment like Joe's Cablecar in San Fransicso that grinds its own meat.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: a_and_w

                          ok...so then I don't know of them...can you please share?..I've been all over the place and most of the burgers I've had...simply weren't very good i.e. pj clarkes, dumont etc...so when i say high end...i mean undeniably delicious..not just expensive

                          1. re: hardcore

                            hardcore, forgive me but I'm really the wrong person to ask. This is not my preferred style of burger -- I was mostly just complaining. Aside from those already mentioned, maybe Pete's Tavern?

                        2. Hardcore, check out the Old Town Bar, off Union Square. Excellent burger.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: guide boy

                            thanks ..went by on your suggestion...ok burger but nothing special...appreciate the attempt though

                          2. Had a terrific burger at Chumley's in Greenwich Village last time I was in NY.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Markauf

                              Tir Na Nog across from the garden makes a very good burger with irish cheddar and tasty irish bacon.

                            2. hardcore - I am but a paltry follower of the real expert on burgers - Mr Cutlets - let him lead you to burger nirvana . . .

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: livetotravel

                                hey thanks livetotravel....great article....though I disagree with Mr. Cutlets strongly regarding american cheese

                                1. re: hardcore

                                  I'm with you - I'm very dedicated to that "greasy cheddar."

                                  BTW - Have you tried the burger at Le Parker Meridien - the "burger joint" behind the curtain in the lobby? Superb!

                              2. I can't believe a that this is a burger thread without mentioning the innovativeDB burger.
                                What do u think of the DB Burger? I think its in a nice bistro that is casual in the sense that you can walk in and sit at the bar no reservations needed the food is great.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jordana

                                  oh god I hate that frankenburger .........I think of it more as PR than burger...dont like the room...I really dont believe what i'm currently looking for exists in the city

                                2. hardcore, I think maybe we're having some difficulty understanding what you're asking. Can you give us some more examples of burgers you've enjoyed ?

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                    sure....I'm just saying..that for a high end burger...you can go to peter luger or blue smoke but both are formally restaurants....The closest to what I'm seeking is Spotted Pig but you can only get their burger one way...I would love to find a casual (not dirty) spot with a high end classic burger and a great beer/ wine list...I don't care if it costs $15 as long as its ethereal

                                    1. re: hardcore

                                      So in English, you want a great burger in a casual spot with a good beer or wine list?

                                      No sure why you think Blue Smoke is so formal, but that would seem to fit your bill. You can easily find a seat at the bar pretty much any day of the week besides Friday night. Another one is Molly's which has a nice selection of Irish beers and pours a good pint of guiness.

                                      1. re: ESNY

                                        what's with the "so in english" comment....I didn't say blue smoke was formal....I said it was more of a restaurant...and a suburban feeling one at that....

                                      2. re: hardcore

                                        Shoot -- just occurred to me that Judson Grill used to do a burger that would have fit your bill perfectly. Anyone know if Bill Telepan's new place does a burger?

                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                          It does, and supposedly it is the same as the JUdson

                                          1. re: ghbrooklyn

                                            had the Telepan burger for lunch today. might only be on the lunch menu, though. $28 prix fixe. delicious. comes with a ton of house-cured pickles and great fries and onion rings.

                                            but the burger: almost identical to the spotted pig in texture, quality, and taste. brioche bun. cheddar and bacon. definitely more of a restaurant, of course, and a bit stuffy at that? but great burger.

                                            also, the smoked trout app (available for both lunch aand dinner) is phenomenal. would go back for that anytime.

                                    2. Ill give it a shot.

                                      1) Houston's - I hate chains, but love Houston's. The burger is awesome and served with a mountain of good fries. Not great fries, but good. The meat is always tasty and it is served on a brioche that I think must be buttered and grilled. It is big and good. They also have Brookyln Lager which always makes me happy.

                                      2) Woflgang's - If you go at lunch you can get a 16.95 burger and fries (only at the bar). The meat is awesome and again the french fries are good. They have a better wine list then Houston's and IMO the burger itself is more tasty.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: john

                                        Bruni absolulety loved Houston's - I've gotta try it to see what's up

                                        1. re: john

                                          I just tried the Houston's burger on Monday and it really was delicious! Without a doubt the best burger I've ever had at a chain restaurant.

                                        2. When I don't want to go high-end or low-end, I go to BarSix (6th Ave & 13th St.) They have an outstanding burger that I rarely hear mentioned. It's kind of a french bistro type spot but is neither super casual, nor is it high end - kind of right in the middle. Full bar and wine list too, but the burger...excellent!

                                          1. Has anyone else ever tried the Wolfgang's burger. I would be very interested to hear other people's thoughts.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: john

                                              yeah tried houstons...not a fan...the burger was alright but the room...ugh....i appreciate the suggestion though

                                            2. Blue 9 offers a really good burger at a decent price

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mudge

                                                yeah not at all what i'm looking for but thanks again

                                              2. Steak n Shake. We NEED this.

                                                1. Bar 89 in Soho has a very cool, casual atmosphere and an amazing burger that is very affordable. And while you're there, you should definitely start with the bacon wrapped water chestnuts. Oh yes.

                                                  1. The Wollenky grill of Smith and Wollensky on E49th/3rd Ave has exactly what you are looking for. Great high end burger and nice wine/beer selection in a comfortable atmosphere.

                                                    1. looking for a burger similar to the burgers at Camelia grill in New Orleans

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: alex70

                                                        Sadly, you can't even get one of those in New Orleans anymore. But a big banner outside Camellia Grill says that it will reopen soon, and a new owner plans to expand beyond the original location.

                                                        1. re: Hungry Celeste

                                                          I heard emrils partner bought the place. I really love those burgers. There is a flavor to them that I have never had anywhere in Manhattan

                                                      2. If you're in the downtown area, or want to make the trip, there's a great place in the seaport area (but not in the actual south street seaport) called The Paris Cafe. Awesome burgers (BIG patties) and a mountain of fries, all for $10.00. Nice selection of draft beers including Hoegaarden. Pretty big bar area and all the games are always on, football on the big screen. One plus open pretty late, even during the week, which is unusual for the downtown/ wall street area. Speaking of which...anyone live, work, frequent downtown? Always looking for a recommendation...an excellent bite for a decent price? All types of food ok.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: nyc girl

                                                          I work by city hall and we go to Spaghetti Western on Reade (Bway and Church). Good food, good sevice, nice aptmosphere

                                                        2. hardcore, tell me more about the burger joint in the old yujin spot..do you have any more info on the concept and timing of it?
                                                          also, the thomas keller joint will not happen for a while, still developing the concept out west.

                                                          on a side note, anyone know any other places for "alternative burgers"? such as better burgers ostrich burger (it is good, no, really...)new concepts , etc...thanx

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Zion

                                                            no...not really....i heard it woud be "high quality" with a bar...I first heard Zakarian was doing the food but then I read in the TImes that a famous"french chef" was doing it....I went by and asked about opening and was told the first of July....I once had a good ostrich burger at 8 mile creek but the food there hasn't been the same in years....let me know if you find anything relavatory

                                                          2. While you wouldn't think to order a burger at a seafood spot --Lure Fishbar in SOHO has an excellent burger in a great looking space. Top notch bar and service too. The burger is $14 and served with pretty good fries and topped with two delicious onion rings. If you can manage to get there during the week for lunch you'll have no problem getting a seat.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: chowcito

                                                              gave it a try..it was ok nothing special...also went by Diner and was woefully disappointed...place is great but burger was much too finely ground (more like meatloaf) and meat was flavorless....thick fries were delicious...as was bun

                                                            2. For my money, a "high end burger" is one that is made with love and that tastes great, up, down, backwards, forwards and sideways. I don't care who sells it, what it costs, or what the ambience is like.

                                                              That said, given what you've written, you might dig the burger over at Donovan's in Woodside, Queens.

                                                              As far as what NYC needs, the Steamed Cheeseburger. I hate the fact that I have to drive all the way up to Meriden, Connecticut to try one.

                                                              1. All this burger talk. Does anyone do a burger with grass fed beef?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Jack_

                                                                  i believe that goblin market does a burger with grassfed beef.

                                                                  1. re: erha

                                                                    you can get it at dinner in williamsburg

                                                                2. Burgers and Cupcakes. 9th Avenue, btwn 35 and 36. The name says it all.

                                                                  1. speaking of burgers, someone was speaking about burgers, right?

                                                                    I home-grilled two bison burgers last night that were absolutely fantastic. The meat was tender and surprisingly juicy considering the very low fat content. I purchased the burgers at Fairway and had them with grilled onions, tomato slice and Vermont cheddar on a brioche with a litte mayo. Heaven. I may open a franchise ;-)or has Ted Turner beat me to it?

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: livetotravel

                                                                      with the exception of the mayo...sounds great...why does it seem to be so hard to find?

                                                                    2. The burgers at The Vertigo on 26th & 3rd are pretty good.

                                                                      1. The Corner Bistro in the West Village. Just tons of succulent meat.

                                                                        1. I;m seconding Polecat's suggestion of Donovans. Truly delicious burgers. I also enjoy the burger at Mugs Alehouse in Williamsburg. It's a fantastic beer bar, and the burger with onions and blue cheese hits the spot.

                                                                          1. Ok, for high end burgers in low-key bar settings, and without breaking the bank, here's a shortlist:

                                                                            Cafe Luxemburg on 70th St, and Amsterdam. Great burger, even if the beer selection has gone a bit weird lately.
                                                                            Balthazar (it's low key at the bar, or during the day). Fabulous burger and the best fries in town)
                                                                            The Odeon. Perhaps the best burger I've ever eaten. Again, at the bar, with great fries.
                                                                            Pastis. See Balthazar. Same excellence

                                                                            And I'd also endorse the burger 'behind the curtain' but you have to be in the humor for the hustle!

                                                                            - Sean

                                                                            ps I agree about Union Sq Cafe

                                                                            1. Teddys in W-burg has good burgers (acually haven't tried them but friends have told me they are great and they look really good)

                                                                              1. Royale is absolutely not worth the trip (esp if you are not drinking). Terrible service, marginal food.

                                                                                If you're looking for a decent burger in Manhattan go to:
                                                                                burger joint
                                                                                good burger
                                                                                PJ Clarke's
                                                                                and any number of Irish pubs like McCormick's on 3rd Ave

                                                                                I am sure everyone has their own favorites, I'm just saying: Avoid Royale

                                                                                1. Its probably a bit out of the way for most people but Piper's Kilt on Broadway on 207th Street has one amazing burger. Better than corner bistro IMO. Its a great old school bar to boot.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Manhattan4Life

                                                                                    Piper's Kilt you say? I will give it a try this week!

                                                                                  2. Is this Pipers Kilt any relation of the Piper's Kilt in Eastchester? Obvoiously the wrong board, but the eastchester Piper's Kilt has better burgers at a better price than most if not all the NYC places

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: jth

                                                                                      yes, they are related! http://www.piperskilt.com/

                                                                                      And I stand by the opinion that the Piper has the best burger in the city.

                                                                                    2. Agreed. I hit the one in the Bronx about once a month and its great.

                                                                                      1. 3x3 animal style no lettuce no tomato fries well @ in n'out.

                                                                                        1. SO..what do u mean by high end burger & bar?? Mcsorleys is not high end.... Burger joint is not a bar, and their teny weeny burgers dont really cut it.

                                                                                          Have u been to Donovan's Pub in Queens? (57 st & Roosevelt) Fantastic burger (big, juicy, fresh)..It is an Irish pub with a rather large dining room that has fantastic burgers...Way better than burger joint, corner bistro, good burger, rare, (shall i go on?) Did I mention that u can get beer, wine, booze, etc..(being a bar and all)

                                                                                          If u just want a decent burger (go to the bar afterwards) go to Big Nicks on B'way...Not the prettiest place, but decent for the money).

                                                                                          IMO what makes a wonderful burger is the freshness of the meat, the nice fat content, and the wonderful sear on the outside. Alot of places overcook the outside (they claim its to sear in the juice) so while juicy inside, its kinda "crusty" outside..Not my favorite way to eat a burger...

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: yorkchu

                                                                                            Agreed on Donovan's. Fantastic burger. Not too big, just big enough. And juicy. Plenty juicy. Like an old pro with nothing to prove, just doing it for the love. Wash it down with one of the best chilled pints of Guinness in town, and that's a little slice of heaven right there. Also agreed on Burger Joint, which I find to be overrated. Decent burger, not worth the wait.

                                                                                            You're batting a thousand, Yorkchu, because - as I posted before - I'm also wondering what the poster means by "high end burger". I can only assume he is talking about atmosphere, price, sophistication perhaps. Maybe DB Bistro (which I haven't tried)? For me, "high end" means just plain good.

                                                                                            1. re: Polecat

                                                                                              shake shack and in and out are excellent "low end" (meaning small, fast and paltry) and spotted pigs is "high end" (meaning large, succulent, cooked to perfection on great bread)...if spotted pigs was on something other than a brioche, offered different toppings and came with perfect french fries...it would be the one

                                                                                              1. re: hardcore

                                                                                                Okay. Thanks for the clarification. P.

                                                                                          2. One of my favorites has always been the Knickerbocker on University. Had the steak once and wasn't terribly impressed (maybe b/c I happened to have gone to Peter Luger the week before), but the burger has consistently made me happy. Oddly enough it doesn't seem to be on the menu but you can just ask for it, also you can have it at the bar if you want to be casual or low-profile. Don't remember how much it costs but it's about normal for a restaurant (I think about $10). Don't know if I'd get it rare (I'm a medium guy when it comes to burgers).

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: aimansmith

                                                                                              yeah...it's funny but I had knickerboker recently and was surprised...i don't like the place much and the service is sloppy but the burger was fresh, tasty and cooked perfectly.....I looked into it and it turns out that it is one of the few places in New York that grinds its meat fresh to order (or so hey say)...not a great burger but better than most