LA Chowhounder on Burgers
So I just moved here from New York in May...went to school at NYU. Anyway, there has been a long thread recently on the LA boards about the Best Burger in Los Angeles. The choices are all over the place, but unfortunately in my opinion, none are as good as some of the burgers I remember in NY.
I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts as to the best burger in new york. I know Bruni shared his own thoughts recently, and hopefully there wasn't a big post about this recently already. Thanks.
I strongly disagree with the sentiment that started this discussion. Maybe it's the kind of burgers I like, but the selection in LA always struck me as significantly better than NYC.
Anyway, the only burger places I really love in NYC are Shake Shack and Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien.
I'm a huge fan of Rathbones on the upper east side (that reminds me, I need to get back there for a burger and some wings). I also enjoyed Royale when I went a couple weeks ago.
The last time I went to Shake Shack I had a shake stack and it was by far the best burger I had at the shack but stil enjoyed rathbones better.
and the kilt, of course. Don't forget Piper's Kilt. Yum. Although, I would suggest ordering one done-ness up from what you like (if you like rare, order medium rare; if you like medium, order medium well, etc). And they pull one of the finest pints of Guinness north of The Ear.
Above posters are right, though - they are not LA burgers (which abound with merit all their own).
New York style burgers are different from the style served west of the Mississippi. I posted a long post describing this western style and asking if there was anything like it in NY, and the only suggestion was a Yugoslavian ground meat patty.
so if Los Angeles burgers are like that, it's hard to compare them to New York burgers. I love both styles!!!
despite what frank bruni says, peter luger serves a terrific burger; arguably the best in the city across all the different sizes and styles. get it with cheese and a slab of their amazing bacon. their fries are nothing special and their beer selection is unremarkable, but having all 3 together at once makes for one of the city's best lunch experiences, IMO. btw, the burger is only available until 3pm.
corner bistro's burgers are good but not great. all these people will tell you that it's the best in the city, but it's simply not true. good, but overrated. don't believe zagat's, citysearch, ny magazine, and all the other mainstream publications. it's one of the best burger options at 3am if you're drunk and in the village, and truthfully a good option in general, but simply doesn't deserve the level of praise that it's been getting for years.
donovan's in woodside and bayside, queens serves a very good burger. not the best in the city, IMO, but i've heard plenty of folks who think it is.
i've always liked the burgers at old town bar. classic old-school pub burgers. same for p.j. clarke's. neither is the creme de la creme, but very satisfying in their own way and classic ny.
keens steakhouse has a very good burger (available only at the bar). i wouldn't say it's as good as luger, but it's one of the best and probably the best steakhouse burger in manhattan. great rib hash, too, tho on my last visit it wasn't up to snuff.
i need to mention blue 9 burger, which is an in-n-out/california-style burger on 3rd ave in the east village. when it first opened a few years ago, i thought it was very good (tho not on in-n-out's level), but it's steadily declined since. give it a shot just for comparison's sake, but since you're living in california you're not going to like it all that much.
there's a place called paul's palace on 2nd ave in the east village that others have probably mentioned in other threads. personally, i never liked these burgers; thought they were bland, mushy, and completely lacking in flavor. but they're huge, which may partially account for why some people rave about them.
the burger joint in the parker meridien hotel, despite being a major tourist trap, is one of my favorite burgers. it has a nice smokey flavor and the meat quality seems to be very good. they use a standard burger bun but they do a nice job of toasting it. all in all, one of the top 3-5 IMO.
shake shack in madison square park is also very good. they use top-notch ingredients, but i'm not as crazy about the consistency; i wish the patties were a little less mushy. also, they're a little too salty for my taste at times. that said, these are very good burgers, also among the best in the city. waits are horrendous, though, which may account for why some people detest this place.
not going to talk about db bistro moderne's foie gras burger, since it's not a burger in the traditional sense. i did like it, tho, and i'm sure many others will mention it.
some other places that are good:
wollensky's grill (most steakhouses serve good burgers)
rare bar & grill
I was hugely disappointed with Keen's burger which was ordered medium rare and delivered well-done, flat, dry and flavorless. Surprisingly, Goodburger will deliver a rare burger so ordered, and it's quite decent if a little pricey for what it is (on the other hand I am willing to pay a premium for food prepared--and delivered!--as ordered). I like Shake Shack too, unfashionable though that may be. I haven't had the dB burger in years but remember feeling cheated with so pedestrian and unintegrated a burger (including skimpy foie) after all the hype at the time. Incidentally, Les Halles does a foie burger that I don't much like either, for what that's worth.
By way of context: my favorite burgers in LA are the Dining Car's (rare with a touch of relish) and the dt Palm's. In-n-Out has its place at a certain hour and it shines in the company of its franchise alternatives (although Astroburger makes a respectable showing).
There are a number of posts about this. Briefly, some names you'll see are:
J. G. Melon's
Westville (10th Street and Bleeker)
Good Burger (43rd and 2nd Ave)
J. G. Melon's (74th and 3rd)
Personally, I find some famous burgers a bit dry:
Outside of Manhattan, I'd drive to White Manna in Hackensack. Great sliders. Old place form the 1930s. Worth the trip.