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Nov 21, 2006 02:14 PM


finally went to Royale for the first time last night

nothing fancy, fairly sterile/new bar environment (for the EV), but clean, decently lit and not a bad place to watch the game.

beer selection was kinda weak. maybe 5 on tap, nothing more exotic than magic hat and brooklyn lager.

and the burger?

it lives up to the hype. it's the best burger in the neighborhood. i realize that doesn't really say much. i don't know why, but the east village must be one of the most burger-starved neighborhoods in the city.

this burger comes on a nice, fresh poppy seed roll that has a nice brown finish to it, like an egg wash or something.

the beef isn't ground there, but is delivered fresh every day. loosely packed with a decent char. cooked nicely medium rare.

the cheese was classic American. tasted like boars head. i usually prefer cheddar or gruyere on a burger, but sometimes american is nice. this was one of those times. the bacon was kinda lame. two thin strips.

overall, i wouldn't come down to the EV from another neighborhood for the burger at Royale, but i'm very happy to have it in the neighborhood.

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  1. Have you compared it with the burgers at Mo Pitkins, Epstein's, Zucco's and Big John's?

    1. I, too, can vouch for the quality of the Royale cheeseburger. First off, the patty is grilled over flame, providing that charred taste you cannot get at a skillet cooked burger joint. Secondly, the size of the entire sandwich is manageable, one of my requirements for a great burger. The burger easily fits in your hand and isn't too high that you cannot get the entire amount of beef, bun, and fixins in one bite. Much better than Pauls, in my opinion.

      1. Paul's is awful. I have yet to try the Royale - I was just thinking you need to have tried some of the other contenders before you crown it best of the neighborhood.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Wilfrid

          Is Paul's aweful in a retro greasy spoon way? Or just plain aweful?

          1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

            mostly awful, though i do appreciate it sometimes.

            the only way to do paul's is to eat there. then you get the whole experience, wth the tacky decor and the free pickles.

            delivered, it's just too greasy and nasty.

          2. re: Wilfrid

            a fair question!

            mo pitkins - #2 in the neighborhood. the beef has a nice flavor to it - almost a smokey baconness to the meat itself that i like. too bad the burger is almost always overdone. seriously, medium rare doesn't mean grey. i like their starving artist special, which i think is a burger and beer for $10.

            epstein's - probably my 3rd choice in the neighborhood. similar formula (corner bistro), but just not executed as well as royale. royale has a nicer char, looser pack on the beef and gorgeous rolls. the royale roll is so much better than corner bistro that it might make the overall burger experience better.

            lucky burger - glad this place closed. it was gross.

            some other burger options: stillwater bar - on 4th between 2nd and bowery. strangely, this one isn't bad. manageable size, nothing special. old fashioned bar burger. there's a decent burger at Phebe's too. croxley's isn't great.

            i haven't tried big john's either. what do you think?

            any other suggestions or thoughts in the neighborhood?

          3. I went to Royale for the first time Friday night after reading these recommendations. One of the best burgers I've had in NY. I ordered the Bacon Royale medium rare, and it was cooked perfectly. Bun complements without overpowering and did not get too soggy (Shake Shack's main downfall, in my opinion).

            The fries, however, could use some work - they are basically potato wedges, and I prefer crunchy shoestring type fries. Onion rings would be a great addition to the menu.

            Also, solid beer and wine selection. They had Blue Moon, one of my favorites, on tap (Belgian white ale)

            1. I think Royale aspires to CB and PMBJ greatness. Having said that, I tried Paul's tonight for old time's sake and enjoyed the whole misshapen mess. Not as good but deserving of honorable mention in its genre.