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Best burger on the UWS?

cimui Jan 7, 2008 11:10 AM

I know about Shake Shack and Corner Bistro and Stanton Social -- but what's best on the UWS? I need to take a visiting buddy out to dinner and would like to stay local.

  1. floretbroccoli Jan 7, 2008 11:19 AM

    Bruni likes the "four-napkin" burger at Nice Matin, Amsterdam and 79th.

    Nice Matin
    201 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024

    2 Replies
    1. re: floretbroccoli
      cimui Jan 7, 2008 11:25 AM

      That sounds very promising. Thank you!

      1. re: floretbroccoli
        cimui Jan 7, 2008 02:43 PM

        Thanks for the suggestions, all. I'm going to send this thread to my buddy and let him pick. I can't decide!

      2. JungMann Jan 7, 2008 11:36 AM

        Personally I love the burgers at Big Nick's on Amsterdam and 76th. The Sumo Burger is especially good if you've got the appetite for it.

        3 Replies
        1. re: JungMann
          JoanN Jan 7, 2008 02:50 PM

          76 and B'way, right? Please explain to me the appeal. I took my grandsons last summer and just didn't get it. The patty was too thin to be able to be cooked medium rare with an outside char, it tasted to me as though it was full of filler, and the bun was stale. It was so bad, even my grandkids are still laughing about it. Wrong hour? Wrong day? Wrong expectations? I'm very hesitant, but do I need to give it another try?

          1. re: JoanN
            JungMann Jan 8, 2008 05:57 AM

            Really? I have a pretty generous appetite and have never been disappointed with the thick, juicy patty that comes from Big Nick's. I've only been mistaken in my choice of toppings (i.e. the guacamole is disgusting, and no one should ever eat an olive burger). I think you may have gone on an off night. Try ordering their sumo cheeseburger and splitting it with a couple grandkids. You won't be disappointed.

            1. re: JoanN
              Dave Feldman Feb 1, 2008 11:59 PM

              Are you sure you went to Big Nick's? Their burger is 1/2 pound (the Sumo burger is one pound). They always have a char on my rare burger. I do think it's easily the best burger on the UWS, and I've never had a stale bun in more than 25 years of going there. I do think the burger is significantly better than Nice Matin's, Fred's, or Harriett's, but I am a fan of charcoal grilled burgers.

          2. f
            fein Jan 7, 2008 12:30 PM

            freds makes a good burger.

            2 Replies
            1. re: fein
              abu applesauce Jan 7, 2008 12:50 PM

              When I lived on UWS, Fred's was my go-to burger

              1. re: abu applesauce
                Westrite Jan 8, 2008 08:30 AM

                3rd for Fred's.

            2. e
              eriny Jan 7, 2008 01:09 PM

              Harriet's Kitchen is the best hand's down, though it's a somewhat grimy takeout joint with one table. But the most delicious thing I've eaten in months. Here's a drool-worthy pic:

              7 Replies
              1. re: eriny
                cimui Jan 7, 2008 02:38 PM

                And I am drooling, accordingly! Wow...

                1. re: eriny
                  metfan630 Feb 1, 2008 11:18 AM

                  oooh, see I eat at Celeste next door all the time and see their sign mentioning "the best effing burger you will eat" - but I havent tried yet. its time!

                  1. re: metfan630
                    kelea Feb 1, 2008 12:44 PM

                    Harriet;s is delicious! I don't usually like anything other than my own burgers (i know i sound horrible) but Harriets was really thick and juicy. Fred's is pretty awesome too.

                    With some hounders on the board...i don't get Big NIck's burgers either. the patty is too thin and wide. It's ok but not great.

                    1. re: kelea
                      metfan630 Feb 4, 2008 06:18 AM

                      Tried Harriet's on Saturday - and I have to agree that it is certainly an outstanding burger. got the bacon cheeseburger medium rare - was cooked to order and had the grilling onions on it also. delicious.

                      Also, their side of chili is tremendously good - i added a little tabasco for extra kick, but the consistency and flavor of the beef was perfect.

                      1. re: metfan630
                        nativeNYer Feb 4, 2008 09:37 AM

                        did you get it delivered or did you pick it up yourself? i'm just wondering how well the burger survived the trip home unless you somehow found seating there. i gotta try this place as well.

                        1. re: nativeNYer
                          metfan630 Feb 4, 2008 10:30 AM

                          Ordered it at the counter and walked it to my apt - 71st and Columbus. burger was still a good temperature, but the fries could have been hotter.

                          1. re: nativeNYer
                            Dave Feldman Feb 4, 2008 07:14 PM

                            I should try Harriett's again. In my experience, it doesn't survive delivery well. But then neither do most burgers.

                  2. sirregular Jan 7, 2008 02:43 PM

                    Definitely the Bistro Burger at Big Nick's

                    My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

                    1. c
                      cimui Jan 7, 2008 02:44 PM

                      Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'm going to send this thread to my buddy and let him pick. I can't decide!

                      1. h
                        harrison Jan 8, 2008 05:03 AM

                        I haven't been, but the newish pj clarkes by lincoln center perhaps.

                        Harriets does make a great burger, but no place to eat.

                        I'll now shed another tear that All-State closed.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: harrison
                          JoanN Jan 8, 2008 05:41 AM

                          "I'll now shed another tear that All-State closed."

                          Yes. A moment of silece, please.

                          Have you found anything that comes close? Not just the burger, but the ambience? Where are we in the nabe going now? I haven't been to pj's either, but I don't think it's the kind of place you would call a local hangout.

                          1. re: JoanN
                            harrison Jan 8, 2008 08:31 AM

                            Unfortunately, I don't think we'll ever see anything like it again. It's O'Whatevers or McWhatshisname or nothing..

                        2. l
                          lookingforpig Jan 8, 2008 06:00 AM

                          Don't forget about the fairway cafe, they make a very good burger.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: lookingforpig
                            selizara Jan 8, 2008 08:43 AM

                            Fairway's burger is great. It's always my go-to choice in the neighborhood.

                            1. re: selizara
                              samiam123 Jan 8, 2008 01:27 PM

                              The Parlour on 86th and Broadway makes a great burger.

                          2. n
                            nativeNYer Jan 8, 2008 04:53 PM

                            I have to agree with JoanN re Nick's - both locations. Even after trying the Sumo Burger, I was unimpressed. I hate to admit it but Dallas BBQs on W72 has a good burger but it's all relative as we don't have burger joint, goodburger, stand or shake shack up here. bottom line is we need a burger place up here. for now, i either go to dallas bbq or i schlep over to the parker meridien.

                            1. t
                              TheNewYorker Jan 30, 2008 06:21 AM

                              Unfortunately there's no Melon's on the UWS (I'm still coping with that fact), but there are some decent burgers. Haven't been to the newer PJ Clarke's up there, but the midtown bar makes an excellent burger. Big Nick's is decent and Harriet's Kitchen is solid. Will have to try Nice Matin.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: TheNewYorker
                                Stuffed Monkey Jan 30, 2008 08:08 AM

                                Melon's was on the UWS long ago, in the space where Amsterdam Brewery is.
                                My burger of choice is Fred's, though I also liked Good Enough to Eat's (a great "avoid the brunch crowds: dinner choice) and French Roast's.

                                1. re: Stuffed Monkey
                                  selizara Mar 4, 2008 10:13 AM

                                  The PJ Clarke's UWS burger is ok but nothing to write home about.

                              2. c
                                cimui Jan 30, 2008 09:26 AM

                                So I've been eating my way around the burger establishments of the UWS since my original post and have the following to report:

                                1. I do not like Big Nick's burger. I think whoever cooks it does the whole flattening with a spatula thing, which squeezes out all the juice! And the quality of the meat is also pretty poor.

                                2. The burger at Fairway is nice and juicy, a bit too thick for my taste, but made of excellent meat.

                                3. Wasn't really a fan of French Roast's burger. It was fine -- nothing to complain about -- but I wouldn't ever go out of my way to eat it.

                                I hear great things about Harriet's from reputable sources and still can't wait to try. Fred's I'll try when the weather gets warm and I can dine there with my puppy. That way if I don't like the burger, the pup can have it. :)

                                A $20 burger at Nice (I think that's the price) seems a bit steep. I have to question whether the four napkin burger is really worth it, esp. given that my brunches and lunches at Nice have just been fair, not great.

                                Thanks, again, all.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: cimui
                                  JoanN Jan 30, 2008 09:37 AM

                                  I'm in total agreement with you on Big Nick's. I just don't get it.

                                  The burger at Nice, at least according to their online menu, is $15.75, and I thought it was worth every nickel.

                                  I'd never even heard of Harriet's before. Just looked them up on menupages and some folk there were raving about the fried chicken as well. Going to have to try both. Thanks for the tip.

                                  1. re: JoanN
                                    Scotty100 Jan 30, 2008 09:51 AM

                                    Big Nick's on W.72 and Columbus makes sense at 4am when you've had 10 beers...go there in daylight hours and I'm not so sure...:)

                                    Perhaps try O'Neals W.69th and Columbus...old time NYC vibe and a decent burger at 11 bucks I think. Big and juicy...! Just don't go pre-theater when it is mobbed.

                                    Another option on Columbus at W.71 is the Irish dive bar Emerald Inn...awesome dark little place full of the neighborhood and great shephards pie and irish stew. Have not tried their burgers but the waitress swore to me one time that their burgers bring in a lot of trade...

                                    1. re: Scotty100
                                      cimui Jan 30, 2008 10:08 AM

                                      Oh, I've been meaning to pop into Emerald Inn for about three years, now. It looks wonderfully divey and cosy. Reports of good food might just be what I need to actually get me there. Is the shepherd's pie of the ground beef or lamb sort?

                                      1. re: cimui
                                        Cpalms Jan 30, 2008 10:18 AM

                                        There is such an opportunity for a restauranter to come in and open a quality burger joint. Nothing on the UWS is better than average. PJ Clarkes UWS is just bad, Nicks is average at best, Harriet's is OK but its just delivery, Nice Matin eh...every other 'hood either has a great burger place or has had a new very good place open in the recent years...but not the UWS. With all the kids and families, its a no brainer...

                                    2. re: JoanN
                                      cimui Jan 30, 2008 10:15 AM

                                      Ah you're right on the price, of course. Sorry for the (slight) exaggeration. Perhaps it makes no sense for me to complain, since I'm perfectly happy to dish out for many other food items -- but for a burger, it just seems like a whole lot!

                                    3. re: cimui
                                      LisaZee Feb 28, 2008 07:25 AM

                                      Yes, do try Harriet's fried chicken!! Sadly, like that Seinfeld episode, they are very strict with their delivery zone and I am 1/2 a block outside of it.

                                      I never got Big Nick's either (or the giant slice, salty pizza at whatever that place is on the west side of Bway and 100th-ish.)

                                    4. o
                                      offthebeatenpath1 Jan 30, 2008 12:53 PM

                                      cafe luxembourg, hands down.

                                      1. t
                                        TexasEx10 Jan 31, 2008 07:45 AM

                                        Westside Brewery's are pretty decent (since All-State closed). They serve them on English Muffins.....

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: TexasEx10
                                          Rafie Feb 3, 2008 05:12 PM

                                          I second this. Get the bison burger, medium rare.....it's delightful, esp when you add the swiss and sauteed mushrooms.

                                          And I like to mix up the side it comes with; you can order half onion rings (they're pretty great) and half sweet potato fries (or normal fries). I'm salivating right now..

                                        2. j
                                          jsmooth995 Jan 31, 2008 09:05 PM

                                          My mom and I often lament the lack of a-list burgers up here.

                                          Big Nick's Burger Joint was our family favorite 20 years ago but honestly it doesn't hold up against today's competition.

                                          Fairway and Nice Matin both solid if slightly pricy.. Harriet's Kitchen good if you're down for take-out.

                                          Fred's and Dive Bar on 96th and Amsterdam are decent.

                                          I also like Jimbo's on 125th and Amsterdam you're willing to venture up that far.

                                          Haven't been there but Toast just replaced Carne on 105th and Bway, perhaps a viable option?

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jsmooth995
                                            nativeNYer Jan 31, 2008 09:18 PM

                                            i had the burger at toast's new location a few weeks ago. although it was very good, it didn't blow me away. fries are very good.

                                          2. d
                                            Daniel76 Feb 1, 2008 11:31 AM

                                            Nobody has mentioned the Parlor?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Daniel76
                                              CTCajun Feb 2, 2008 09:30 AM

                                              The Parlour has a great sirloin burger... big and not that expensive either

                                            2. a
                                              Almondine Feb 4, 2008 11:09 AM

                                              Just had the Five Napkin Burger at Nice Matin. I thought it was pretty good, but not amazing. Obviuosly the name leads you to expect a big juicy mess. For the record I only used one napkin (and didn't even get it that messy). It was cooked perfectly medium-rare but I thought the comte cheese and aoli did nothing for the package. The fries were decent. Wouldn't go out of my way for it.

                                              1. guttergourmet Feb 9, 2008 07:09 PM

                                                No contest-Telepan. AHT (A Hamburger Today) agrees.

                                                1. d
                                                  Dave O Mar 4, 2008 09:00 AM

                                                  Our UWS Burger prayers have been answered...


                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Dave O
                                                    nativeNYer Mar 4, 2008 09:12 AM

                                                    OH MY GOODNESS! THEY HEARD US!!! DAVE O, THANKS FOR POSTING THIS. [breath. breath]. so do they have a tentative opening date? from the looks of the current state of the former jacques imo space, it will take many long months, i suppose. this will be one busy corner. i hope they are planning to remain open well past 11pm ... and outdoor seating would be wonderful.

                                                    ahhhh... life is good.

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