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Jan 15, 2009 04:49 PM

Best Burger in New Haven and nearby

Wnat charcoal broiled or nearly almost like it best quality beef and a yummy roll with no seeds, so tell me please and why? I don't need a bargain because I don't eat burgers a lot because my husband doesn't eat them but once in awhile I must eat one but only want a clean restaurant that is worth the while and excellent quality. Thank you

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      1. re: EastRocker

        East Rocker: thanks for the site but tell me about the burger please, how many times have you had them? We come they way a bit and as I stated I want a good one. What foe you compare it to in fairfield county area if you know any places please.

        1. re: nbermas

          I think Prime 16 is best, for burger variety and noise. We have enjoyed Christopher Martins for years. They have a quiet dining room off to the side, separate from the bar dining area, with its own entrance. The dining room has its own menu with good, solid food.... but then there's the burgers....
          Their bar food is above average and they do a great, FRESH-GROUND burger, fixed many different ways; AND they don't nickel and dime you for customizing it.
          This is also a great place to get a late night meal in the bar area or a burger for dinner in the quiet of the restaurant.
          860 State Street, New Haven, CT 06511, (203) 776-8835

          1. re: Scargod

            Scargod: thank you very much, it sounds like a great place for a Burger. I can't wait to have one. Thanks

          2. re: nbermas

            They meet your criteria for quality of meat, cleanliness, and they have several seedless bun options including my favorite, the pretzel roll. as you can see from the menu they have a wide variety of specialty burgers.

          3. re: EastRocker

            Is it just me, or am I the only person who cannot open the food menus on Primes website. Just four tiny, unreadable thumbnails? Help!

            1. re: cheereeo

              Went yesterday for lunch - - - yummy. Thanks for the reco. The homemade blue potato chips on the app menu were to-die-for. I was so full, but forced myself to finish. I had the Philly Cheese Steak Burger. Interesting that my husband ordered a basic bacon cheeseburger on the build-your-own, and it cost more than the specialty burgers--very smart. Next time I'll try their homemade chips as a side. I had pasta salad side, which was also deliciouis. And, they serve Foxon Park birch beer in addition to the myriad of beers in bottles and on tap.

            1. re: shoreline

              I know about this place but steamed burgers right? Cheap and the quality of meat is?

              1. re: nbermas

                Not at all. They have a unique vertical grilling contraption, with gas flames broiling from both sides. They grind sirloin daily.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Chris Martins? Arugula? For burgers, for real? Sheesh, you can't eat ambiance! For a burger without attitude in the area, how about Glenwood, or the Acropolis Diner....Both cooked fresh, to order, and "char-broiled"

                23 Replies
                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                  BB, I would agree that a "cheeseburger, works" at the Glenwood is close to being a gold standard against which to judge all others. The atomic clock of burgers.
                  Anecdote: I was at the Acropolis sobering up one night with a buddy around closing time for the bars, and 4 Hamden police officers occupied a nearby table. The weather had been a bit inclement, and all four officers had hung their trench coats and police hats on a rack near the entrance. On our way out, my buddy grabbed all 4 of the police hats. As we stumbled to our car in the rain, he tossed all the hats into the rear dumster.
                  "Let 'em splain that one to their sargeant" , he mumbled. (This was 34 years ago)

                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                    True, you can't eat ambiance, but a quiet, comfortable spot to eat sure makes eating the food easier.
                    Christopher Martin's burger:: half pound burger (ground in-house Black Angus sirloin), grilled to order with your choice of toppings: lettuce, tomato, cheese, grilled or raw onion, mushrooms, peppers, bacon, cheese and mayonnaise or Dijon $8. I'd suggest their famous "brick burger"....
                    Would the burger at Glenwood Drive-in be any good, or safe to eat, rare? Charcoal grilled is tempting...
                    but you have to be kidding about the Acropolis cooking theirs over charcoal.

                    1. re: Scargod

                      Scargod, I have had many rare burgers over the years at the Glenwood with no ill effects. (Some hounds think I'm a little "off", but I'll ascribe that to mercury poisoning).
                      For a little history: The original Glenwood was a white clapboard structure that burned to the ground in the late 60's. Wayne Stone, the owner, has been a contributor to youth athletics, going back to my little league days, and a good civic citizen.
                      As for the Acropolis, I have never seen the kitchen. But the menu is surprising in it's range of choices. It definitely gets busy when the bars close, and about 4:00 AM on the opening day of trout season.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        How about a rare taco at Aunt Chiladas? Are you ever coming back to civilization so I can buy you that drink, there?

                      2. re: Scargod

                        You're right, not charcoal, but on a cast grill over flame. I wouldn't think Martins is doing real charcoal either. I am surprised at the price, however. We're definitely talking different kinds of establishments, but a good burger (and not that foi gras topped or kobe NYC stuff) is always worth a look

                      3. re: BiscuitBoy

                        I love Glenwood Drive-In, and they do make a very good burger. That being said, it wouldn't be the place I would recommend for a burger. Nbermas seems to be more in search of a gourmet burger than a drive-in burger, and Glenwood is definitely the latter. I don't mean that as a knock on the place; my top 5 burger joints are all more drive-in than gourmet. While I would put their hot dogs up there as the best in the county, and possibly the whole state, there are better drive-in burgers in the state, and maybe in the county (though I can't think of one at the moment).
                        There are also a handful of very good burgers that go more in the gourmet burger category. Prime 16 and Caseus are the two best that are actually in the city, and, while Caseus has some ambience and maybe a little attitude, I'm talking purely about the food. They also have some absurdly good fries to eat with the burger, which are even better in poutine form. Christopher Martin's also makes a delicious hamburger. My problem with it is that it's just too big, in terms of height. If I can't get my mouth around it, they're doing something wrong, especially when that means I can't get the bun, every topping, and the meat all in one mouthful, and a lot of the toppings end up on my fries. In their defense, the meat is good enough and juicy enough that it doesn't suffer too much from a bite without topping (where nearly every other place I've had an oversized burger has had dry, dense burgers, and whoever is prepping them probably thinks pushing down on the burger to make it flatter won't ruin it). This is one of the many reasons I love Prime 16; I can actually fit their burgers in my mouth, a very rare thing with gourmet burgers.
                        Acropolis is definitely one of the best diners around, but I didn't enjoy the one hamburger I've had there at all. Come to think of it, I wouldn't recommend a burger at any diner I've been to in the state (unless you count the cheeseburger clubs that a diner has to be able to make well to count as a decent diner).

                        1. re: danieljdwyer

                          Don't need gourmet just where the meat won't make me sick, must be fresh and solid recommendations, just saw your other post so sorry so I will check out your places. Thanks Where is Acropolis?

                            1. re: Scargod

                              Thanks, when i come on the Merritt from the south to get to New Haven I come to this cute little area with cute shops and restaurants and I am sorry but don't know the name but when coming into NH I am almost at 2 blocks from the Yale Book Store, do you happen to know what area that is please?

                              1. re: nbermas

                                If you mean you are coming south, on Whalley Avenue, from The Merrit, then the bookstore is in the middle of the "Broadway" area. For this one long block the street is called Broadway. Beyond Gourmet Heaven (where, in season, they have beautiful flowers and fruit out front), at York, it becomes Elm Street.
                                The relatively new (and good), Thali II is behind the Yale bookstore.

                        2. re: BiscuitBoy

                          Also, generally, "char-broiled", "hand formed", and "angus" are essentially meaningless. Burger King can boast two of those. "Char-broiled" unfortunately doesn't always mean charcoal. It can just mean cooked over an open flame rather than on a griddle (and there's nothing wrong with a good griddle). Hand formed burgers are still entirely too dense more often than not. Angus beef isn't any more likely to be high quality than any other standard cattle breed, and it's less likely to be high quality than many specialty or heritage breeds. Even the "Certified Angus Beef" label does not necessarily indicate high quality, and, because it involves breeding practices which discourage genetic diversity, the quality of herds that can qualify for this labelling decreases with every generation. Even the best examples of Angus cattle (usually red, or red/black cross, not the more popular black angus) are not ideal for ground beef. The draw of a prime or choice angus steak is the marbling. Once you grind the meat, marbling doesn't matter anymore. Angus beef has a more subtle beef flavor, so, once marbling is removed as a factor, it can't stand up to the bolder flavors of a Hereford or Devon.

                          1. re: danieljdwyer

                            DD- Include "vegetarian fed" in the meaningless menu-speak too. Talk about prime16, where do you park when you there?

                            1. re: BiscuitBoy

                              Assuming you can't find street parking, there is a lot around the corner and one another block down Crown at Louis' Lunch, Bar and Geronimo. There's also another lot in the other direction, across the street from 116 Crown (the restaurant). I believe, in the evenings, it's free.

                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                Prime 16 is only a block over from my apartment, so, thankfully, I only have to worry about parking when I'm trying to unload groceries (by far the most inconvenient thing about living downtown, but that's another story...). Street parking is usually pretty easy anytime that the club crowds haven't swooped from the surrounding towns. Sunday through Wednesday you should be able to find parking nearby at just about any time of day, or Thursday before 9, and Friday and Saturday before 10. If you can't find street parking, the street level lots are a rip off. The Crown Street garage is the best place to park (same rates as the Temple Street garage, but far easier to navigate) and their "shopper's special", or whatever they call their leave before 7pm special rate is only around $3. Prime 16 also has good happy hour specials, such as all their $5 draft beers being half priced. If you're not a beer lover, or you're a lite beer drinker, it's a great time to give craft beer a try, as, even if you hate it, you only stand to lose $2.50. Whatever kind of Weyerbacher they have on tap is always a great bet.
                                Now, I don't have to deal with parking anymore, but I did for the years after I turned 21 and before I moved here. My friends also come in to New Haven regularly to go out, so I've learned a few things about the best places to find parking. Here are a few: George Street, especially between Church and Orange; Orange Street, especially between Crown and George; Crown Street, especially past College; Church Street, especially past Chapel (there are a lot of legit spots that everyone skips over because they look like they say no parking, but they are only no parking at certain times of day); Elm Street along the Green, and really almost anywhere along the Green with the exception of Chapel. There are some other good places also, but those were always my favorites, because you can hit them all on one continuous route. Going around that route takes maybe ten minutes in Saturday night traffic, and I've never had to go around it more than twice to find a spot.
                                As for "vegetarian fed", you're right, but it's an absolute shame that it has become a meaningless marketing ploy. If only our laws were structured so that terms like that, or "all natural", or even "organic" were more meaningful. Or, you know, simply eradicated the appalling and unhealthy factory farming practices that dominate our agriculture.

                              2. re: danieljdwyer

                                danieljdwer: Thank you very much for your explaining the process so where is a good burger in your opinion please?

                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                  just to expound on a point or two, the only thing "Certified Angus Beef" means is that the carcass is of at least 51% angus heritage. That's it!! In my opinion, CAB is a little overrated. More important is the grade the meat gets when inspected. Actually, the best cut to grind is one of the lesser cuts - chuck. Chuck has the best taste of steaks but doesn't eat well because it's tough. When ground, it makes the best tasting and marbled ground beef.

                                  1. re: ctfoodguy

                                    This may all be so, but I know of several "better" restaurants where they take the cuttings or trimmings of steaks and make hamburger from it. I'm sure they add enough fat to the mix...

                                    1. re: Scargod

                                      Absolutely, but, cuttings and trimmings from higher end cuts of meat is where you get the $9.95 burger on the menu.

                                      1. re: ctfoodguy

                                        Which should lead one back to the Glenwood. Killer onion rings, floured before your eyes, with a cheeseburger "works", and you'll still get change from a sawbuck.

                                      2. re: Scargod

                                        In high school, I was the prep chef at a steakhouse in my hometown a couple nights a week, and that is exactly how we made our burgers. The meat worked out to be an absurdly juicy (even when cooked to well) 70% lean or so. It was also the most delicious ground beef I ever tasted until I got into grass fed heritage beef (and still top five). It also does not have to mean an expensive burger, as the restaurant is using what would otherwise be waste. Several times that I had cookouts while in high school, I got the owners to sell me a few pounds, and we worked out that $0.50 a pound would be a fair price (we're talking meat ground from USDA Prime beef, trimmed from tenderloin and sirloin exclusively). So, while our burgers were $10, it wasn't the cost of the beef that made them that much. It was the fresh baked rolls from the local bakery, top quality bacon, top quality cheddar or gruyere, and the salad and side that you got with it. A cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato is $4.05 at Glenwood (no mention of how much extra bacon is) and onion rings are $3.90, totalling basically $8 for a burger, toppings, and a side. So, $10 really isn't bad when you consider what you're getting for that extra $2.

                                      3. re: ctfoodguy

                                        ctfoodguy: Does that mean when it says "Certified Angus Beef" you won't get sick, I am just leary due to getting very sick from a burger but as I stated my husband has never has one and never will so when I eat them maybe 6 times a year I want them to be the best quality and taste Thank you, that is whay I always are looking for an impeccably reputation for high quality not fancy and very clean in the kitchen and the actual eating area..

                                    2. I also think christopher martins brick burger is awesome, but now going to give prime 16 a shot.