Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
May 19, 2009 02:12 PM

Today's visit to HB Burger and City Burger

Well, to all the burger-Maniacs such as Fat-boy Ozersky and others, I took one for team and went to both City Burger and H&B burger Today, and the reviews are in.
So the only important disclamer is that I did NOT pony up for the 12 dollar "black label" at City burger. I took a combo of a reg burger with American Cheese and works, FF and root beer.
Best part was indeed the meat itself, perfect MR and juicy, with really good flavor.
Sadly that's where the compliments end. The patty was perfectly cooked but with little to almost no char, and as such not much crust. And it was tiny! Smaller than the shack for sure., which seems to be most peoples' fav whipping post for some reason.
The toppings were certainly adequate but the bun was a LOSER, toasted perhaps, but maybe 1/2 an hour before being used, DRY as could be, started breaking apart almost immediately. The Fries were flat out terrible, they were soaked with oil, therefore not crispy and as a result barely touched.
On to H&B, I went for a simple approach here, MR no toppings, a few grilled onions on the side. The Burger was overall better, good flavor, but more enjoyable for the char/crust factor involved, and the soft bun that clinged to the meat so perfectly, I did add a little spicy mustard half way through just to change gears. I tried the bacon/pepper jack tater tots, nothing amazing but when in the mood as I was, were good. I really wanted to try the homemade chips with blue cheese but didn't want to interfere with the burger.
Final price
City burger combo w/ FF and drink 11.55
Plain Burger and Taters at H&B 12.15
Final result, edge to HB, but need to return to try the 12 dollar Black Label at City before final conclusion. But I imagine even it is better as a single burger, it's a catch 22- at such a high quality, I wouldn't dare put anything on or near it, and with the overall experience being sub-par how many times would I really go there, just for a $12 burger... not many I imagine.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Great feedback. I've been meaning to try HB for the longest. Thanks!!

    1. Well I too finally went to HB Burger today to see if the Burgermeisters (Cutlets and Solares) knew their stuff. I've had City Burger's Black Label many times 4 blocks south. City Burger's Black Label is clearly superior to the ordinary HB burger which was very respectable nevertheless. One point to HB-the egg cream at HB (with Fox's-U-Bet) beats the hell out of the egg cream at City Burger.
      This just in from A Hamburger Today-City Burger is no more. Damn. First Una Pizza now this.

      3 Replies
      1. re: guttergourmet

        Yes, there's no more City Burger. But I'm happy because I thought their burgers weren't very good at all. I've had both the Black Label and the regular, and actually preferred the regular because it was cooked a bit better. The meat they used were good. But what's the use of having good meat if you're going to cook it so that it resembles a frisbee? I swear, the texture of the Black Label burger (when I had it) reminded me of the awful burgers I grew up with in the cafeterias of public schools. You could totally play Ultimate with it.

        I did try HB Burger. Well, warning to those who only have about an hour lunch break -- you probably should go before noon or after two. I got there around 1:00P, placed my order within 10 minutes and waited for 45 minutes for my burger to show up. The waiter apologized a couple of times and said that the kitchen was backed up. While I would be more tolerant of this during dinner time, people generally have to go back to work during lunch hours. The place is relatively new, so perhaps they are working out the kinks and it will get better over time. Burger was good for the area. Cooked to medium rare and juicy. I ordered the tater tots, and I would not recommend it. The outside was nicely crispy, but the inside was the gummiest thing I've had. The potatoes were definitely overworked in the food processor/mixer. The onion strings were better, but kind of cold. Perhaps the french fries would be better, but I haven't tried those. I ordered the cheddar cheese burger. The cheddar wasn't bad. My dining partner ordered the blue cheese burger. The blue cheese was definitely not high quality. My preference would be for the cheddar.

        Overall, I'd probably not go back because I'd rather walk down to brgr or go to Five Napkin if I wanted a burger in this vicinity. But if you're in the Bryant Park/Times Square area, it's not a bad place for one. Just make sure you've got plenty of time if you're going at peak lunch hours.

        1. re: Miss Needle

          I liked City Burger. Being replaced by a glatt kosher scnitzel joint. Sounds interesting. I recommend rather than HB, the brooklyn Diner. Expensive but a great burger. Not to mention their "15 bite" hot dog.

          1. re: guttergourmet

            Thanks for the rec for Brooklyn Diner. I've passed by it numerous times but never went in.

            Wow, a 15-bite hot dog! And they're probably not talking about dainty bites either. As I'm not a hot dog fan, don't see myself ordering it anytime soon. But I'll be sure to look for it on other people's tables.