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Jul 1, 2009 06:55 PM

Bare Burger (Astoria)

Can't comment on the meat offerings as I'm vegetarian, but I've been to this new organic burger joint in Astoria a few times over the past week and a half and I adore it.

You'll find it packed with young locals on any random evening, with a much more chill vibe during lunch time mid-week. The staff have all been friendly and accommodating and are eager to share their knowledge of the menu with you if you're a first-timer. Offerings are standard fast food fare, but at higher prices and of much better quality. I've had the veggie burger and the portabella burger and prefer the veggie. Fries are perfect and the dipping sauces are delish (especially the curry ketchup). A fun, not-so-healthy alternative in the nabe.

Two other things%3

1) I emailed the owners to see if they'd consider offering non-dairy milk shakes for the lactose-intolerant and vegan sets. They plan on doing that soon, as well as offering organic beer and wine in about three weeks once they get their liquor license.

2) My husband found a small piece of wood in his veggie burger during our last visit and brought it to the waitress' attention. His burger was quickly replaced, an order of onion rings was brought to our table and our entire bill was comped. An odd thing to pull out of a burger, and I'm sure it was a freak occurrence, but they handled it well and we'll definitely be back.


33-21 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11106

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  1. We visited Bare Burger last weekend. I had a Piedmontese beef and bacon burger—it came out overcooked. My boyfriend's "jalapeño" burger was also overdone, and, according to him, it possessed almost no heat at all.

    On the positive side, he got the peanut butter–chocolate milkshake, which was excellent (my chocolate one tasted like your standard diner milkshake; not necessary a bad thing in itself, but given that Bare Burger makes their milkshakes with organic dairy products, I was expecting better). We got sides of fries and onion rings, both of which were great.

    Maybe we'll check it out again in a couple weeks. I'm sure they're still working out a lot of kinks in the kitchen. They really need to improve burgers if they want to charge such high prices for the area.

    2 Replies
    1. re: annana

      i would not hesitate to send back an overcooked burger at a high end burger place like bare. i've sent back burgers even at peter luger's when i ordered them med-rare and they came to the table either medium or well done. diners ought not to be cowed by overdone burgers. ask for a replacement.

      1. re: dstrong66

        for what it's worth, I think it's different...if you don't like the food you're served, I wouldn't assume another chance would be different, but if they get an order wrong, that's another thing. If I order a med-rare burger and it comes out med-rare but I don't think it tastes good, I don't think it's appropriate to complain. Just not return. But if I order med-rare and it comes out well-done, that's a problem, they may as well have brought out a hot dog!

    2. I finally tried Bare Burger, and it's very solid food. I ordered a basic beef and cheddar burger because that's the gold standard by which I rate burger places for comparison's sake. The quality of the meat was unmistakable, and the fries were fresh and tasty in their peanut oil goodness. I did order it rare and it was more of a medium rare, and they don't have their liquor license yet, but a Boylan's cola made with real sugar on tap is a pretty decent substitute (for now).
      However, the service is not up to par and it's inexcusable for a place that otherwise has everything else done right (decor, menu, etc.). I waited a few weeks, too, based on a friend's early visit and comments that things were not dialed in yet.
      Anyhow, my burger came with mayo when I asked for it without (and saw her indicate no mayo on the little handheld device orders are taken on), it was not exactly rare (but close), and the fries our table ordered didn't come out - at all - until we asked about them 2/3 of the way through our meal.
      This is a basic menu, with straightforward orders. I just don't get how you can screw up an order that is being electronically taken and transmitted to the kitchen. I don't see how a BURGER place can forget to bring out fries.
      One of the problems seems to be that the place is always full of people, yet there's a single wait person for the entire place. it's just too much for one person to keep up with.
      Also, every time I walk by (I live just a few blocks away) it seems the owners are shootin' the breeze out front. The general impression I'm getting is that the place is doing well enough based on the food that there isn't much motivation to really dial it in.
      Unfortunately, to charge a premium for something like burgers that you can get in every size, shape, and quality level in this town, you need to bring your A game. When you start getting into double digit prices for burgers, you need to be nailing the doneness and getting the orders out fast and correct. PJ Clarke's doesn't screw my order up - ever.
      In short, I'm not writing them off completely, because the food was good, but if they want to be a destination worth coming to Queens for, they need to get their service together. They obviously have the system in place with the handheld remote devices, brand new equipment, and several weeks of operation under their belt.
      I guess time will tell if they are serious about their burger craft, or just riding the organic wave and Astoria's hip neighborhood caché...

      1 Reply
      1. re: TheOneTruePax

        Tried the lamb burger last week (it comes with lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, and a mint cucumber sauce) wrapped in lettuce. The cucumber sauce was basically a tzaziki sauce, didn't pick up on any mint tones. However the lamb burger itself was quite good, nice consistency/texture, cooked through but not overdone. Not sure how it would have been on a bun, but with the lettuce wrap it was quite messy to eat (all the juices falling all over the place) and a few too many onions for my taste. All in all, I liked it, but the price ($11) is a bit steep.

      2. Tried this place for the first time last Saturday. Wanted to like it, I had the Spicy Jalepeno Elk Burger. Holy crap, this burger was spicy - I can handle my spice pretty well (I'm Korean, if that means anything), but in this case, it just overwhelmed the flavors a bit too much. I think the jalepeno relish was a little heavy. I ordered it medium-rare, but the inside was raw. Normally, I would love that, but was a little skeeved because I don't know if elk is ok to eat so rare? In any case, this was my first time eating elk but I feel like i still don't know what it really tastes like.

        And their fries are most definitely not great. In fact, they're pretty horrible. Thin skin-on fries completely limp and soaked with oil. Blechh skip those. I'm really surprised anyone's said anything positive about them. They use Annie's Organic ketchup, which is a little too sweet for my taste.

        Service was super-friendly, but it really took a long time to get our food on the table. The restaurant wasn't backed up by any means; all the tables were full, but everyone looked like they had gotten their food, for the most part.

        Overall disappointing, as I really want to like the place (looove unusual meats), but it's just not that great. And the fries just really kill the whole thing. Don't know if I'll be back, as it seems like I can't get a "normal" burger without special sauces, cheeses, etc.

        1. I just went to Bare Burger a couple of days ago and it seems that they must of heard the complaints. Our waitress was very good and clear away dushes as soon as we were finished and the food was top draw ( I had the beef burger with bacon while my wife had a mushroom burger and my 10 year old had the veggie burger). All three meals turned out fine and the fries and shakes were top draw.

          Maybe they are finally working the kinks out.

          1. i thought all veggieburgers were wood based. i hope it was organic wood. at least it was recycled.