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Best burger - need some advice

OK - we have been eating our way through NY and have a question. We've hit Peter Luger's, Momofuku, Maialino and Sushi of Gari. We're interested in a good burger for lunch and we're looking for advice.

We have a reservation tomorrow at DGBG and just walked by the restaurant and were underwhelmed. A friend recommended Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, but it looks a little casual.

Appreciate any thoughts on a good burger in a nice atmosphere near Union Square. Colicchio & Sons looks good but who knows. HELP US OUT WITH A GOOD GOURMET GREASY BURGER!!

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Shake Shack
Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

Gari
370 Columbus Avenue, New York, NY 10024

Maialino
2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

Colicchio & Sons
85 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

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  1. For a gourmet burger I’d go with DB Bistro Moderne, but I would not call it greasy. If you are willing to do something more casual I’m a big fan of Burger Joint in Le Parker Meridien. It is definitely not gourmet, but it is a great, greasy burger. Closer to Union Sq. Paul’s (131 2nd Ave near 8th St.) is good, but also not gourmet.

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    Burger Joint
    118 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019

    DB Bistro Moderne
    55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

    1. Of course, Shake Shack is casual. It's located in Madison Square Park. On a nice day -- as tomorrow's forecast indicates it will be -- you can't beat enjoying what is, imo, a delicious burger (but not "gourmet") in that lovely al fresco setting. The best way to avoid the insanely long lines is to arrive a few minutes before the 11 a.m. opening. And, btw, don't miss their sensational soft custard.

      Shake Shack photos can be viewed here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

      With regard to DBGB, I haven't had the burger there, but if you do go, I think the thing to order would be the sausages. First-rate!

      DBGB photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

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      Shake Shack
      Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

      DBGB
      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

      1. I really like BLT Burger. The atmosphere is very casual but comfortable, and the burgers are wonderful. They also have great onion rings and a nice selection of tap and bottled beer. I have not been to Shake Shack (I think the lines are ridiculous, sort of like Magnolia Bakery where everyone from the suburbs lines up for bad cupcakes). I'm sure the burgers at SS are good, but from what I've read they are thin patties, which would not appeal to me. The ones at BLT are thick and have a nice crusty exterior while being pink and juicy on the inside. The burger question always generates a lot of strong opinions, so be prepared for a barrage of arguments over which is best.

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        Shake Shack
        Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

        Magnolia Bakery
        1240 6th Ave, New York, NY 10036

        BLT Burger
        470 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

        4 Replies
        1. re: rrems

          i love the food at blt burger, but the service can be pretty bad though.
          i think the lamb burger is even better than their regular burgers. their shakes are also delicious too but often come out too thin, so u have to stress extra thick. if u like pb & j the lunchbox shake is really awesome. my favorite side are the fried pickles.

          1. re: daffyduck

            By lamb burger do you mean the one made from merguez sausage? That one is my partner's favorite, while I always have the classic with double meat and cheddar.

              1. re: rrems

                Yeah, it's the one made from merguez sausage. Very tasty. I'm definitely a fan of BLT Burger.

                Shake Shack's UWS location has much shorter wait, especially if you go there in late afternoon. I almost never wait more than 10 minutes to order.

          2. Yes, Shake Shack is casual. But if you really want the best burger in NY (that's not stuffed with foie gras and made from filet and costs $50) you really can't beat it. If you insist on table service, I think Little Owl's burger is as good as Shake Shack's - but just a few dollars more.

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            Shake Shack
            Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

            Little Owl
            90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

            1. Thanks everyone. Kind of what I expected. Shake Shack is likely great, but we have a relaxing day so I think I want to go somewhere I can sit down and relax. Agree DGBG doesn't look like the place (we walked by it and it looked like a McDonalds).

              I had a room service BLT burger in Atlanta (I was staying at the W and BLT was room service). It was great, so may be an option. Appreciate any other ideas and the Bistro Moderne burger may be an option.

              Bring on the opinions!

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              Shake Shack
              Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

              11 Replies
              1. re: teejaymoore

                Recommend 5 Napkin Burger...there are a few locations...juicy burger, comte (gruyere) cheese, large bun...can't go wrong.

                1. re: drumwine

                  I co-sign this. 5 Napkin Burger is one of the best I've had recently. Other solid options for a very good "pub burger" include Ulysses on Stone Street down in the financial district and P.J. Clarke's.

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                  P.J. Clarke's
                  250 Vesey St, New York, NY 10281

                  1. re: chewbie

                    I will third this. The burgers are great. They use ground chuck which is ground several times a day. The medium rare is cooked perfectly and is a 10 oz. big fat juicy burger. You can walk in and they also take reservations.

                    Mangia!

                    1. re: foodie1859

                      And i will fourth it :) I LOVE 5 Napkin Burger. That's a greasy gourmet burger that won't break the bank! It's sooo juicy, always perfectly cooked, I'm personally a huge fan of gruyere but the TUSCAN FRIES! oh man...

                      Shake shack is great but it's more of a fast food type of burger and yes very very casual. DBGB was completely underwhelming. All the food we had there was underwhelming. I wouldn't waste a meal there.

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                      DBGB
                      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                  2. re: drumwine

                    I've always been a huge supporter of 5 Napkin and never understood the negative comments. But last night I had a pretty dry kofta burger and bacon cheeseburger. The kofta burger was a bit overcooked, but the cheeseburger wasn't. That's why I was perplexed that it was dry. DH was wondering if they changed to a leaner cut of beef. I usually make a huge mess of myself when I eat those burgers, but my face and hands were super neat. I'm hoping my experience was an anomaly.

                  3. re: teejaymoore

                    Just to note that what you see by looking at DBGB from outside is the bar room. The dining room is in the back and, imo, looks nothing like a Micky D's.

                    Blue Smoke has a top-notch burger. Like the Shake Shack, Blue Smoke is owned by Danny Meyer, and so they both use the same very high quality meat. However, the burger at Blue Smoke is much thicker.

                    http://www.bluesmoke.com

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                    Shake Shack
                    Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                    Blue Smoke
                    116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                    DBGB
                    299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                    1. re: RGR

                      I love the Shake Shack burger too, and on a nice day it's just a great experience as well. But if you're still craving a restaurant burger and are going during lunch, i'd go to Spotted Pig. The wait won't be awful and it's my second favorite burger, behind Shake Shack.

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                      Shake Shack
                      Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                      Spotted Pig
                      314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

                    2. re: teejaymoore

                      Are you sure you were looking at DBGB? it certainly does not look like a McDonalds. Perhaps you were thrown off by the phrases on the wall. The dining room is pretty nice. I personally haven't eaten the burgers there but everyone else I was with had it and loved it.

                      If you are looking for a big greasy burger, scratch DB Bistro Moderne off your list. It is a high class meatball stuffed with foie gras. Good, but I think its a stretch to call it a hamburger.

                      The burger at Blue Smoke is the larger sibling to the Shake Shack burger. Both owned by Danny Meyers they are essential clones of each other but the Blue smoke burger is about twice the size. one of my favorites in the city.

                      I agree with the Spotted Pig recommendation, especially during lunch.

                      I am also partial to the burger at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse in Grand Central. It might only be served at the bar but it overlooks Grand Central terminal's main hall. Think the burger is a fine rendition of a steakhouse burger.

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                      Shake Shack
                      Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                      Spotted Pig
                      314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

                      DB Bistro Moderne
                      55 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036

                      Blue Smoke
                      116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                      DBGB
                      299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: ESNY

                        I love both the Blue Smoke and Shake Shack burger but I don't find them to be clones of each other at all.

                        Shake Shack burger is a thin "fast-food style" burger cooked on a griddle, while Blue Smoke is more akin to the type of homestyle burger you'd get off a charcoal grill in someone's backyard (but more delicious).

                        Spotted Pig is delicious, but the roquefort almost makes it into an alternative kind of burger.

                        To the OP:

                        Burgers are so subjective. Some people prefer crazy toppings, while others prefer to just taste the meat. Going only on taste, my current favorites that are relatively close to union square:

                        Shake Shack. Fast-food style, order a double (or even triple, it's off menu but they'll make) shack burger. It solves the "thin patty" problem. The meat itself has a fantastic flavor. If you want to avoid the craziness of madison square park, they have an Upper West Side location that has downstairs seating. Still no table service though, and obviously not near union square.

                        Blue Smoke. Thick, juicy burger. My only issue with Blue Smoke has been consistency. When they're on, it's my favorite burger in the city. When they're off, it's still quite good, but not the best.

                        Txikito. Only has the burger at lunch. Definitely an alternative burger. Great ciabatta bun, sheepsmilk cheese, a delicious cheesy sauce, and what I can only describe as some kind of sweet pickled onion. It's certainly gourmet and greasy, but I'm not sure it's what you're looking for. If a big hunk of meat is important to you, skip this one. If you just want a delicious mix of flavors with burger as the base, I'd check it out.

                        Less good IMO, but closer to union square:

                        BLT Burger.

                        Wildwood BBQ. Not a favorite restaurant of mine, but a pretty good burger.

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                        Shake Shack
                        Madison Ave and E 23rd St, New York, NY 10010

                        Spotted Pig
                        314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

                        Blue Smoke
                        116 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016

                        Txikito
                        240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

                        BLT Burger
                        470 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                        1. re: lexismore

                          Shake Shack is good if the wait is not too long. Closer to Union Square there is Goodburger . Not too far from Shake Shack with nicer atmo is there is the bacon and blue burger at Primehouse New York (27th & Park). Have also heard good things about the burger with fried egg at Resto (29th bet Park and Lex), although I haven't been.

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                          Resto
                          111 East 29th Street, New York, NY 10016

                          Primehouse New York
                          381 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

                          Goodburger
                          870 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

                      2. re: teejaymoore

                        I was not impressed with DBGB's burger. I just got their regular style burger, I'm not into all these fakakta presentations. Good burgers should be like good NY pizza, with minimal adornment. I love burgers, but it's not something I wait 40 mins on line to eat. There are too many very good to great places. I might be the last one who thinks corner bistro is very good, but the line has to be 20 mins or less.

                        Then there are lots of good places that are never on the top of the list but will make you real happy: All downtown: Royale on C, Fanelli's on Prince, Great Jones, Stone Crow, Molly's, even Jacque which is a little place on Prince you never hear about has a better burger than DBGB IMO. I don't like Joe's but many do. I think 5 guys is very goo. These are all casual or very casual places.

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                        Royale
                        157 Ave C, New York, NY 10009

                        Great Jones Cafe
                        54 Great Jones St, New York, NY 10012

                        Fanelli Cafe
                        94 Prince St, New York, NY 10012

                        DBGB
                        299 Bowery, New York, NY 10003