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May 29, 2010 04:39 PM

Rare Bar and Grill - burgers NOT done well

Eating a burger at Rare Bar and Grill might have been one of the most disappointing meals I've had in Manhattan. First, the food (Lexington Ave. location at 37th). I ordered an M&M burger while my brother ordered the burger of the day. Both burgers were ordered medium after the waiter made a point of telling us (I prefer medium rare, but don't like rare), that the medium rare tends to be on the rare side. Both burgers showed up close to well done. The meat was dry, crumbly and tasteless. The burger itself was stacked like a skyscraper and was literally inedible from a physical standpoint. No human mouth can possibly take a bite of a vertical tower like this, and while it looked good, it was absurd. Maybe a snake with an unhinged jaw could do it but not a human being. My brother's burger came with their truffle fries which arrived ice cold and limper than a jellyfish. Entirely inedible so we asked for more - which arrived only slightly warm and still not crisp. The poor service needs to be as well. We were one of only four parties in the entire place at the Lexington location and it took over 25 minutes to get our burgers. We were in a hurry and couldn't send the burgers back and wait another 25 minutes so we decided go grin and bear it. But we did mention the well done meats for their reference - to which the server admitted to us that the chefs had in fact been overcooking their burgers lately. Great. Couldn't have mentioned that to use BEFORE? When I treat myself to a burger, which isn't often, I want a great burger that satisfies. I plan to avoid this place like the plague. Side note, the restroom is supposedly in the hotel lobby but it's an unreasonably long distance away, down flights of stairs and difficult to find.

Rare Bar & Grill
303 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

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  1. Forgot to include a photograph to illustrate how absurdly stacked the burgers are - impossible to eat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: OC Mutt

      I was there with my sons last night. I ordered my burger with Roquefort cheese only. I did take off the onion and lettuce, put the slice of tomato on the bottom, and once I pushed it down a bit it was fine. One son had the M&M, the other had another special, both were towering stacks, however both of them are 6 feet tall, and have large enough mouths that it was fine. I will admit that I like my burger the way that steak houses describe medium rare, a warm red center. This was how we all ordered ours, and they all came out medium, so next time I will know to just order it rare. The burgers were good though. We ordered the assorted fries basket, that is in the appetizer section, and they were hot, crisp and good. 3 different types, regular and sweet potato shoestrings, and cottage (waffle) fries.
      The place was relatively full when we arrived around 7 pm on a Friday night, but we were able to get a table, which happily was in the room in the back that was quiet. The front was crowded, and noisy from the hopping bar. We didn't feel the service was slow at all, if anything, I felt rushed. Of course we weren't in a hurry either. When we left, at about 8:15, the place was packed.

      1. re: robinsilver

        Tried Rare this weekend with some friends after we did a scavenger hunt at Grand Central (so fun!)... and was pleasantly surprised by the place. There were six of us and between us we had two M&M burgers, two ribeye steaks and two tuna sandwiches. Something for everyone, including the non-carnivorous types. I loved my burger! Yes, it was kind of difficult to eat, but it was cooked to order (med-rare) and juicy and delicious and the cheese, bacon and sauteed shallots on top were awesome and delish. The bun was nice, too, although the bottom did sort of get decimated by the juice/fat of the burger. I should have thought to move the tomato and lettuce to the bottom for that reason/ Ah well... Next time! The burger was too much for me to eat in one sitting (this was, I think, the first burger I've indulged in since starting Weight Watchers three months ago!), and we're too far away to do a doggie bag, so I had to leave more than half of it behind, but I sure enjoyed what I had. We also shared parmesan truffle fries and onions rings - both were outstanding, in my opinion. Very fresh and tasty - I could even detect a hint of the beer in the ring batter! We also were lucky enough to sit in the mostly quietish back room, although a rather loud and possibly semi-drunk family was seated about a half hour before we left, which made it hard for us to hear ourselves talk, but it was not the worst I've experienced. (I will spare you the details about the really loud, obnoxious kids on the train home! LOL!)

        My SO had one of the ribeyes and loved it. HUGE, thick piece of meat. It came with a side of fairly bland risotto that paled in comparison to the yummy fried sides! Maybe it just needed a little salt, but it just had no flavor to it at all. But there was a mushroom red wine sauce that came with the steak that was very flavorful - I dipped a fry in it to try!

        All in all, our party was happy with this place and we all agreed we'd go back again in the very near future.