Monday, April 25, 2005

The Burger Bonanza

The Burger Bonanza

"Why eat it if it hasn't any cheese on it?"

The great thing about food is that it can be as exciting as something like, say, birdwatching. I'm serious, birdwatching can be a complete adrenaline rush. Not that I particularly birdwatch, but think about the thrill of finding that elusive special rarely seen bird.

Although I'm no diligent birdwatcher, I take much pleasure in finding the best eats in the city. I have a mental catalog which I finger through whenever a particular craving comes to mind.

One hunger features strongly when the weather turns warmer: the burger, and in my case, the cheeseburger. Why eat it if it hasn't any cheese on it?

I have to admit, I haven't been chasing the burger trail as much as one would expect a foodie to, looking for that great American hamburger, but it's difficult when you've found what you consider already the perfect burger.

The Burger Joint (housed in Le Parker Meredien) is my favorite place to go to for a delicious eat. Just one fills me right up, then add in the fries and chocolate milkshake and I'm up to about feeling "oof". Features include mustard with zing, satisfyingly fat pickles, and made on the spot milkshakes. I find it extremely reasonably priced for New York. The Burger Joint is cherished by many not only for the burgers, but for the slight irony of a local collegiate-like hangout in the swank all mirrors and marble Le Parker Meredien hotel. There is only burger or cheeseburger here, vegetarians can take their business elsewhere.

The Shake Shack which is actually vegetarian friendly, has a "special sauce." Run by well known Chef Danny Meyer, and voted Best Burger from the New York Metro, I did have to try it. This smallish, but very tasty burger does have that nice crispy edge to it; what I would like to call crunch meat bits. I'm definitely going back, but it did more damage than Burger Joint. Pluses include outdoor dining in Madison Square Park. I also heard a new art exhibition is opening up in Madison Square Garden soon.

The Corner Bistro I checked out this weekend with a chum. Weighing at 8 oz. of beef, this meat beast of a hamburger was too much for me to handle. I ate half, heaved a heavy sigh, and gave up the fight. Again, with the irony. Bistro sounds very snooty, but the place was quite the opposite. The scene was a little too rowdy for me on a Saturday night. Chum said that the bar was serving burgers well into the night, so that's worth noting if you'd like an extremely large burger.

Woefully, I might add, is In-n-Out burgers missing here in Manhattan. Why, when we have dozens of McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King's, but no In-n-Out? Any fellow Californian will vouch for me on this one, that In-n-Out has a very special place in our hearts. For those of you whom have never had the happiness of an In-n-Out burger, it's not only the burger, which is great, especially Animal style (with minced caramelized onions), but also the fact that so many others have felt the exact same happiness with their burgers, shake and fries, arranged in the exact same configuration, and a little too hot for their lap to handle, in the same white thin open cardboard box.

Another burger place to note in the city according to my friend is Puck Fair, which does a good burger and beer deal in the afternoon.

Chow happy!

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