Monday, June 29, 2009

Best Burger in NYC Search: Burger Joint

Le Parker Meridien
119 W. 56th Street (Between 6th Ave. & 7th Ave.)
(212) 245-5000
Burger: Cheeseburger ($7.50) 

Ritzy, fancy, lavish, elegant, posh, opulent even? Just some of the attributes you could easily associate with Le Parker Meridien, one of the most expensive hotels in Manhattan. Located a block away from two of the most well-known Deli's in Manhattan lore (Carnegie and Stage), our next best burger NYC adventure took us to the ever-popular, oh-so-secret (really? not so much anymore) Burger Joint. Should we have expected meat stacked like Mount Olympus and to be charged a $5 sharing fee? Nah, it's no Carnegie. With faux wood paneling, a cardboard multi-colored menu, movie posters abound and writing on the walls (literally), we knew this was gonna be casual...that's why we wore our flip-flops. On to the review...

Our Expectations: Burger Joint's Cheeseburger, with "the works." "The works," as we had read beforehand, comes with lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard, ketchup, mayo and a slice of pickle. Yikes. A few toppings we'd like to chuck before even setting foot inside the place. Still, we heard the beef was the type that melts in your mouth, the stuff you'd crawl through a desert or more aptly, an NYC sewer, to taste.

The Burger

Meat: No doubt, this meat has flavor. But what makes it great is the tender juiciness. The type of texture that runs through and through, start to finish, with the first bite as good as the last. Considering its such a compact burger, that's quite a feat. Similar to that cookout burger (grilled on an open flame) you devoured at camp, but ten times better. Yet, without the orange drink and OFF bug spray. To our delight, it doesn't fall apart...a big sticking point, in our opinion, with many sub-par burgers. Even better, medium-rare came out, medium-rare...thank you Burger Joint. Having been one of the minor detractors from our previous review's ranking ( see Five Napkin Burger), Burger Joint got it right. They're seasoned pros, grilling the burger to perfection. A quick tip: You fellas (and maybe even some ladies) might want to grab seconds since one cheeseburger probably won't fill you up. Just remember they don't accept credit cards.

Toppings: One of the weaker elements of this burger, the toppings are a bit average. That's what you should expect at Burger Joint, given the decor and burger style. Then again, that's not to say the place or the burger is average, but continuing with the camp cookout theme, the burger comes with those same campfire toppings. Sadly, it doesn't come with a hot co-ed counselor either...but we digress. Ordering "the works" gets you a few toppings we would instantaneously dismiss from our burger. Mustard, blah. Mayo, double-blah. Still, we dig the pickle, that crunchy dill type that adds some serious snap to your bite. As for the cheddar cheese, it's a solid sideshow to the beef. It melts like it should, draping over the sides of the meat but still keeping its composure. That counterbalances the "just OK" toppings since the cheddar allows the meat to remain the star. Exactly what we want and why we're here. Despite that, those formerly mentioned toppings bring the ranking down a notch...sigh.

Bun: Soft white roll, once again (a la Five Napkin). Slightly grilled, not charred, and done with perfect timing. The bun covered the burger, didn't fall apart through the entire eating experience, and wasn't overwhelming while letting the meat keep spotlight. Still, nothing to write home about (get it?).

Bedlam's Burger Joint Judgment

Meat (43):
Awesomely cooked to temperature, flavored with that purpose we had hoped for and good 'til the last bite. The star of this burger.

Toppings (18):
Average, but what we expected. Maybe some grilled onions could do the trick?

Bun (20): Just right. Not a star, but done well and chosen wisely. It says, screw those sesame buns.

81 out of 100

Friday, June 26, 2009

Best Burger NYC Glimpse: Burger Joint @ Le Parker Meridien

We at Burger Bedlam care mightily about our beef. We expect it to be cooked with care, flavored and spiced with purpose, and presented with a promise to satisfy. With all of that in mind, a good burger is only showered with praise when there’s something seriously superb about it…translation; it has to meat our expectations. Sometimes though, a burger's quality can often be overshadowed by the mystique behind its location and atmosphere. Such is the case with our next burger review, Burger Joint. Located in the ritzy confines of Le Parker Meridien in Midtown Manhattan, Burger Joint gets as much buzz from its design (faux-wood paneling, diner-like surroundings) as it does from its cheeseburger. Some call it the "textbook burger." Some say there are none better. As we prepare to make our venture for answers this weekend, we do so with the hope that Burger Joint cooks carefully, is full of culinary purpose, and is ready to satisfy these two burger bloggers. Stay tuned...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Best Burger in NYC Search: Five Napkin Burger

Five Napkin Burger
630 9th Avenue (Corner of 45th St. and 9th Ave.)
(212) 757-2277
Burger: The Original Five Napkin Burger ($14.95) 

So here we are, ready to take our first bite into burger blogging, choosing a much hyped and highly recommended spot in Hell's Kitchen in search of the best NYC burger. Expectations are high, lets get right into it...

Our Expectations: The Original Five Napkin Burger. It's supposed to be big, 10 ounces of fresh ground chuck to be exact, and damn tasty. As a cheese lover, Brett's totally cool with the idea of Gruyere cheese, while Kyle on the other hand has his reservations.

*Fyi, Five Napkin's website lists Comte as the cheese used with the Original Five Napkin Burger. Gruyere, as listed in our picture of the menu, is also known as Gruyere de Comte.

The Burger

Meat: Close to being the perfect combination of flavor, texture and juiciness. Surprisingly, the outside of the patty throws you a curveball with the first bite, providing what we termed "crispy" but what most culinary experts would probably call "seared." The crust leads to a tender, juicy center....yeah its dirty, deal with it. It's that damn good. We don't know how else to explain it. Yet, as pleased as we were with the flavor and texture, that's how unhappy we were with the heat and finishing temperature. We ordered our burgers medium-rare. And medium-rare should always be that, medium-rare! Both our burgers came more like a medium to medium-well finish. Not cool. Still, we couldn't deny the awesomeness of the flavor. On a side note, no excuses if you order a medium-well burger. If you do, we can't be friends.

Toppings: Here's where we differ. Brett, totally cool with the Gruyere cheese. In his eyes, the cheese blended extremely well with the burger's flavors and other toppings. Specifically, considering they use a rosemary aioli, the cheese just fits...but more on that aioli in a minute. Kyle, on the other hand, wished they could throw some Blue Cheese or maybe White Cheddar on the patty. Mainly because Gruyere reminds him of french onion soup... thanks Mom. Still, we both agree, the cheese melted fantastically well on the meat, smothered to perfection. In addition, the caramelized onions offer a nice sweetness to every bite. Solid stuff for sure. Now, back to that aioli. A bit much. Maybe it was just a heavy hand of the chef at the time we sat down. Yet, if you love rosemary, you might want to get to Five Napkin fast, before he eases off the rosemary gas pedal. Don't get us wrong, it also fit well on the burger, but we'd rather have the meat as the star, rosemary should be the understudy.

Bun: Not much to say here except...soft white roll, awesome. Perfect choice and size. It held up well with the weight of the burger and didn't get soggy or sloppy. It threw in some added value, always something we look for.

Bedlam's Five Napkin Burger Judgment

Meat (42):
Superb flavor and texture, but a little overcooked.

Toppings (20):
Creates a unique flavor, but the rosemary was a little overpowering.

Bun (21):
Couldn't ask for a more solid choice....use these at home!

83 out of 100

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Welcome Burger Bedlam Bretheren!

Thanks for stopping by. Today marks the first of many Burger Bedlam adventures as we've finally got this thing goin. After a few weeks of discussions and brain storming, Burger Bedlam Blog was born in Murray Hill, Manhattan. Our story is similar to most, burger enthusiasts who try far too many burgers not to share our own opinions and quest for the single best burger in New York. We plan on making plenty of stops around the five boroughs, posting our likes, dislikes and recommended destinations.

For now, check out our preliminary list of Top Burger Joints, Burgers and hyped up destinations we plan on hitting. We welcome all recommendations ( or and certainly have a long list already, those listed are just the beginning! The Bedlams first review will be logged shortly as we ventured to Five Napkin Burger in the foodie crazed neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen.