Monday, July 13, 2009

Best Burger in NYC Search: Rare Bar & Grill

303 Lexington Ave. (cross street: 37th St.)
(212) 481-1999
Burger: The M&M Burger ($15) 

Ahh the lavish Shelburne Hotel, filled with modern opulence and serious clientele. We've come to find that burger spots around the city can sneak next to such high-end locales, while also occupying some of the dingiest spots around. Still, we raise no eyebrows, we just came for the beef. Rare Bar and Grill is located around the bend from what some may call the single greatest Mexican happy hour spot in Murray Hill, Rio Grande (margaritas anyone???). There we come to find what we at Burger Bedlam determine to be an oh-so-close to top 5 best NYC burger. Away we go...

Our Expectations:                The M & M Burger. Eight ounces of Grade "A" ground American Chuck. Flambéed in whiskey, topped with caramelized shallots, cheddar cheese and apple smoked bacon. It's making us drool just typing...(wiping our mouths). Excuse us. Anyway, some may question why we choose the M&M Burger as our review choice, but speaking from experience, this baby tops them all at Rare. It's a serious contender and the "Steakhouse Burgers" that Rare serves up are a serious $21 haul. Even so, from past eating experiences, we at Burger Bedlam know the M&M Burger is the sucka born to mess with. Those Steakhouse Burgers are nice, but they can't step into our ring, they're amateurs.

The Burger

Meat: Holy crap, it's a juicy beef volcano! Run for your lives! Nah, it's not Dante's Peak, but the M&M Burger has some great juiciness, cooked to order with perfection. As you may come to know, we're a bit picky about that temperature gauge. As we all should be. With the juiciness and temperature done well, we found the flavor to lack the luster we hope for in our best NYC burgers. Many can argue that the toppings should aid in the overall flavor of the burger, this is true. Yet, if we took off all the lovely toppings that come with the burger and get it...naked...we hope to find that the burger can stand up for itself. The M&M didn't. Still, the beef was juicy and cooked well, with some great melting tenderness while chewing. In regard to the whiskey, we know it shouldn't literally taste like whiskey, duh, but if its flambéed in that stuff, we'd hope it could give the meat some kick. Not as much as we had hoped for.

Toppings: This is where the burger as a whole shines. The caramelized shallots throw in that sweet punch that onions should and the cheddar cheese rocks the house with some great gooey run over the sides of the lava, if we may? Its just done right, no doubt. The bacon, well, its bacon. Who doesn't love bacon? Kosher, not kosher, who cares? We should really point out, our favorite spot, JG Melon does this the best. Rare tries valiantly, but its more like your average diner fare bacon than a seriously grilled and fatty strip should be. Overall, the toppings make us happy and we truly appreciate them.

Bun: As goes the theme of most of the burger palaces we have ventured to, a soft white roll was the choice at Rare. Toasted to perfection, awesomeness defined. Though, we really wished this baby held up with the entire burger eating experience. Much could be blamed on the intense juiciness of the beef, but the bun fell apart as we ate. Too much "Rare" one could say. The bun did cover the burger and the size was just right.

Bedlam's Rare Bar & Grill Judgment

Meat (42):
Juicy for sure, cooked just right, but lacking the "oomph" we like from the overall flavor. The texture hit us well, melting like an M&M should. In your mouth and not in your hand!

Toppings (22):
One of our favorite burgers in terms of the toppings. You cant go wrong grilled onions, bacon and cheddar. Its subjective, sure, but we like 'em. Don't you?

Bun (16):
Toasted well, covered the beef nicely, but fell apart too soon.

80 out of 100


  1. Good Job. I would add that this location, on Lexington, is superior to its sister location (the one off 6th ave in the village) after several trips to both.
    Also, that French Fry sampler basket with their dipping sauces at Rare is great!

  2. Thanks for the comment King! Definitely have to agree about the french fry basket...we order it every time. Its legit. You can see the dipping sauces in the pics :) The best NYC burger is often hard to boil down to one specific location of a chain...especially in this case. We've yet to visit the Greenwich village location, but you know we will! Keep reading and commenting, love the NY burger feedback!

  3. What can I say. My mouth is watering now. My girlfriend and I have salmon cooking in the oven, may not taste as good as usual. Very descriptive. Thanks!

  4. You guys are similar to those burger guys that were in the NYTimes and on the Today Show. Check out their site,

  5. Steve: Thanks a ton. You can come eat some of the best burgers in NYC with us anytime!

    Anonymous: Yep, we know of em, thanks. Good guys for sure and we like their site but definitely have a difference of opinion in the best burger category. Thanks for checkin us out, hope you keep comin back.