Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Burger in NYC Search: The Spotted Pig

The Spotted Pig
314 W. 11th Street (cross street: Greenwich St.)
(212) 620-0393
Burger: The Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese ($17) 

With each new review we write at Burger Bedlam, we take some time following our burger consumption to reflect on what we, hopefully, just enjoyed. Often, we visit a restaurant/bar/gastropub and immediately know where to rank the burger and what our review will look and sound like. Further, we tend to feel a sense of accomplishment considering we have taken another step towards our lofty goal of trying every “contender” for the title of best NYC burger. Our most recent review, The Spotted Pig, certainly fell into the category of “highly anticipated” in regard to past critic’s praises, reader hype, and our own ranking expectations. To say that we presumed a top 5 ranking would be accurate, yet, we always try to temper our expectations in order to not put the burger on a “pedestal” prior to reviewing it…unbiased opinion is a must, right? As we said in our preview post, The Spotted Pig is home to the highly praised Chargrilled Burger with a heaping amount Roquefort Cheese. Chef April Bloomfield of Michelin Star and Top Chef (judge) fame has consistently received recognition for having the best burger in NYC. Additionally, the Spotted Pig is home to an incredibly constructed blend of beef from meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda, notorious for top notch blends. We hoped the burger could live up to the immense buildup...fingers crossed.

Our Expectations: The Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese. Yes, we’ve come for the beef in a pig named restaurant. Just because the name says pig, don’t be fooled, the burger is the true reason to hitch a ride to the west village. Topped with what’s been termed an “ice-cream scoop sized” amount of Roquefort cheese, we expect somewhat of a cheese attack to go with our chargrilled patty blended by Pat LaFrieda. A sizable burger, weighing almost a pound, The Pig’s presentation is a staple in most review’s we’ve read. Donning square grid marks on the bun and accompanied by a huge pile of shoestring fries, the burger should still be the centerpiece of the plate.

The Burger

Meat: Tender, check. Juicy, check. Freshness, check. Seasoned to perfection, double-check. Enough saltiness to whet your palate, but not overbearing, and it comes with a slight crispiness in every bite. As far as beef and preparation, the patty left nothing to be desired. A true testament to the chef, we would gladly eat this burger sans cheese and enjoy it. Further, as expected, our orders were sent in with a medium rare request and came out to the tune of medium rare to medium. Most burgers from our reviews to date have been consistent to the point where they don’t undercook the meat. Trust us, you don’t want to be near that fine line where your cow is still mooing. Though, as Brett stated, his was “maybe a bit closer to medium in looks but not noticeable as I ate.” Regardless of any temperature transgressions (sorry Tiger, we stole your word), which were minimal, our mouths still water as we write.

Toppings: Roquefort, a.k.a. blue cheese, added a dubious amount of creaminess to every bite. Being fans of blue cheese in general, this burger is a must for any blue cheese lovers out there. Yet, blue cheese haters might have reason to be deterred from trying the burger with such a copious helping on top. Though, the burger without blue cheese would still be a great burger. When you got the right bite with the perfect amount of cheese, beef, & bun it was close to perfection. Unfortunately, a slight complaint of ours was the “geography” if you will, of the topping. Having blue cheese piled in the middle of the burger makes for a few potent bites. Easily remedied, just take your knife and spread it out. Its necessary.

Bun: Top notch, the bun ranks up there with the best. Though some brioche buns tend to add too much "nuttiness," this bun added a nicely neutral but sweet flavor. Additionally, the perfectly square grid marks add a nice touch to the presentation but we wonder if the sizable bun might have been a tad big for the patty. Still, it held up to the burger’s juiciness without falling apart or making things messy…who wants to eat a burger in pieces? Plus, aside from the grill marks, the entire bun was toasted well edge to edge.

Bedlam's The Spotted Pig Judgment

Meat (48): Delectable and nearly euphoric. High marks for slight but not overwhelming saltiness and an obviously fresh product. Cooked well and with an accurate combination of juicy tenderness.

(22): A powerful cheese, the Roquefort was to our liking, but has the potential to overpower an eater. It needs a little more careful spreading across the top of the patty, but it complements the beef mightily. We do wonder, however, what this baby would taste like with some American or if it could hold up sans cheese.

Bun (22):
A tad big but not to be overshadowed, the bun stands out for its great texture and perfectly toasted edges. Tasty but still complementary, its a solid bun that adds to the enjoyable eating experience.

Rating: 92 out of 100

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Burger NYC Glimpse: The Spotted Pig

Readers of Burger Bedlam know that we post our reviews with a focus on the three sections of every burger: Meat, Toppings and Bun. Each review involves a bit of scrutiny with every section and we try not to take ourselves too seriously when doing so...these are burgers after-all, not necessarily high end cuisine. Yet, our next stop in our search for the best burger in NYC brings us to a destination that can't be overlooked for its unique atmosphere and unmistakable notoriety with trendy New Yorkers, foodies, celebrities and tourists alike - The Spotted Pig. Home to a culinary icon in New York, April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig is co-owned by a few other esteemed chefs and restaurateurs (Mario Batali being the most well-known, of Iron Chef fame). Bloomfield boasts a burger that is distinguishable from many others in the city, specifically due to the "ice cream scoop sized" amount of blue cheese nestled on top. Now, we realize that The Spotted Pig will continue our trend of "gastropub" reviews following Spitzer's Corner and Resto, but we know that this burger, unlike the previous two, has more often claimed the crown of many critic's vaunted best NYC burger title. We're ready to take a bite and can't wait to head to the West Village for some "sceney" eating. Stayed tuned...