Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Best Burger in NYC Search: Waterfront Ale House

Waterfront Ale House
540 2nd Avenue (cross st: 30th St.)
(212) 696-4104
Burger: The Waterfront Burger ($11.95) 

A burger is always enjoyable with a beer…that’s fact. While many best burgers in NYC can be enjoyed thoroughly without a brew in hand, our next burger review brought us to an establishment that might just be the ideal locale to grab a pint and chow down on a sensuous patty of beef. Waterfront Ale House, home to “warm beer, ugly owner, and lousy food” as so defined on their outdoor sign, was Burger Bedlam’s next venture into the foray of finding the best NYC burger. With the beer flowing – microbrews, domestics, and international flavors included – we trekked around the block in our own Murray Hill hood to try Waterfront’s Zagat proclaimed “sublime burgers.” Something of a dive, we take a break from our most recent reviews at “gastropubs” to get down to brass tax, burgers a la carte. Screw the ambiance; we don’t need no stinking ambiance. Give us a burger, beer (ok, beers) and we couldn’t be happier.

Our expectations: The Waterfront Burger. A half pound patty of fresh ground sirloin served with toppings of your choice. We at Burger Bedlam always go for the Bacon Cheeseburger unless the burger establishment is known for something else – a la The Spotted Pig or Shake Shack. Yet, most of the reviews we’ve done come with bacon and cheese…we’re not complaining. Would you? Although we had a hard time passing on the chili topping, as we know how good we know the chili is at Waterfront, but we digress. We will gladly take one for the team and try the bacon cheeseburger.

The Burger

Meat: If you’re looking for punch from a burger, you hope for the meat to knock you out. At Waterfront, you might consider the meat a jab from your girlfriend rather than an uppercut from Tyson. Sure, the meat was juicy, despite its overcooked texture, but it lacked any standout features. Whereas the meat usually sings with seasoning and freshness at many best NYC burger spots, this patty lacked much of either. Under-seasoned is not the way to win our hearts and appetites.

Toppings: Bacon makes us smile. Its one of those foods that can make any burger, breakfast or brunch complete. Waterfront does its part to keep us consistently happy with the pig product as it produces what might be the best feature of their burger. Now, that’s all well and good, but should it really be the case? This is after all, a burger, and not bacon, blog. With that said, it’s got a delectable crisp and smokiness that complements the burger well. As for the cheese, basic American, but melted expertly.

Bun: Solid bun, spanning all sides of the burger and holding up throughout the eating experience. Slightly burnt from toasting, but nothing that affected the taste. Though, does it add to the flavor of every bite? Not so much. Regardless, it isn’t horrible like some other NYC burger restaurants…we’re looking at you, Royale.

Bedlam's Waterfront Ale House Judgment

Meat (29): Still slightly juicy but lacking the seasoning we yearn for, the meat was underwhelming and overdone.

Toppings (20):
Standout bacon with the crispiness and smoky saltiness we desire. Waterfront is more a BBQ joint than anything else when it comes to food, so we expect this type of result. The cheese is melted well.

Bun (20):
Right size, but slightly burnt, not much of an addition.

Rating: 69 out of 100

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