Monday, May 24, 2010

Best Burger in NYC Search: West 3rd Common

West 3rd Common
1 W. 3rd St. (b/w Broadway & Mercer)
(212) 529-2059
Burger: The Common Burger ($12) 

Considering the commotion made with regularity about the hot new burger spots in NYC, it’s a bit surprising that our next review, West 3rd Common Bar & Restaurant, happens to fall under the radar of most foodie blogs and professional critic reviews. Nestled in the chic NoHo area of Manhattan, boasting an equally chic “gastropub” label and New American fare courtesy of FCI grad Chef David Walker, West 3rd Common offers a unique burger experience. Not only do you dine in a cozy 19th Century library styled ambiance, but you get to taste what promises to be a competitor in the best burger in NYC category. Owner Dan Warren opened this “sister” restaurant following the success of his Alphabet City locale, Common Ground, with hopes that West 3rd could provide a quality and more upscale counterpart across town. Curious to see where Chef Walker’s creation stands in the Burger Bedlam court of judgment, we headed downtown anxious to get our hands on the “Common Burger.”

Our Expectations: The Common Burger. An eight ounce Pat LaFrieda blended patty with cheddar, tomato, rockets, sautéed onions, and herbed aioli served on a brioche bun. Differing from many of the ubiquitous burger joints in the city, West 3rd Common chooses to steam their burger rather than using the conventional grilling technique. Verbatim from Chef Walker, “Steaming it makes it super juicy, even when it’s cooked well done.” A steamed burger can perplex our palates now and again, as we’re used to the grilled flavors of beef accompanied by a crusty or glazed outer edge. With a steamed burger, a technique which famously began in Connecticut, the result is often a juicier burger that lacks the cloddishness that can coincide with an eight ounce patty. Still, poor execution can strip the burger of flavor. Given Chef Walker’s culinary background, successful execution is unquestionably an expectation of ours.

The Burger

Meat: We at Burger Bedlam always approach a larger patty with cautiousness. From time to time, we encounter one that is so massive and monstrous that the size has consumed the chef’s efforts to add flavor and maintain juiciness. Fear not, burger enthusiasts, for the steaming technique that Chef Walker implements results in a juicy and flavorful bite. Combining a fresh taste and undeniably rich seasoning, you’re bound to lick your fingers clean and give an attempt to catch the grease that drips down your hands. That, is a quality in which all best burger in NYC contenders should possess.

Toppings: Provided the comfort food nature of the menu at West 3rd Common, the toppings which accompany the Common Burger are rather expected. Herbed aioli and sautéed onions make for a pleasing combination, one we can truly get behind. Sans ketchup, the toppings add a nice punch to our pallets, but not enough to overtake the beef as the winner in the taste category. They were complementary and done well, with the cheddar draped nicely and all the rest being a more standard and traditional accoutrement.

Soft brioche, with fine coverage of the patty which also withstood the juiciness of the steamed results. Not as sweet as we would’ve liked, but it did its job admirably.


Bedlam's West 3rd Common Judgment

Meat (46): Despite our fears, the steaming technique was implemented quite well, with a flavor and juiciness that should be cheered. Moreover, although the size of the patty was a bit more than we tend to hope for, it didn’t bog us down or disrupt the pleasant and tasty eating

Toppings (21): Not overly done or contrived, the toppings added plenty of value to the taste of every bite. The aioli was well received and sautéed onions were sweet but not soggy.

Bun (20): Great proportional size, held up to the juiciness and tasted fresh. No complaints.

Ranking: 87 out of 100


  1. I love the word "cautiousness"

  2. went today. thought their burger was juicy, but tasteless. needs seasoning.