Sunday, July 11, 2010

Best Burger in NYC Search: Blue Smoke

116 E. 27th St. (between Park and Lexington)
(212) 447-7733
Burger: The Blue Smoke Burger ($11.95) 

Dipping back into the Danny Meyer restaurant “well,” our latest burger tasting in the search for the best burger in NYC comes from his barbeque staple on 27th Street, Blue Smoke. Offering “regional barbeque styles from across the country” the dining spot caters to every type of carnivore out there. While Executive Chef Kenny Callaghan serves up delicious ribs, pulled pig and brisket along with a cornucopia of savory sides, we heard quite a bit of buzz about the burger. In addition to the tasty reviews we’d encountered, an almost-too-predictable influence to the allure of the burger was it's meat blend coming from who else but Pat LaFrieda. While we could easily wax poetic for days about our burger devouring history with LaFrieda's blends, we hoped to get past any positive biased opinions we may have formed and took on the Blue Smoke Burger with an open mind and empty stomach.

Our Expectations: The Blue Smoke Burger. A nine-ounce patty of Pat LaFrieda beef from Creekstone Farms. Served with your choice of cheese (American for us) and house-cured bacon, which we gladly added. Any and every review we read had incorporated the two toppings in their eating adventures, so we always follow suit. Still, our readers should note, we always break down the meat on its own by taking a few bites with purely patty alone in order to assess the taste, with the Blue Smoke Burger no exception to the rule.

The Burger

Meat: Making a bold impression from the get go, the initial bite into the burger attacks your palate with a sweet saltiness. Yet, although the meat is plenty juicy, it lacks the fresh and tender composure of many other best burger in NYC contenders. The seasoning is comparable to some of the stronger candidates on our list, but as you navigate your way through each bite and into the middle of the patty, the seasoning falls off considerably. We like a thorough mixture of seasoning in the patty blend, so points were taken from the meat in that regard.

Toppings: We expected a favorable outcome from the toppings and Blue Smoke delivered. The house cured bacon was quite tasty, providing a smoky goodness to each bite. Blending effortlessly with the simple saltiness of the patty, the bacon is a must try and adds a crispy texture. American cheese blanketed the burger with ease and was melted fully, a nice showing there.

Bun: A conventional brioche bun, it served its purpose adequately and was toasted well. Brioche always contributes a slight nuttiness to every bite, while it continues to be a popular choice amongst chefs serving a larger sized patty. Yet, in our eyes, such a bun requirement is indicative that the patty doesn’t always need such magnitude. Additionally, as we ate, the bun fell apart somewhat. We can’t help but think that a more evenly distributed slice of the bun would lend a better hand in staying together throughout the meal. The bottom half was clearly too thin.

Bedlam's Blue Smoke Judgment

Meat (44): Great taste, blended with a nice saltiness that isn’t too in your face, The juiciness is there but the tenderness is lacking. Seasoning drops off as you get through the patty and the vast size might be the contributing factor in that area.

Toppings (22): Bacon that can hold its own to any of our burger reviews, the smokiness and crisp texture won us over. The cheese is always a plus and was presented adequately, but is not necessarily needed with this burger.

Bun (20): Decent taste and toasted to our liking but sliced unevenly which caused for some messy eating. Not our favorite choice of bun, but necessary for the size of the patty.

Ranking: 86 out of 100

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