Friday, January 7, 2011

Best Burger in NYC Search: Schnipper's Quality Kitchen

620 8th Avenue (cross of 41st St.)
(212) 921-2400
Burger: The Schnipper's Classic ($8.99) 

Your typical jaunt over to the Time Square area of Manhattan is likely to include one of the following activities – Broadway show, a Madame Tussauds or Dave & Busters visit, “relaxing” amongst the tourists in the newly made Broadway plaza, or more than likely an outing to one of many diverse restaurant offerings (national chains be damned!) in the vicinity. Though, despite the hodgepodge of cuisines, following the masses to such establishments would likely leave you empty-handed if you were searching for the best burger in NYC. Thankfully, in recent years we’ve seen a handful of fresh options arise in the form of HB Burger (March 2009), Shake Shack (July 2010 - a Burger Bedlam favorite) and Counter (December 2010) amongst others. If you’re willing to travel to the outskirts of Times Square, you’d also find more seasoned choices (pun intended) in Five Napkin Burger or Island Burgers & Shakes. We obviously have some eating to do since at publishing time we’ve yet to visit all locales mentioned, but we made the effort to cover the area by heading over to another relatively new entrant in the mix, Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen. A fast-food-esque option created by the ever successful owners of the Hale & Hearty Soups chain, brothers Jonathan and Andrew Schnipper, it’s known for quick comfort food with burgers being no exception, if not the focus.

Our Expectations: The Schnipper’s Classic. A 5-6 ounce patty care of – stop us if you’ve heard this before – Pat La Frieda, caramelized onions, bacon, arugula, special cheese blend and Schnipper’s Special Sauce. As first impressions go, the composition sounds glorious. The size of the patty pays homage to fast food style burgers and it clearly speaks to our tendency of enjoying a burger which isn’t such a monstrosity. The topping components are more or less consistent with a classic option you’d find elsewhere.

The Burger

Meat: Much to our dismay, Schnipper’s well-sized patty let us down, despite the sourcing from Pat La Frieda. Maybe it was the time of day we visited – late on a Sunday evening with no crowd – but the meat lacked character. Overcooked and bearing a funky color, the taste was a bit porous. Absent any savory saltiness and sans pleasant juice factor, we wish we could throw a bit of praise its way, but it’s not in the cards. Even the outer coating was devoid of a true char or glaze.

Toppings: A little more pleasing in this category, the bacon matched tasty expectations and the special sauce added a nice kick. Though, that special cheese blend left us in a quandary, not so sure what to make of it as is didn’t provide much taste. The onions could’ve been handled a bit better as they overpowered the burger without delivering the caramelized texture and execution they promised.

Bun: Last but certainly not least, the bun was the best part of the burger. As our counterpart Nick Solares at A Hamburger Today wrote over the summer, it’s an almost perfectly formed fast-food bun. Great flavor with a zing of sweetness in every bite and perfect bun to beef ratio, we took solace in the fact that the bun held court.

Bedlam's Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen Judgment

Meat (33): Likely a result of the execution, the meat failed to live up to our high expectations. We’d love to get a taste on a day when the griddled patty is handled with care. On our visit, the overcooked and funky color just didn’t do it for us.

Toppings (17): Questionable choice on the cheese blend and strong onions weighed poorly on the rating. The special sauce and bacon performed admirably and counter-balanced the negative effects of the preceding options.

Bun (24): MVP of the burger experience, the bun won us over with a clear sweet punch and quality consistency throughout the meal while providing ample patty coverage.

Ranking: 74 out of 100

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