Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Best Burger in NYC Search: Back Forty

190 Avenue B (at E. 12th St.)
(212) 388-1990
Burger: The Grass Fed Burger ($11)

On a non-descript block of The East Village sits Back Forty, an atypical burger joint sitting unassumingly amongst a breeding ground for contenders in our best burger in NYC search. Offering up “high quality food at reasonable prices within a casual atmosphere,” Owner and Chef Peter Hoffman has honed a menu that screams with simplicity but has a knack for ingenuity. From oysters to pork, rosemary to ramps, the ingredients in each dish provide both a sense of freshness and familiarity. Yet, despite the collection of mouth-watering items available, many come from far and wide to try a single item and what’s often lauded as the best burger in New York, period.

Our Expectations: The Grass Fed Burger. As the menu states, a grass-fed blend topped with heritage bacon, farmhouse cheddar, served with homemade spicy ketchup and sliced pickles all on a hefty brioche bun. Grass-fed can often lack the same “wow” factor in flavor profile compared to grain-fed beef, but we’ve heard too much acclaim for the burger to be worried.

The Burger

Meat: Contrary to our initial worries, the patty tasted freshly ground and was loaded with beefy flavor. Chef Hoffman obviously paid attention in burger class as experts know a loosely formed patty, such as this one, is best for optimal flavor and texture, packing taste in all the nooks and crannies. Though, while the un-taut patty fulfilled our palates, the cooking execution needed a tweak as our medium rare, while mostly juicy, was a touch dry. Regardless, the burger redeemed itself with a nice char that crammed in the supreme flavor we mentioned.

Toppings: Contradictory results in this category. Working for the toppings was the nicely sharp and pungent farmhouse cheddar, draped delectably across the entire patty. Working against the toppings were the puny strips of bacon which surprisingly still managed to add too much salt to the equation. Lastly, the house made "spicy" ketchup wasn't all that spicy although it was quite the deviant from any we had tasted and not overwhelmingly sugary like Heinz tends to be. Points for originality there.

Bun: Brioche won’t do if the stuff ain’t fresh, but this certainly was. A pleasantly soft bun with rich, nutty flavor, we appreciated the good measure on beef to bun ratio. Though, a clear flaw came in the form of consistency as the bun deteriorated somewhat as the juices began to flow. Being left with half a bottom bun three quarters of the way through eating is no fun.

Bedlam's Back Forty Judgment

Meat (46): Immense flavor and a well-formed composition with solid char, we loved the patty.

Toppings (20): Too much salt from a paltry piece or two of bacon but excellent, decadent taste from the plentiful helping of cheddar and admirable unique notes from the ketchup.

Bun (23): Freshly baked and full of rich flavor with one small flaw. A bun should withstand the anticipated burger juice.

Ranking: 89 out of 100

1 comment:

  1. you guys rock just when we thought we had tried them all you hit us with another fighting contender.looks like well have to try this one. what we love most about your reviews is the fact that you leave no stone unturned. your reviews are soooo thorough and chock full of terrific info.we really know what we can expect after reading you blogs.you guys need to expand your horizons and get all these venues together for a burger cook off.burger bedlam you guys tell it like it is and thats why we keep on coming back to your blog when the
    taste for the best burger takes over. keep on doing what youre doing.youre the best.