131 Sullivan St.
Sam Sifton’s restaurant of the year. Adam Platt’s best new restaurant of 2011. Eater.com’s restaurant of the year. Just a few of the accolades showered upon Andrew Carmellini’s All-American Soho eatery this past year. Along with hype comes demand, forcing hip New Yorkers to fight over reservations akin to Patrick Bateman’s obsessive tendencies in American Psycho – “A table at The Dutch? Saturday night? 8:30? No problem.” Diverging from his Italian cooking roots at A Voce and Locanda Verde, Mr. Carmellini’s collection of Michelin and James Beard awards lend credence to the notion that the man can do no wrong. And while patrons flock for the tiny fried oyster sandwich, chicken (smoked or fried) and scores of fresh pies made daily, the exuberant menu also includes a prolific patty known to many as one of the best burgers in NYC.
Burger. Cheddar. Orwasher’s Bun. Secret Sauce. Simple enough. More details include a 7 ounce patty from New York’s leading meat man, Pat LaFrieda, and a bun care of New York’s oldest artisan bakery – Orwasher's – all served only at brunch, lunch and late-night.
Meat: Extreme juiciness from a pleasantly plump patty, we’re never disappointed by a proprietary blend from Pat LaFrieda’s team. With texture screaming freshness and an exceedingly consistent char around every edge, it was a joy to consume. That said, points off for a slightly overdone medium rare…less rare and much more medium.
Toppings: Placement was the name of the game. Secret sauce, slathered on the bottom half of the bun, was sublimely tangy while also yielding a touch of smokiness. Onions on top drove home the sweet factor with just enough firmness to not hinder our chewing. Conversely, the cheddar, also on top, wasn’t much of a standout while the odd bottom placement of the typical tomato had us scratching our collective heads.
Bun: Orwasher's is known for their broad spectrum of artisanal breads, and flavor-wise, they delivered. Yet, we can’t place blame on them for what appeared to be a somewhat dry bun that lacked the power to withstand the immense juices of the patty. Additionally, as we mentioned in the toppings breakdown, the tomato and secret sauce are on the bottom half of the bun. There lies the problem. Add in sauce, tomato and resulting juices and the bottom half crumbles quickly. Result – top-heavy bun and soggy hand.
Bedlam’s The Dutch Judgment
Meat (48): Well-balanced and nearly unblemished. Temperature needed a tweak, but it’s hard to find many flaws in this patty.
Toppings (21): Questionable order of placement. Superior special sauce and excellent delivery of the onions. Underwhelming tomato and cheese.
Bun (19): Perfect flavor but dry. Solid ratio of bun to beef but not built strong enough to withstand the questionable toppings placement.
Ranking 88 out of 100