New York City has some of the best burgers in the world. Here are 12 hamburgers you have to try in NYC, from Shake Shack to J.G. Melon.
A few weeks ago, my colleagues at Playboy decided it would be a good idea to do a story about the 12 Burgers In LA You Must Eat. As a 15-year resident of New York City, I considered it my sworn duty to represent for burgers in the city so nice they named it twice. The diversity of the city is reflected in its iconic burgers, which range from deep fried burgers to patties stuffed with foie gras. Here are the 12 Burgers In NYC You Must Eat.
Corner Bistro: The humble (in size and attitude) establishment is one of the few normal bars left in the West Village, which helps explain why people still flock to it. The always-long line to get in snakes behind patrons sitting at the bar. By the time you finally get a seat, you will be more than ready to demolish the half-pound burger with American cheese and bacon prepared in a kitchen the size of a bathroom stall. The bun will probably crumble midway through your burger, but you will be too wrapped up in a food orgasm to care.
DB Bistro Moderne: The first time I ate the burger at renowned chef Daniel Boloud’s Bistro Moderne, Tom Hanks was seated a few tables away. But that wasn’t the sight I marveled at. My attention was seized by the sirloin burger stuffed with braised short ribs and foie gras. With a black truffle and parmesan bun, this is true burger decadence. And at $35 it oughta be.
Shake Shack: What started as a single hot dog cart in Madison Square Park grew into a burger empire with 63 locations and plans for an IPO in 2015. Shake Shack’s expansion has done nothing to diminish the deliciousness of the signature Shackburger with its all-natural Angus beef and ShackSauce. I once drove half an hour out of my way just to pick one up.
J.G. Melon: There isn’t much that can get me to trek to the tony Upper East Side, but the burger at Melon’s is worth the trip. Even though it sounds like it’s owned by a robber baron, J.G. Melon is really just an old-school bar that makes a great burger. The restaurant gets so packed that you may have trouble finding the space to move the burger in your hand to your mouth, but if you succeed you will be rewarded.
Minetta Tavern: Originally opened in 1937, Minetta Tavern was a preferred watering hole for literary lions such as Ernest Hemingway and Ezra Pound. Legendary restauranteur Keith McNally (the man behind Odeon, Pastis, and Balthazar) renovated the place in 2009 and commissioned meat guru Pat LaFrieda to create a signature “Black Label” blend of prime dry-aged beef cuts for Minetta’s burger. The result is a patty that stands up alongside the restaurant’s equally lauded bone-in New York strip.
Burger Joint: It’s tough to imagine what guests checking into the fancy Le Parker Meridien hotel in midtown must think when they see the long line winding around corners. What lies at the end of the queue is Burger Joint, a tiny restaurant tucked into the hotel. The Burger Joint’s burger is delightfully messy, right down to the brown paper bag it’s served in, which is sure to be soaked through with grease by the time you take your first bite.
Peter Luger: Luger’s is a mainstay on “world’s best steakhouses” lists, but the burger is equally deserving of reverence. I used to walk by Luger’s every day on my way to work and even at 9 am, the smell from the place made me crave its burger. It’s only available at lunch though, so block out some time in the middle of the day if you’re going to order one. (You’re going to want a nap afterward.) Be sure to get a couple slices of Peter Luger’s signature thick-cut bacon as well.
Spotted Pig: When most people decide what kind of cheese they want on their burger, it’s a simple choice between American or cheddar, maybe Swiss. At Spotted Pig, which helped bring the gastropub tradition to the U.S., you get Roquefort, and lots of it. It’s a strong flavor that might leave diners wary at first, but once you try it, you’ll become a convert. Pro tip: use some of the accompanying shoestring fries as an additional topping.
The Original Korzo: Deep fried burger? Deep fried burger. The Slovak restaurant in Brooklyn’s Park Slope first cooks the burger patty to medium rare and then wraps it in dough and deep fries the whole thing. Juicy doesn’t even begin to describe it.
P.J. Clarke’s: Nat King Cole called the offering from this midtown east establishment, “the Cadillac of burgers.” We aren’t going to argue with Cole, whose song “Unforgettable” is also a good way to describe P.J. Clarke’s burger. It’s been around for years and is still worth the visit.
The Breslin: All of the burgers on this list are beef, except for this one. Chef April Bloomfield went with lamb as the meat of choice for her restaurant at the trendy Ace Hotel in New York’s NoMad neighborhood. Put all skepticism aside, lamb at the hands of Bloomfield and sourced from Pat LaFrieda, who created the Black Label blend for Minetta Tavern, and topped with feta cheese makes for a burger you will keep coming back for.
Whitmans: The Juicy Lucy originated in Minneapolis, but Whitmans in the East Village serves up a version that would make the most diehard Purple People Eater happy. Two thin patties of a special short rib blend are squashed together around a scoop of pimento cheese. Once cooked it results in a burger that is all cheesy, gooey goodness. The menu does warn you that your Juicy Lucy might squirt. Don’t be afraid.