Category Archives: Burgers

Smashed

Smashed is a new smash burger joint on the lower east side. They just opened four days ago. My wife and I stopped by to try a few items out. We went with the classic double and the blue cheese and bacon burger.

I was blown away by the flavors and the quality. This joint uses fresh beef, and they grind their own burgers in house.

The burgers were perfect in every way. Great toast on the bun, perfect crisp on the patty, great melt on the cheeses, nicely prepared griddled onions, and a killer, unique sauce that really puts the “special” back in “special sauce,” because these days everyone is really just using thousand island dressing. That’s lame.

I preferred the classic double, since the meat really shines there. I can’t wait to go back and try their rendition of a smashed Big Mac.

And the fries? Excellent as well. But I’m looking to try their smashed potatoes on my next trip.

SMASHED
177 Orchard St.
New York, NY 10002

Wagyu Social

I recently got delivery from Wagyu Social and it was a really fun experience. Everything came nicely packaged in round boxes, no spillage, still hot and crispy, and everything neatly organized.

This place is doing some high end burgers that range from $35 for hybrid wagyu burgers to $85 for 100% A5 Japanese wagyu burgers. They even have some sushi items too.

I tried the curry burger and the high roller. The curry burger is a wagyu/angus blend that comes with a delicious sauce for dipping, and it even pairs well with the crispy shoestring fries.

I also tried the high roller, which is their 100% Japanese A5 burger that’s topped with foie gras and truffle sauce. Total decadence!

I think I liked the curry burger best. It was a totally unique burger, and the flavors worked great. Give it a shot!

WAGYU SOCIAL
238 E 53rd St 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10022

Gupshup

Gupshup is an awesome Indian joint in Union Square that serves up some amazing meat-centric items.

Their pepper beef appetizer is one of the best things I’ve eaten so far this year, and I’ve been on a serious meat binge. Super tender, great spice levels, lots of freshness popping from the greens and pickled radish, all delivered on a light, crisp paratha. I can’t get enough of this dish!

Their spicy double lamb cheeseburger is really great too. There’s a hint of mint chutney for brightness, and a wild special sauce slathered onto the underside of the top brioche bun.

Cooked to a perfect medium rare, and paired with their magic masala shoestring fries, you can’t go wrong!

But the real attention grabber here is their large format roasted leg of lamb.

This is 3.5lbs of juicy, tender, perfectly roasted lamb, accompanied by lamb jus, crispy roasted potatoes, pickled red onion, roasted cipollini onion, roasted garlic and paratha for making tacos.

At just $75 this platter will feed three to four people without breaking the bank. That’s a steal! You just need to give the restaurant a 24-hour advance notice if you want this, since it takes some extra time to prepare it just right. I could eat this every week.

Also worth mentioning; fantastic cocktails here, with Indian flavor profiles worked into the mixology. Really delicious. Pictured below is a gin, chai and cardamom martini, and a bourbon cocktail that was going down WAY too easily.

Oh and check this out – The Foodie Magician!

GUPSHUP
115 E 18th St
New York, NY 10003

Empire Burger House

Opening up a new restaurant during this madness takes balls. The folks from Empire Steakhouse are evidently chock full of balls. Not only have they just launched Empire Burger House, a really friggin great restaurant that delivers steakhouse quality beef burgers in smaller, more affordable sizes, but they’re really upped the game in terms of comfort and class in their outdoor dining space. I saw with some friends for a full steakhouse dinner on a very cold night, and I was wearing just a long sleeved shirt. Awesome!

Anyway I tried their single, double and spicy chicken sandwich. I was really impressed. The double was by far my favorite of the three – just the right ratio of meat to bun and toppings. And the special sauce on the burgers is incredible. It’s almost like zingy ranch of some kind, or an Alabama white sauce.

Call this place right now for delivery, or go sit outside in their warm outdoor dining space.

EMPIRE BURGER HOUSE
147 E 50th St Second Floor
New York, NY 10022

Zafi’s Luncheonette

Zafi’s Luncheonette is a small, old school counter-service diner on the lower east side.

They do have some regular seating, but the counter is the best way to enjoy an old school diner like this. If indoor dining resumes in NYC, you’ll be able to pop a squat there with spacing between stools.

I had their burger, which was meh at best, but the vanilla milk shake made it all worth while. That thing was absolutely perfect.

I’ll be back here to work my way through some of their more traditional diner menu items, like a gyro, club sandwich, chopped steak, etc. Hopefully they will all be better than the burger.

Stay tuned…

ZAFI’S LUNCHEONETTE
500 Grand St
New York, NY 10002

Dudley’s

Just a quick note here about Dudley’s, which has a great brunch on weekends. My wife and I tried their Bloody Mary with “chicken salt” rim – delicious. I got mine with mezcal, she got hers with vodka.

They make a great double cheeseburger, reminiscent of Big Mac flavors. I’ll definitely be back for this more often, now that I live close by.

And on the healthier side, poached eggs with smoked salmon and salad. Very nice.

DUDLEY’S
85 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

Balthazar

In all my years in NYC, I never tried Balthazar until last night. I had heard all the great stories: awesome steaks, awesome fries, awesome bread. Only one of those is true, but there are other things worth noting.

My wife and I stopped in for a quick meal at the bar. We started with some nice stiff cocktails, and a pair of apps: escargots and steak tartare. BIG FRENCH.

The escargots were awesome. We crushed them quickly. The tartare was average to good, but the slices of toasted bread were awesome. In fact, the Balthazar bread is so good that other restaurants use Balthazar bread for their bread service.

For our mains, we had the burger and the steak frites.

The burger was really good. Nice crust, great flavor, ample cheese coverage.

The steak, however…

… was Applebees level trash. It was cooked nicely, but the quality was average at best.

I can make anything look good, but this was a 5/10 or 6/10 at best. At $42 this felt like a rip off, and I think it was either flank or flatiron. Not strip as I was kind of expecting. The fries were very good, but not quite at awesome level. Go across town to Raoul’s if a killer burger and steak frites is what you’re after. Here, I would stick to the bread, the burger, and the snails. And yes, the fries are still worth trying if you haven’t already.

BALTHAZAR
80 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

Coterie

We stopped in this joint for brunch after landing in New Orleans with an empty stomach. They offer a trio of broiled oysters with three different styles (you get two of each for $18). These were great, and if you eat here, this is what to order.

The fresh raw oysters are nice too.

I ordered a cajun burger, which was supposed to have a sausage patty, a beef patty, and some remoulade. But they gave me the “Hangover Burger” instead by mistake. It was okay, but pretty basic as far as burgers go.

COTERIE
135 Decatur St
New Orleans, LA 70130

Cochon Butcher

I stopped by this NOLA joint last time I was down in the Big Easy, but I didn’t try anything. I was too full from eating at Cochon, their sister restaurant, next door. This spot is the more casual, bar-style deli. They offer up some meaty hot and cold sandwiches. On rec from a friend, I tried the muffuletta, which he said was better than Central Grocery. I disagree. There was a noticeable lack of meat, and the olive salad and giardiniera is much better at Central Grocery. Pass on this.

I was also disappointed by the porchetta cheesesteak sandwich. This came served in a strange hybrid between a pita and an English muffin. It also lacked meat.

The saving grace at this joint, and a possible best bite of 2020, was the Pig Mac burger.

This was killer, and I highly recommend this if you make the trip over here.

COCHON BUTCHER
930 Tchoupitoulas St b
New Orleans, LA 70130

Au Cheval Diner

I finally made it over to Au Cheval Diner in Tribeca. I’ve had the bacon, the burger and the French dip prime rib sandwich at their sister restaurant, 4 Charles, so I’ll just dump some pics of those here and focus on the new items that I tried. These were all just as great as they are at 4 Charles, so if that’s what you want to get at 4 Charles, just come here and save yourself the headache of fruitlessly trying to score a reservation at 4 Charles.

The bologna sandwich with melted cheese is awesome. Simple and delicious.

The wings are great and crispy, but they were a little bit over sauced.

These hash browns with duck heart gravy were insanely good. Make sure you get these.

The fries were perfect as well, but I didn’t shoot them.

This marrow is great too, especially when smeared onto that buttery toast that comes with it.

I’ll definitely be back!

AU CHEVAL DINER
33 Cortlandt Alley
New York, NY 10013