Kings of Kobe is a newly crowned burger and hot dog monarchy that rocks some royally special menu items.
They use high quality Schweid & Sons American Wagyu in all of their burger offerings, and their Snake River American Wagyu beef hot dogs are topped with things to make them international in scope, in addition to domestic.
For example, the Vietnamese sandwich inspired “Banh Mine” dog is topped with marinated cucumbers and carrots, cilantro and sriracha aioli to harness that banh mi flavor profile.
In fact, the hot dog products here are the best I’ve had in the city. They’re thick, delicious and satisfying.
In scanning the menu, my eyeballs instantly went to the King’s Standard burger: roasted tomato, white cheddar, pickles and cherry pepper aioli.
This baby was bursting with flavor. The roasted tomato is such an awesome substitute for ketchup. The patty was cooked perfectly. It had a nice crisp char on the outside. It was think enough to remain pink through the center, without being too thick that it becomes unwieldy to eat. My only gripe is that I wished there was one more slice of cheese on this baby, to satisfy my love for cheese-laden “roadside” style burgers.
We also tried The Queen Rules, which is topped with prosciutto, pepper jack cheese, frisee and sweet chili jam.
The sweet chili jam was similar to a relish. I generally dislike relish, but this one was tasty. I liked this burger a lot but I still prefer the King’s Standard over this one.
The battered fries are super crispy and nicely seasoned.
And of course, we tried a chocolate shake.
The full spread:
The menu is really interesting, and the prices are extremely fair for these high quality offerings. My buddy Rev told me about this place and hooked up a comped press visit for me and my wife. I am eternally grateful. My burger delivery options just went bonkers.
JWF is a dynamite place on the upper east side that serves up some really nice traditional British style pub fare. I’m talking everything from scotch eggs, to bangers and mash, to bubble and squeak, to toads in the holes (get your minds out of the gutter).
Me and two “mates” of mine (see how I used the language of the Brits there?) popped in for a quick look-around, and to try the burger. Here’s what we stumbled upon.
A beautifully renovated lower level:
A warm, friendly bar atmosphere:
And a fantastic fucking burger:
I’ll definitely be back up this way to try out some of their other menu items. But let me tell you: this burger comes in as one of the best I’ve had in the city so far. Really juicy. Bun could use a slight upgrade, but otherwise this shit is legit.
SECOND TRIP UPDATE – 8/1/16
The bun certainly got an upgrade in quality, but unfortunately the burger itself was a bit overcooked. It was a bit more like medium well than medium rare.
Fries were pretty great.
JONES WOOD FOUNDRY
401 E. 76th St.
New York, NY 10021
My cousins and I popped in here for a quick lunch yesterday, and I have to say, I was really impressed with the burger here.
It’s topped with melty raclette cheese, charred onions, fresh pickles and remoulade, and served on a potato onion roll. This thing was juicy, well seasoned, just the right thickness with toppings, and just all-around well put together.
It’s definitely a top ten burger, for sure. I later learned that this joint is also owned by the same folks that run Bar Sardine, so they clearly know their way around a burger. For $18, this baby comes with nice golden, crisp, natural cut French fries too.
They have tons of fresh shellfish on the menu, and particularly large variety of oysters. Those would actually pair perfectly with the drink I had, the michelada, which is beer, tomato juice, hot sauces, lime juice and pepper. It may not sound great, but I assure you, it is.
I’ll be back here for sure.
172 Wavery Pl
New York, NY 10014
My wife picked up a Gilt City deal for Le Rivage, with which we shared a 62-day dry aged, bone-in Creekstone Farms/Pat LaFrieda New York strip steak, two sides, a bottle of wine and a dessert for about $100. Pretty great deal, especially if you can use a discount when buying the flash deal.
Anyway, Le Rivage is a cozy French joint in the theater district on 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues.
They gave us some nice table bread with whipped butter to start:
And the wine was an 80% Merlot 20% Cabernet blend that was actually pretty good.
The long, 62-day dry aging process imparted a bit of nuttiness and funk to the flavor of the beef. This baby was masterfully prepared. It definitely can hang tough with some of the best steakhouse cuts in the city. Get your ass over here and try it, if it is still available on special. I give it a 9/10. Why not the full 10? I felt like it needed just a hint more salt, maybe just some finishing salt even, but not much.
The steak came with two sauces, so dipping into these added some of that saltiness that I was looking for from the seasoning. The sauces were a wine reduction and a peppercorn:
Our sides were actually very abundant. We ordered broccolini and fries, but they brought out two dishes of fries, one dish of broccolini and one dish of carrots. We had lots to bring home.
I’m a big fan of broccolini, and I cook a mean broccolini at home quite often. I was impressed with it here. It was simply treated with seasoning, garlic and oil. The carrots were buttered and slightly sweet-glazed, and the fries were nice and crisp.
For dessert, we went with the chef’s recommendation, which was a Jacques Torres chocolate chip cookie and a sweetened, spiked milk.
So simple, yet so tasty. After chatting with the chef for a bit, we learned that he is best friends with Pat LaFrieda, and that Jaques Torres is his godfather! That’s a serious pedigree, and it shows in Chef Paul’s abilities. He did a great job on the steak, especially.
I definitely recommend giving this place a shot, especially if you like to take advantage of Gilt City deals (not sure if this one is still available), or even just their regular three course price fix specials, which are offered daily for between $25 and $40. Very reasonable.
UPDATE – 6/30/16
I went back to Le Rivage to try Chef Denamiel’s award winning French Onion Soup Burger today. Holy fuck, people. This thing is absolutely amazing. It’s not a surprise that he won the “Judge’s Choice” award in New York City Wine & Food Festival’s 2013 “Burger Bash” with this baby, beating out the likes of burger master Chef Capon in the process.
His patty grind is usually between 60/40 and 70/30 lean/fat, and the beef also comes from Pat LaFrieda, just like the steak I reviewed up above. He seasons the patty with salt, pepper, drawn butter and brown sugar before it hits the grill. After the first flip, he puts on a slice of a Swiss gruyere type cheese called Emmenthal, which melts around the patty to seal in the medium rare juices. This then gets placed onto a butter-toasted sandwich-sized English muffin, and then topped with cognac-reduced confit onions, and then a bechamel cheese sauce for good measure. The top bun is placed on top, and then the French flag toothpick with roasted cocktail onion and gherkin gets popped on. Viola – perfection.
This is definitely one of my new favorite burgers; it really is unique. I walked out with a full belly, but I was still craving another one. Pretty sure I will be back again very soon, especially because the place is close to both work and home.
Burger still on point:
Even my maniac food photographer homies agree:
Croque Madame is stellar!
Quiche is the best I’ve ever had in my life:
You can even buy it frozen, to go, to fire up at home!
And the escargot is executed with perfection:
Garlic bacon frisee salad: amazing. Tangy and delicious.
Since I made an ass kicking video for this recipe, I don’t really have to do much typing here. Watch:
One word of caution: you do NOT have to season the burger with salt before cooking. The egg yolks retain a LOT of salt content, even if you are very efficient at dusting it all off after pulling them from the curing box. So be mindful.
For something like $25 or $30 we got two burgers, a side of fries and two drinks. Below is a shot of the “Scooby Snack,” which my wife ordered. It was their frozen slush drink of the day. In this case, hibiscus margarita.
Pretty sweet deal, and the food was actually good. Check out the burgers:
That bottom burger is called “Joe’s Burger,” which is a patty that’s topped with sloppy Joe and cheese. Lots of meat. My bacon cheeseburger was a slight bit above medium, but I didn’t mind because it was juicy and well seasoned.
The fries were perfectly cooked, and a pretty good side for $6. It will feed two, no problem.
I went to Church Street Tavern with my wife and the founder of The Dishelin Guide and the DishEnvy app to finally check out their acclaimed burgers. The talk is accurate. These burgers are fantastic! We tried two: The Wellington and the CST Burger.
Let’s start with The Wellington: the patty is topped with mushroom duxelles (french for chopped mushrooms, onions and shallots sauteed with butter and herbs), foie butter and a cheesy pastry crisp that mimics the puff pastry that typically surrounds a Beef Wellington dish.
You can see it sticking out the side here like a piss-clam tail, or a limp geoduck phallus.
I guess those words aren’t the best to use when describing delicious food, but that’s what comes to mind. Anyway, I was expecting the burger to be wrapped in the pastry, just like traditional Beef Wellington (pictured below), but that wasn’t the case.
The burger was good. It was cooked to a nice medium rare, and the toppings were delicious. The bun held up nicely, didn’t crumble and wasn’t too stiff.
The better burger of the pair, however, was the namesake CST (Church Street Tavern) Burger, which was topped with bacon-onion jam, aged cheddar, and arugula.
It was seved on the same toasted brioche bun, but this burger had a much better flavor to the meat, perhaps from better seasoning and searing. Cooked to a perfect, juicy medium rare, this burger really hit the spot. I’d definitely go back for another.
The big surprise of the evening, though, was this amazing porchetta sandwich that we saw on the menu.
It’s a nice, tender pork sandwich with sauteed spinach and melted Swiss cheese. There were even some crispy pork bits in there for texture. The spinach had a nice hit of garlic to it without having any chunks of the breath-killer hidden inside. And the Swiss was surprisingly tasty to me. I didn’t expect to like Swiss with Italian pork, but it worked. I highly recommend this sandwich.
The fries here are equally satisfying. They’re slightly more squat and thicker than most places, but they’re cooked perfectly and generously-yet-simply seasoned with salt and herbs.
The bar here is pretty nice too, and at happy hour you can get $4 select beers. I had a Session lager:
CHURCH STREET TAVERN
313 Church St.
New York, NY 10013
We decided to take in the water view for a quick lunch here at Louie’s Backyard in Key West. I went with a burger, which, here, is topped with provolone cheese, caramelized onions, roasted poblano peppers and sri racha aioli.
I didn’t get much heat from the aioli or peppers. The burger patty itself was nice, though cooked a little too much in my opinion. The steak fries were pretty good. I usually don’t like these, but they were very crispy.
My wife had this really interesting smoked salmon and egg brik turnover. The outer shell was light and crisp, and inside was a runny egg yolk and perfectly cooked salmon.
My buddy went with this really great duck confit dish. Super tender.
Definitely give this place a try if you’re in Key West. The bar outside is nice too, even if you don’t sit to eat.