Tag Archives: cheeseburger

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

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

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

Cheeseburger Tacos

These are absolutely incredible, and super easy to make. Nothing fancy here, just some truly soul-satisfying food.

SHIT THAT YOU NEED

  • Pan (I prefer cast iron)
  • Spatula
  • Butter or Ghee
  • Ground Beef (I used 45-day dry-aged spinals dorsi)
  • Minced or Sliced Onion (I used red, but you can use other shit)
  • Minced or Sliced Pickle
  • Minced or Sliced Tomato
  • Sliced American Cheese
  • Thousand Island Dressing
  • Shredded Iceburg Lettuce (If you like fancy shit, then fine)
  • Taco Shells (I used flaccid corn, but you can use rock-hard)

HOW THE FUCK TO MAKE THEM

  1. Heat up your pan and toss in a little bit of butter or ghee. Once that’s liquefied, throw in your beef and your onions.
  2. Chop and mix them together with the spatula to get a uniform distribution of onions into the ground beef.
  3. Spread the meat and onions across the entire surface of the pan.
  4. WAIT. Allow a crisp to form on the bottom of the meat and onion mixture.
  5. Flip the mixture over to get a crisp on the other side.
  6. Cover the the meat and onions with slices of American cheese.
  7. Cover the pan with a lid, allowing the cheese to become melted.
  8. Scoop some of this “cheeseburger” mix into your taco shells.
  9. Add lettuce, tomato, pickle and thousand island dressing.
  10. EAT, SHIT, REPEAT.

Gotham Burger Social Club

My friends at Gotham Burger Social Club have really started ramping up their presence at food festivals and charity events, offering up their delicious creations for generous revelers and hungry festival goers. If you ever get a chance to try one of their burgers, you need to do it!

They’re deceivingly simple and delicious. Lots of crispy-crusted texture from the smash on the flat top, great creamy melted cheese, perfect ratios of seasoning and toppings, and overall high quality ingredients and meat – whether it’s a Pat LaFrieda dry-aged blend, a Schweid & Son’s combo of chuck, short rib and brisket, or high end Kow domestic wagyu/angus cross.

The first time I ate one, I had the “Cafe Tappi” burger, by George “Tappi” of Booze and Burgers. It’s a double smash with dry aged beef, melted American cheese, caramelized onions and pickles on a toasted potato bun.

This has evolved a bit, sometimes showing itself as a single smash with caramelized onions, pickles, American and a special sauce.

But at most of the events where they pop up, they’re doing a delicious Oklahoma style smash, where thinly shaved onions get smushed into the burger patty and steam-cooked as the burger crisps up on the griddle. They’re topped with melted American, ketchup, mustard and pickles. Check out these videos:

They’re a delicious ode, homage and tribute to the great American roadside burgers of the past. Keep an eye out for these guys at events around NYC and even beyond. I’m hoping for a brick and mortar shop sometime in the future, since these are addictive, every day kinda burgers.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to book them for a party or an event, reach out to Mike Puma at Gotham Burger Social Club on Instagram or at GothamBurgerSocialClub@gmail.com and tell him Johnny Prime sent you.

Red Hook Tavern

Red Hook Tavern is the recently opened endeavor of famed BBQ pit master Billy Durney, of Hometown BBQ. After mastering regional BBQ, he decided to take on the iconic old school NYC tavern style joint – typically featuring dimly lit wood grain interiors, a great selection of beer, wine and cocktails, a champion burger and a beefy chop or two. Think Minetta Tavern, Chumley’s or even McSorley’s. The outside even kinda pays tribute to Minetta Tavern. Similar font, coloring and shades drawn:

So did Durney achieve that iconic goal? In short, yes. There are some BIG hits here, but there are also some misses as well. Let me get into it so you know what to get and what to avoid.

We shared four starters among four people. We ordered the corn and nduja salad with radicchio cups, the wedge salad with bacon, the chicken liver pate, and the charcuterie board.

The corn and nduja was good, but it wasn’t as spicy as I had expected. In addition, the radicchio cups added a little too much bitterness into the dish. Maybe swapping out for some Bibb would be better.

The big hit for me among the starters was the wedge salad. It comes with a nicely cooked slab of Nueske’s bacon, and a surprisingly fresh pop of dill throughout. This is definitely big enough to share, so get this and share with another.

The charcuterie board was delicious, featuring lomo (my favorite – dry cured pork loin), salami and venison salami, along with a nice fresh slaw to cut the fat. I just wish there was more of everything.

The chicken liver pate was smooth, creamy and delicious. I could have easily crushed this by myself, which is what I recommend that you do. The only issue with that was that the toast was very dry and brittle. That bread needs an upgrade.

We shared four different entrees. We did the pan roasted half chicken, the 45-day dry aged strip steak, the grilled head-on spot prawns and, of course, the burger (we did two of those).

The prawns were overcooked, unfortunately, and that delicious chili, lemon and garlic sauce didn’t really get into the flesh, rendering them kind of bland unless you really dragged them through the sauce. The heads were delicious though. They come three to an order, but the waiter Ryan was awesome and asked if we wanted four pieces so that we could all get one. That’s the kind of service people will remember. Bravo, Ryan.

The Pat LaFrieda steak was very tender, nicely cooked, and had a great crust on it.

The addition of that finishing salt was essential, because it was otherwise just kind of bland in flavor. It didn’t have much punch or character to it, and certainly not much dry-aged flavor. 7/10.

One good thing about the steak is that for $49 it also comes with creamed spinach. I really liked this spinach. Finely chopped, not too creamy.

The chicken was better than both of the above entree items. It came with mashed potatoes and gravy, which was a nice touch, for just $28. The meat was juicy and tender, and the skin was crisp and well-seasoned. Get this!

But the star of the meal was this incredible burger.

Look at how perfectly cooked it is inside:

It comes with three perfectly crisped and seasoned potato wedges, and a half-sour pickle spear.

If you’re not into onions, you can remove yours from the bottom (the burger comes out sitting on top of an onion core slice). I generally don’t love raw onion on my burger, but this onion is somewhat steamed and softened, that way you don’t get that insane vaporous bite that destroys your mouth for two days. It also catches any juices that come out of the burger, making it a perfect flavor sponge that protects the bottom bun from sogging up.

It may look simple and pedestrian, but the bun is brought in fresh from a special bakery; the patty is a great mix of lean and fatty beef cuts that sport a really nice dry-aged flavor; the cheese is perfectly melted down the sides of the burger to create a lovely drape of full coverage – you never want for that melty American goodness; and the maillard sear on the outside even has a nice crunch to it for some texture. What a masterpiece. This might be a new favorite, especially at $22. While I generally prefer fries, the wedges were definitely good. I kinda wanted a couple more though.

The prices here aren’t too bad either.

I highly recommend this place. It’s tough to get a reservation, but if you get there early (or late, for that matter) you can probably score a seat at the bar pretty quickly.

RED HOOK TAVERN
329 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Hudson Yards Grill

This week I tried out Hudson Yards Grill in my endeavor to eat at all the new joints in the mall over there. Here’s how it went down:

Fried Oysters

These were great. Super crispy outside, like you’d find on good fried chicken. Tender, perfectly cooked inside. Almost like they were just steamed open. Get them.

Burger

Great dry aged flavor without being overly aggressive. I ordered medium rare but it came out somewhere between medium and medium well. I didn’t mind much, since it tasted so good. But that should be noted. Great fries too.

Strip Steak: 7/10

I almost gave it an 8. But not quite. It had good flavor and was seasoned nicely,but the grilling process left it in dire need of a crust. Also it was just not a very impressive cut to begin with. I was hoping for something thicker and with a bone. The potato that came with it was medium rare – meaning it still needed to be cooked more.

Rib Eye: 6/10

This just didn’t have the character or flavor that the strip had. It was a little bland despite being seasoned well. Same lack of crust issue as the strip. It felt like this could’ve been an Applebees steak to be honest. In addition, it was accompanies by eight pathetic string beans, a nice tube of bone marrow and a horseradish cream sauce that would be better suited for a roasted prime rib as opposed to a grilled rib eye.

Coconut Cake

Fail. This was dry, heavy, and overly sweet. I had high hopes for this but it was a let down.

Drinks

Great white mezcal negroni, strawberry gin fizz and lavender margarita.

Summary

I’d definitely do drinks here again, along with a burger at the bar. Skip the mains and focus on the apps if you’re sitting for a bigger meal though. The steakhouse prices for the cuts of beef here just aren’t worth it.

HUDSON YARDS GRILL
Hudson Yards
4th Floor
New York, NY 10001