10 Best NY Burgers, 2012
If America had a signature dish, what would it be? I think it must be the hamburger. And who doesn't adore a juicy ground patty of beef, lamb, turkey, seafood, or vegetable substances in the mellow embrace of a good bun? In fact, the most common last meal requested by death row inmates is the cheeseburger, and it's a favorite of office workers, too, who only feel like they're on death row.
Here, then, are the 10 best (and often wildest) burgers I've eaten so far this year, from a list that includes dozens upon dozens.
10. Bacon Cheeseburger at Ulysses (shown above) -- At this charming Stone Street gastropub, picnic tables spill out onto the cobbles, and a murmur goes up from the benches when one of these beauties flies by on a tray, the bacon sticking out at the sides like an unkempt mop of hair, the onions raw, crisp, and testifying to the perfection of purpleness. Finally, there's the beef patty, nothing special except it has that ground-minutes-ago flavor and tastes as fresh as a spring meadow. 93 Pearl Street, 212-482-0400
9. Hamburg at Ootoya -- Germans introduced the hamburger to the Lower West Side docks in the 1820s; eventually, it became bunned and added an "-er" to its name. Somehow, this original burger must have arrived in Japan sometime in the '50s (my conjecture). Anyway, this historic Asian recipe floods a nicely cooked beef patty with enoki mushroom gravy. And the Japanese sides (pickles, chwanmushi, lumpy potato salad) turn out to be a boon in combating burger fatigue. 8 West 18th Street, 212-255-0018
8. Lamb Burger at Morgane -- So you thought the tiny neighborhood bistro (as opposed to the big, brassy brasserie) was dead, huh? Even though it's located on Bedford in Williamsburg, Morgane still manages to seem out of the way, doubly so in the shady backyard. There, enjoy a perfect lamb burger, pink in the middle and slabbed with goat cheese that's coarse-textured and tart. You might hallucinate you're standing on a hillside and talking to a shepherd. 340 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-599-0699
The goat cheese makes an excellent complement to the lamb patty.