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Zaitzeff

I had some coupons from InBundles so I took my parents to Zaitzeff (18 Avenue B between 2nd & 3rd streets).  I had been there before & tried the BLT, but this was my first time checking out the burgers.  It being a rainy Monday, the place really wasn’t busy.  I opted for the Quarter Pound Kobe Beef burger with avocado (my Mom got the same) & my Dad got the sliders.  The menu said Kobe, but I’m pretty sure that it was wagyū, not that I minded at all.  Although the place was pretty much empty, they were doing a brisk amount of deliveries so the wait for our burgers was kind of long.  However, once they arrived, we realized it was well worth the wait.  There was minimal seasoning on the beef, allowing us to salt/pepper to taste.  As with all kobe & wagyū the meat was really marbled which made the burger really juicy. Continue reading

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Virgil’s BBQ

This is going to be a bit of a brief post as I was on the way to a Thrillist.com party with a buddy & we had some time to kill.  We were passing by Virgil’s (152 West 44th Street between 6th & 7th Avenues) & decided to stop in for a bite.  I’ve heard of Virgil’s before & it was pretty much all positive, unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to order a full meal & try the BBQ.

As usual, the place was slammed & it took a bit of jockeying to snag a seat at the cramped bar.  I ordered the crab cakes which came with a salad & a spicy dipping sauce.  First of all, these things were huge (at $15 they outta be!)!  They were cooked perfectly with a nice, crisp exterior & a moist center.  I ended up having to add a lot of lemon on the crab cakes (I like mine ‘citrusy’).  Surprisingly enough, the salad was also really good & the dipping sauce had a welcome kick to it.

My friend ordered the cheeseburger which was pretty much run of the mill, he seemed to enjoy it though.  They cooked it medium-rare as he ordered it (like me, he’ll send it back if it’s not right).

Based on our experience, I can only imagine that the full menu here is amazing.  I really would like to get a large group together & try out the BBQ & larger platters here.  On the flip-side, Virgil’s does seem to be a bit on the expensive side…  Not a deal-breaker, but something to consider.  However, if public sentiment is correct, Virgil’s ranks right up there (if not above) with the NYC BBQ greats; Blue Smoke, Dinosaur BBQ, etc.
Virgil's Real Barbecue on Urbanspoon
Virgil's in New York on Fooddigger

Bacon Bash!

Ok, this post is 2 months late, but on March 31st I and a bunch of bacon enthusiasts took over the ‘Vegas Room’ in the rear of Village Pourhouse (64 3rd Avenue at 11th Street).  $30 got you a few hours of delicious bacon heaven.  Every dish included bacon in some form, including the drinks!  I had heard about the event from The NYC Menu Girl & managed to snag a 15% discount!
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Black Iron Burger

I’ll admit that I was very excited when Black Iron Burger (540 East 5th Street at Avenue B) moved into the hood last year, replacing the waste-of-space Bouche Bar.  They did a great job on the renovation & now the space has an open feel with seats at the bar, plenty of high tables & a banquet table in the back.

They have plenty of beers on tap, but my favorite is the Belfast Bay Lobster Ale.  Well, on to the burgers which is why we’re here, right?  When I first started coming here, I had a big problem with the burgers as they tended to be overcooked & a little on the bland side.  Luckily, they’ve sorted these teething issues out.  I normally go for a cheeseburger with Cheddar which is not bad at around $7.50.

Some people opt for sauteed onions & other frills, but I like my burger ‘naked’, but obviously lettuce & tomatoes are available.  The sesame buns are always nicely toasted which is a major plus.  They also have a Black & Blue Burger which has Cajun blackening seasoning & blue cheese, I really like this one.  The fries here are good as are the homemade onion rings, but the real gem are the shakes which are made to order with an old school milkshake machine.

All in all, it’s a decent burger, but my loyalty still lies with Royale.  I still do (& will continue) visit Black Iron from time to time.
Black Iron Burger Shop on Urbanspoon
Black Iron Burger Shop in New York on Fooddigger

Frying Pan

I got a chance to check out Frying Pan (26th Street & Hudson River Park) the Lightship of the same name & sprawling barge Bar & Restaurant a few weeks ago.  It was well worth the wait; a sunny but not too hot mid-April Friday afternoon & luckily the place was no too busy (something that I can imagine will change drastically once the weather warms up).
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Royale

Eager to continue my unabashed assault on burger joints in the East Village, I went to Royale (157 Avenue C @ 10th Street).  This has become one of my favorite burger bars in the ‘hood, but I’ve always been sans camera (or mental capacity) to actually blog it.  Luckily for you, I had both on hand during my last visit.

I tend to roll through just after they open at 4pm so I can sit & chat with Sarah, one of the super-awesome bartenders there.  There’s lots of wood in the joint, tables to the right with a long bar leading to a small kitchen & outdoor space in the back.  If the weather is warm enough, they open the front doors which makes viewing the antics of the squatters next door far easier.

Anyhoo, onto the burger.  I always order the $7.50 Royale with Cheese (too much Pulp Fiction?) & generally get a Porkslap (one of the few places that sell it, I think Grape & Grain is the only other one in the EV) or go for the 2 for 1 Draft & Well drinks during Happy Hour.  As you can see from the picture, the burger is served on a sesame seed bun in a basket with the usual; onions, lettuce, tomato & pickles.  Nothing spectacular here, but they really know how to cook a burger…  It is so juicy, that sometimes I don’t even bother putting ketchup on it, which is a rarity for me.  Your bun won’t end up wetter than a chick at a Tom Jones concert, but the burger is really moist & flavorful.  I normally order mine medium rare & the cooks hit the spot, I’ve never had to send a burger back.

Other good dishes here are the chicken sandwich (both the crispy & grilled incarnations) & the Boston Bibb salad w/Maytag Blue.  Honestly, just come here for the burger, it’s really damn good!
Royale in New York
Royale on Urbanspoon

Corner Bistro

I’ve been eating a lot of burgers recently, so I jumped at the chance to revisit Corner Bistro (331 West 4th Street @ Jane St.) one of my old favorite burger spots.  I love the no frills decor, the older bartenders & in particular, the burgers.  I ordered some fries to start, but honestly, I wasn’t very impressed with them.  It had been quite some time since my last visit & I’m pretty sure that they were better back then.

I moved on to the $6 cheeseburger, medium-rare (sorry, no pictures, I didn’t have my camera with me) & I really was blown away.  I’m not sure if it was the blend of meat used, the flame-broiling, or the skill of the chef (or all 3), but I really enjoyed this burger.  I’ve had problems in the past sitting in their back ‘dining room’, so I chose to sit at the bar with the engaging bartender.  With a small menu & skilled staff, Corner bistro still ranks among my favorite NYC burgers!

Corner Bistro on Urbanspoon
Corner Bistro in New York