New York City has some of the best dining in the world, representing just about every cuisine imaginable, and at just about every price point. There’s no way a food lover will ever go hungry or find a craving unsatisfied here!
And sometimes all someone wants is a juicy, classic (or not so classic) hamburger, cooked medium rare on a great bun with whatever condiments pleases you. It’s a comfort food and American classic, but now being served by some restaurants with new and innovative twists. And of course, we New Yorkers have the best examples, served by classically trained chefs, local cooks and even a celebrity or two.
One of the newest examples is a Boston import: Wahlburger’s from the acting Wahlberg family, offering their family recipes, artisanal breads and Angus beef. The chain is opening momentarily in Coney Island (3015 Stillwell Avenue), joining units in Toronto, Florida, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Last reports are that the Wahlberg brothers plan six units for Manhattan, so this could be beginning of a great new franchise.
Those looking for something a bit less traditional can head downtown to Umami Burger in Brookfield Place (200 Vesey Street), where some intriguing flavor combinations can be found. Not surprisingly, some Asian flavorings, including miso mustard are available. But also look for guacamole, cotija and more. All are part of the internationalization of flavors that’s been taking place over the last decade or more.
Ramen Burger (899 Bergen Street) also is Asian influenced, but in a different way – here ramen noodles replace the bun! Accompanied by a shoyu glaze, this has been dubbed one of the most influential burgers of all time.
Differently but equally influential was db Bistro Moderne (55 West 44th Street) one of the first examples of the gourmet burger (as in fois gras and black truffle) and Daniel Boulud continues to showcase it.
Two of the pricier burgers in town, fortunately, are two of the best: 21 Club (21 West 52nd Street) has a huge portion, terrific atmosphere, and a great excuse for a martini. The Spotted Pig (314 West 11th Street) offers the gastropub’s take on the burger, with Roquefort cheese accompanying a full half-pound of meat! (You may want to share this one.)
A true specialist in a somewhat unlikely place, Burger Joint (119 West 56th Street) offers nothing but comparatively affordable classic burgers and fries in the Parker Meridien hotel – an unbeatable combination.
Of course, any good steakhouse should make a great burger as well. But not all make multiple kinds of burgers. Peter Luger (178 Broadway, Brooklyn) has a terrific example, perfectly charred.
Looking for something not-so-fancy? Joe Junior (167 Third Avenue) is about as unpretentious as you get – formica countertops, serving the burger we all grew up with, perfectly prepared. In business since the early 1970s, J.G. Melon (1291 Third Avenue) is a local landmark and a classic old-fashioned burger joint. PJ Clarke’s (multiple locations) may be the ultimate burger legend in the city, serving through world wars, depressions, the Disco era and more. Visit here and you get New York history along with your fries!
If you’re looking for something for everyone, BurgerFi (1571 Second Avenue) is a Florida-based chain gives non-meat eaters some options, including quinoa and veggie burgers, as well as creative toppings.
And what is there left to say about Shake Shack (multiple locations), which brings top-notch burgers to a greater audience – the perfect blend of top quality and fast-casual cuisine.
A revival born during the economic downturn, when we all craved the security of comfort food, has become yet another option for fine dining in this ultimate foodie city!