There’s a Queens-based chain called Bareburger whose menu complexity never ceases to vex. There are multiple meat choices: elk,bison,beef, duck, ostrich,wild boar, and turkey; multiple sauce choices, including curry ginger ketchup and horseradish remoulade; a greengrocer’s worth of vegetation to choose from; and even multiple bun choices: brioche, sprout bun, tapioca rice. You could also choose from the 14 remade combos. Just writing about all these choices has given me a headache! The only choices one should have to make when ordering a burger are cooking temp and with or without cheese.
And then’s there Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky’s Bear, which has nothing to do with the aforementioned chain. It offers only one type of burger. It’s a cheeseburger that also goes by the nickname the Grizzly Burger. It consists of a loosely packed patty with a fringed, crispy bottom sitting atop some greenery. The top is mantled with American cheese and crowned with a slice of juicy tomato. The bun’s what Pogrebinsky calls a standard “backyard bun,” because after all who really wants to think about the bun when eating a burger, it should serve as a mere vehicle for its contents.
And the contents of the Grizzly are lovely indeed: a beefy patty that’s been lent a bit of bite from the use of sharp Russian mustard, cheesy on the top and crispy on the bottom. That crisp lacework on the patty’s bottom turns out to be more American cheese.
“When the cheese all melts away you get that crispy cheese chip around it,” Pogrebinsky says. In lieu of a pickle find perky Russian sauerkraut, which can be eaten as a side or placed atop the burger itself. Crisp Russian fries cooked in sunflower oil and sprinkled with dill and garlic make for a nice accompaniment.
Bear, 12-14 31 Ave., Long Island City, 917-396-4939