Bellwether’s patty melt is lovely, but it’s more of a cheeseburger.
Sometimes I wish my dear departed friend and meat maven Josh Ozersky was still with us. Partly so I could take him to dodgy Chinese restaurants, but mostly so I could ask him questions about burger lore, like the one in the headline.
I came to the patty melt late in life. I didn’t try one until my late forties. And I suppose that the one I tried, which I believe was at Tower Diner, formed my impression of what a proper patty melt should be. It was composed of a medium rare patty swaddled between two crisp pieces of rye bread along with melted Swiss and caramelized onions.
It was more of of a grilled cheese than a hamburger, and I have it on good authority that that’s how it should be. Most of all it was a messy sandwich oozing an amalgam of beef drippings and fat from the Swiss, what Ozersky would have lovely called “greeze.” (more…)
Khao Nom, the sweeter little sister of wildly popular Thai steam table specialist Khao Kang opened about a month ago with the promise of old school Thai desserts and a short menu of savory items, my favorite being the sticky sweet and spicy chan noodles with prawns. Until recently though, none of the desserts has knocked my socks off. Sure they were good, but nothing revelatory. Dessert epiphany finally dawned the other week when I spied a tiny cake with a golden top and a spongy bottom sandwiching a layer of creamy spheres. (more…)
It’s almost as much fun to watch one being made as it is to eat one!
At first it looks like an egg sandwich, and it is in a way, but instead of American cheese or Cheddar, the omelet cradles a juicy ground beef patty. The Malaysian specialty is called a Ramly burger. The first time I had one was a decade ago at a Ramadan Bazaar held by the Ladies’ Association of the Permanent Mission of Malaysia in New York. For a while Zak Pelaccio’s Fatty Crab was serving up Ramly inspired Fatty Sliders. The juicy pork and beef numbers seasoned with Malaysian spices were quite tasty, but they lacked the eggy envelope and thus Ramlyness. (more…)
There are probably some hamburgers out there worth a 20-minute subway ride and a 20 minute walk involving traversing the BQE. Sadly the cheeseburger at Jackson Hole is not one of them. The loosely packed behemoth is steam griddled, that is to say cooked on a flat top under a dome. A burger should breath free—sputtering and sizzling on the flat top or under a salamander—not suffocate in its own fetid vapors.
Ordered medium rare it was a mushy flavorless gray travesty of a burger utterly devoid of a char. I found myself wishing Tommy DeVito would walk in and put two in the back of my head so that I didn’t have to finish thing.
I did not bother to ask what type of meat it was, it could have a blend of unicorn chuck and golden calf short rib for all I care, the cooking process would still turn it into drek. There’s only tasty steamed burger out there kids: White Castle.
All that said the decor can’t be beat. There’s a reason the folks behind Goodfellas used it in a scene, the exterior of the diner is iconic, all stainless and neon. It’s evokes a time that was simpler and also more glamorous. I’ll bet it was a time when people gave a shit about how their burger tasted.
Jackson Hole, 69-35 Astoria Blvd., Astoria, 718-204-7070
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. (more…)
Momo—juicy beef dumplings seasoned with ginger,onion, and special momo masala—are the national dish of Tibet. A Tibetan loves his momo as much an American loves his hamburger perhaps even more so. In no place in NewYork City is this more true than Jackson Heights. Momo are ubiquitous at the hood’s many Tibetan and Nepalese eateries. There are three food carts and a truck selling the dumplings and even an annual Momo Crawl founded by local tour guide Jeff Orlick. So it was only a matter of time before someone invented a momo burger. That time is now, and that someone is Lobsang Choephel, the chef of Little Tibet. (more…)
Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer grilling, sunning and sweating season. Around this time every year my thoughts turn to the fiery, smoky arts. Apparently Kingsford’s been giving some thought to sizzling burgers and steaks as well. The charcoal briquette giant released a campaign that manages to skewer both gas grilling and hyperconnected social media inanity. The very act of grilling—call it a backyard barbecue if you must I know I did growing up—is inherently social. So here’s what I’d like to know: What’s on your grill this summer? I’m kicking off the season on my buddy’s roof later today with some kickass pork neck as well as hot dogs and burgers, of course. How about you? And where do you weigh on the gas vs. charcoal debate? Tell me in the comments or hit me on the Twitter, @JoeDiStefano.
Like a Big Mac, but much spicier and much, much more kosher.
The last time I ate a kosher burger was more than five years ago. It was such a disappointment I’ve given little or no thought to repeating the experience. That is until I came across Burgers Plus out on Union Turnpike in the part of Flushing locals call Hillcrest. Still dubious I asked my pal Meir—my go-to guy for Israeli grub—about it. “It’s really good,” he enthused. “We should have lunch there.”
The menu at Burgers Plus lists four burgers, including a 220-gram lamb number ($10.95) that the grill man said was his favorite. In 2013 Burgers Plus seems to be the only the burger joint that has caught onto the metric system. I followed Meir’s lead and ordered the 150 gram (5.2911-oz.) house spicy beef burger ($7.95). The burger is also available in a non-spicy version, given the option I always choose spicy. (more…)
A bumblebee’s eye view of Jollibee’s entire sandwich menu.
C+M’s sandwich coverage has included everything from West Indian fried fish to gargantuan Mexican tortas. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit jaded, so for this week’s Sandwich Wednesday I undertook the journey to one of Queens’ most exotic dining establishments, Jollibee. After all I liked the spaghetti and fried chicken combo at the Filipino fast food spot so I figured why not try their new $1 Little Big Bites. I mean you can’t go wrong for a buck. Then again maybe you can . . .
The corned beef is slightly reminiscent of barbecued beef brisket.
The menu at the home of the psychedelic bumblebee offers two types of tiny sandwiches, Spam and corned beef. Both are served on squishy slightly sweet buns with a generous slather of mayo. Spam is best served well-fried. So the floppy, somewhat slimy rectangle of mystery meat lolling out of the bun did little for me. The corned beef on the other hand was kind of tasty, calling to mind barbecued beef brisket. (more…)
The coverage of the imminent arrival of Los Angeles-based Umami Burger in New York City has been making me incredibly hungry. I’ve yet to try one, but as a kid who ate Accent out of the jar, I’m all about that fifth taste. Umami Burger opens in the West Village (432 6th Ave.) on Monday. CEO Adam Fleischman took some time out of his busy schedule to answer Seven Questions.
What inspired you to create Umami Burger? I wanted to approach burger making from a scientific way to make things more delicious. (more…)