Josh Capon is a busy man these days, helming both Soho staple Lure Fishbar and his newer venture Burger & Barrel, located on Houston Street. Wanting to know his patty philosophy, we called him up and got the scoop on what makes a burger great. (Hint: It’s not just bacon.)
You’re a chef for both Lure and Burger & Barrel. What are the differences between a fish-based restaurant and a meat-based one?
Obviously they’re two different animals and two very different styles of restaurant. It’s fun, and they’re a block away, so I can bounce back and forth. We have a tremendous number of customers who go to both restaurants. Lure is more of an American seafood restaurant, featuring the best seafood we can find. Burger & Barrel is more of an American pub. It’s much more than a burger joint. We’re trying to get away from being known as just a burger restaurant. I only have four or five burgers on the menu.
What are some of the other dishes besides the burgers then?
We have great short-rib tacos and shrimp tacos, and I have a charcuterie board which is great for nibbling at the bar. A pork chop with corn and bacon ragout, lasagna, steak frites … stuff that people know.
Do you like handling seafood or meat more?
I like both. I love pristine seafood and shucked oysters. But when there’s a burger in the window, that’s perfect.
How do you divide your time between the two restaurants?
I’m overseeing both and going back and forth.
Tell me more about the restaurant’s Bash Burger.
We won the Burger Bash two years ago, so that’s been one of our signature items. But we were doing a white truffle burger when white truffles were in season. And now we’re doing a lamb burger with ramp aioli. We’ve always got a seasonal burger. But I was always a bacon cheeseburger guy. And I was annoyed when you’d get it with the bacon in an “X”. When you make a sandwich, every bite should be the exact same. So we riffed on bacon and onions and took caramelized onions and diced bacon and made a jam.
What’s your favorite fast-food burger?
I gotta give respect to In-N-Out, but I don’t get to eat it that often since it’s in California.
Cinco de Mayo is today. Are you going to have a fiesta? What would you cook?
At Lure we’re going to have a Cinco de Mayo menu. We have lots of Mexicans in the kitchen, so they’ll have some fun and do a special menu. You don’t have to go to Caliente Cab Co. to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
Check back in tomorrow, when Josh reveals the best and worst aspects of working in a professional kitchen.