The Corner Bistro has been in the news lately more for its eastward expansion to Queens than its storied hamburger, a situation that A Hamburger Today has taken it upon itself to rectify by asking what plenty of have already asked: Is the Corner Bistro’s burger overrated?
Indeed it is, says J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who made multiple visits to the West Village restaurant in order to reach this conclusion. (Food writers, please note: This is why the rest of the world hates and envies you.) Dry, lukewarm, sometimes raw, and often under-seasoned patties shaped his opinion and led Lopez-Alt to form a few theories about the burger’s continued popularity.
Perhaps it’s due to the Alcohol Effect, wherein “even the blandest burger can taste awesome through the reality-distorting lens of a few too many picklebacks.” Or Luck of the Draw, which is exactly what it sounds like. And then there’s the most convincing theory, Changing Standards: Simply put, the burger was great before the likes of Pat LaFrieda and his many adherents came along to change the concept of what a meat patty could dare to be.
Still, the restaurant does offer what AHT calls a “complete burger experience,” and given that it’s not exactly hurting for business, that would appear to be exactly what its many customers are after. Like Grimaldi’s pizza or Katz’s pastrami, Corner Bistro’s burger all but begs to be called overrated — but as the lines out front attest, such a label is also beside the point.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 13, 2011