Food

The Ten Best Burgers in NYC, 2015 Edition

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We may no longer be in the era of gastropubs and comfort-food joints, but New York City restaurateurs still excel at putting out hamburgers. Some of these are classics, or draped, perhaps, with cheese. Others are gussied up with eggs or onion jam. All of them scratch an itch most of us get. When you’re jonesing for a burger, turn to this list, a Fork in the Road collaborative compendium of the ten best burgers in NYC, updated for 2015.

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Veggie Honorable Mention: Harlem Shake‘s Veggie Burger (100 West 124th Street, 212-222-8300) In a city where hamburgers run amok, sometimes being a vegetarian is discouraging. But we vegetarians can also enjoy the occasional juicy burger, topped sky-high with all the traditional garnishing and sided by a pile of fries. We just have to go to Harlem Shake, where the veggie burger is built on a homemade nut-and-grain patty, typically served in classic style: two patties with cheese, onions, pickles, and the restaurant’s special sauce. Fries can also be made vegetarian. And if you want to mix things up a bit, sub in that veggie patty for the beef in the classic patty melt — the result will surely blow your mind. — Tara Mahadevan

10. Burger & Barrel (25 West Houston Street, 212-334-7320) Great ingredients make great burgers, which is why Josh Capon’s five-time New York City Food and Wine Festival winner comes down to three things: beef, onions, and bacon. Capon’s Bash Style Burger was born of his love of these ingredients, which find perfect harmony here. The juicy patty is smeared with Dijon mustard before being grilled, which pumps up the standard salt-and-pepper rub. Add in special sauce and a brioche roll topped with a fried onion ring, and you have yourself a lunch that you can — and will — go out of your way to eat again and again. — Billy Lyons

9. Brooklyn Diner (212 West 57th Street; 212-265-5400) Some cheeseburgers are $5, and some cheeseburgers are $5 more than they used to be. While Brooklyn Diner’s towering bacon cheeseburger falls into the latter camp, the hulking patty swathed in Vermont cheddar is still a must for music executives come lunchtime and hungry Carnegie Hall–ers ducking out at intermission. And be sure to savor the flaky, thick-cut onion rings on or off your burger. The kitchen only makes enough each day to put two on every plate. — Adam Robb

8. The Little Beet Table (333 Park Avenue South, 212-466-3330) The Little Beet burger is a blend of skirt steak, chuck, and brisket from Creekstone Farms; the brisket, says chef Franklin Becker, is what gives the patty its supremely juicy quality, while skirt gives it a slightly gamey note. It supports slabs of bacon, a mild cheddar, roasted tomato, and tangy special sauce between two halves of a gluten-free bun sturdy enough to hold up to those fairly messy innards. It’s one of the best new burgers we’ve had this year. — Laura Shunk [

7. The Commodore (366 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-218-7632) The cheeseburger ($7) at the Commodore is nothing fancy. A patty of good beef, seared on the flattop, slipped onto a Martin’s potato roll with lettuce sliced to ribbons, thick pickle chips, chopped white onion, bound with mayonnaise. It’s the kind of burger you might make yourself at home if you happened to have all ingredients on hand. It’s reliably delicious, cheap, and held together by a paper drink umbrella, which you’ll have two of if you order a frozen piña colada alongside. — Scarlett Lindeman

6. The Spotted Pig (314 West 11th Street, 212-620-0393) The Spotted Pig burger manages the unthinkable: It justifies its $21 price tag. For that unseemly sum, you receive a hockey-puck-shaped patty comprising brisket, short loin, and densely marbled chuck. The generously fatted bundle of beef is expertly char-grilled before it’s showered in a deluge of pungent, funky Roquefort blue and sandwiched between a cross-charred brioche. A stately portion of crisp shoestring fries — studded with rosemary and wafer-thin bits of fried garlic — rounds out a plate nearly as pleasing in its aesthetics as it is on the tongue. — Brad Japhe

5. Mile End (97A Hoyt Street, Brooklyn; 718-852-7510) This Boerum Hill and, more recently, Noho deli is hailed for its Montreal-style smoked meat, the French-Canadian version of pastrami. But the place also makes a mean hamburger patty with a combination of the staple smoked meat and fresh beef. Each is ground separately, then run through the mill together to ensure an ideal meld. With just a sprinkling of kosher salt, the burgers are cooked on a smoking-hot griddle, which seals the juice in with a crisp crust. American cheese, a fried egg, red onion, pickle, and mustard mayo finish it off. It’s probably the greatest French-Canadian/American combo, ever. — Sara Ventiera

4. Saxon + Parole (316 Bowery, 212-254-0350) Every time we sit down at Saxon + Parole, we say, “We’re totally going to order…no, we’re having the burger. Again.” A showpiece of that era a few years back when everyone was crowning their patties with fried eggs, this burger still proudly wears its yolk, which drips into sweet fat strips of maple-cured bacon and coats the Havarti cheese that blankets the patty. And that patty — it’s made from dry-aged angus, and it oozes pungent juice. You’ll barely need the spicy ketchup that comes on the side (save it for the accompanying fries), but it’s nice to add the tomatoes, a couple of rings of purple onion, and a leaf of lettuce. — Laura Shunk [

3. Minetta Tavern (113 MacDougal Street, 212-475-3850) Here, you have a decision to make. Are you all in for the wallet-bending, joy-inducing Black Label Burger, with its funky dry-aged beef dripping deep savory juices into a pillowy bun smothered with caramelized onions and tangy cheddar cheese? Or are you hankering after the easygoing classic? The latter is sweet and mellow, a quality option, not the poor cousin at all. Dark side. Light side. Either way, both the burgers at Minetta Tavern are off the charts, and the fries never disappoint. — Katherine Knowles

A photo posted by Michel Rothschild (@michelrothschild) on

2. Le Fond (105 Norman Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-389-6859) Chef Jake Eberle’s airy Greenpoint bistro seems like the last place you’d find a griddled ode to fast-food chain Wendy’s, but the square LaFrieda patty used to make this soigné sandwich weeps with beefiness, and comes smothered in tangy dill pickle relish and served with a side of greaseless fries. Bun purists might balk at the thick slices of toasted brioche, but it’s impossible to argue when the bread’s this light and chewy. The same goes for the cheese selection, which eschews melted American in favor of bold drapings of gamey cheddar or Toma, a grassy Californian cow’s-milk cheese. Eberle paints his meat canvas with finesse, coaxing barnyard flavors from a barnyard beast. — Zachary Feldman

1. Peter Luger Steak House (178 Broadway, Brooklyn; 718-387-7400) Served daily until 3:45 p.m., Peter Luger’s oft-overlooked burger is no frills and all flavor. It offers a thinly charred exterior to texturally contrast the precious pink treasure of its juicy, dry-aged core. Topped with raw onion, a single slice of melted American cheese, and a 3/4-inch-thick slab of bacon, it rivals any porterhouse on the menu — at a fraction of the cost. — Brad Japhe



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