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Burger Joint – Plate 23
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Burger Joint – Plate 23

Racing uptown on the 2/3, my friend Scott called me up a few minutes before I landed at Le Parker Meridien and asked me if I could do lunch. Either he’s been following my site and knows I’m eating at a place that’s minutes away from his apartment or his girlfriend is at work and he’s bored. (I’m guessing the latter, but we’ll see what he says in the comments section). He arrived in minutes of my call and had a late breakfast, so he wouldn’t be joining in the Burgery goodness that would be bestowed upon me. He knows what it’s all about, though; he used to visit the Joint often as he’d been a frequent midtown luncher in his finance days. In 2010 he’s given up the 9-to-5 and is sprinting forward on a different track in the rat race, an acting career.

Not too much of a contrast to Divya Gugnani’s (bio) path, who said to us once during our meeting, “There was a time that I would have never imagined doing anything but working for someone for the rest of my life.” Now she shares her foodie insights on TV and is the CEO of her own company dedicated to spreading the best culinary practices from the top kitchens in the world. She was talking about her new book, the Food Slut (publishing house): don’t remember the rest of the title, but it had something to do with being a female foodie, eating what you want, and staying fit. If one of the chapters in her book talks about how she stays at the level she was at over lunch for more than twelve hours (and doesn’t require methamphetamine) then I am the first one in line for that thing.

I’d heard stories of this restaurant, being an almost secret, out of the way place in a four star establishment off fifth avenue, but the result was nothing I could have imagined:

That was my third take, and I swear there were different people in the line each time – it moves pretty quick. After we ordered we had our burgers in hand in less than two minutes, but this is far from fast food.

I talked to James Boo (his site) about Burger Joint, and he commented that, “People say that it’s like the burger that you would have if you made it in your backyard. I don’t understand why these people don’t just make it their backyard then?”

I have a few theories on that. #1) Know anyone who lives in Manhattan and has a backyard? If you do, I need to hang with you. I’ll be your +1 to that party anytime. #2) It’s January, Brrrr. #3) You want fries with that? I know I do.

The Burger with The Works lived up to the hype. I got the works, an essential pick for all first time Burger Jointers. Greasy, exactly medium, gooey cheese plenty of lettuce and fresh tomatoes. The pickles in the sandwich gave a satisfying crunch. Apparently we forgot to get an actual pickle order. I heard they were one of the highlights of the restaurant, but in talking with Scott and Divya, we forgot all about them. I’ll be sure to get one next time.

The Fries (fryer pic) were just what I’d expected, crisp, hot, not too salty, slathered in mayo (yeah, I like my fries in mayo – sue me).

I didn’t have too many fries because they also dropped a Grilled Cheese. on us. They said they were going to give me one and asked what I wanted on it. I was confused. What do you get on a grilled cheese? We used to make them with a tomato with oregano growing up, I’ve put bacon on a few before, but when I asked what people get with the grilled cheese, they said “the works.” When in Rome.

I dug in. There is A LOT of cheese in this mother, The only thing I think that could add to this would be a big, juicy patty of meat underneath all that cheese. I know they need a veggie option, but come on; go to Burger Joint and get a burger for crissakes.

All in all, Burger Joint was just a fun thing to do. It’s probably the best cost to tastiness value in midtown as far as burgers go, but as much as I loved this burger, it was almost as if the vibe made me concentrate less on the beauty of the food.

You won’t get this standing in line in a park. For me, Burger Joint isn’t just a meal, it’s an experience.

Guest Writer: Divya Gugnani

The IRL Arts Foundation and The Wandering Foodie thank Burger Joint for providing this meal.

Burger Joint
118 W 57th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-7414

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • James Boo January 9, 2010, 9:00 am

    And the controversy continues! If by controversy I mean contrarianism… which I do, I guess. I think it's just hard for me to take imported atmosphere seriously, especially when it's propping up a mundane burger (for the record, I do think the burger lacks flavor – check out my take on the whole place:…)

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