What’s my idea of a great burger? For the most part, I’m a purist. Usually, I like my burger simple, with sautéed or raw onions, ketchup, and sometimes a slice of cheese if I’m in the mood, and always medium rare. I’m not one to do a crazy burger thing with a melange of toppings coating a perfectly cooked piece of beef. Since I don’t eat red meat that often, I want to taste it, if not revel in it. But one thing I’ve learned as I’ve ventured around town to sample what I’ve heard are some of the best New York City burgers, is that it’s a good idea to order a hamburger as the chef intended it to be eaten. If that means accepting a shred of romaine lettuce on a burger, then so be it.
What I discovered recently at two restaurants rumored to serve some of the city’s finest, is that this theory sometimes works, while other times it’s best to stick with your gut instincts and order a burger the way you prefer it.
“The Burger” at Jones Wood Foundry, 401 E 76th St, Upper East Side
Recommended in the Thrillist article, “33 Best Burgers,” I had the urge to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did. First off, a server brought the burger, and I cut into it only to discover that it was more medium than medium-rare. I am a stickler for medium rare, and so reluctantly (I hate sending food back), I asked them to cook another burger. When the second burger came out, the runner, who may have been the manager or one of the partners, apologized. I cut it in half, and this one was perfection! Here’s what I loved about the Jones Wood Foundry burger.
The meat was rich, juicy, and even though the sandwich came with cheddar (you can also choose stilton), lettuce, sour pickles, red onions, and bacon (I chose to eat the bacon separately), it didn’t taste over-garnished. Rather, the ratios were correct, and every condiment seemed to complement the thick, tender pattie. The sesame bun was fresh and the ideal thickness for the burger too. At times, bread can take away from my burger experience, but in this case, the bun added something wonderful, hugging the meat and encasing that burger goodness. The presentation was also creative, on a miniature cutting board, and let’s just say the fries rocked. Hot, and no salt needed.
Service was warm, friendly, and overall, just outstanding. Beverages were excellent. Loved the rosé and the pinot noir. I can’t think of anything negative about JWF, except that it’s not on the West Side! Oh, and it was a little pricey at $19 for the burger. But the quality was superb, and I felt it was a good value considering how much I enjoyed everything. If I’m straight up, I can’t wait to return to Jones Wood Foundry to partake in another one of the best New York City burgers I’ve eaten thus far.
Are you a burger connoisseur? I’d love to know about the best New York City burgers you’ve eaten!