Barton's Bites

Food from a guy's perspective



Best NYC Burger Joints

In honor of National Cheeseburger Day tomorrow, Foursquare analyzed its location data to reveal the top 50 burger joints in the US. Minetta Tavern in New York City comes in as #1 on the list of best burgers, followed by Burger Joint , Shake Shack, J.G. Melon, 5 Napkin Burger and The Spotted Pig. A list of the top 10 is below. There’s plenty of New York City places on here – check them out!

  1. Minetta Tavern NY, NY
  2. Burger Joint NY, NY
  3. Shake Shack NY, NY
  4. Gordon Ramsay BurGR Las Vegas, NV
  5. J.G. Melon NY, NY
  6. Kuma’s Corner Chicago, IL
  7. AJ Bombers Milwaukee, WI
  8. 5 Napkin Burger NY, NY
  9. The Spotted Pig NY, NY
  10. Hopdoddy Burger Bar Austin, TX

Vote for NYC’s Best Grilled Cheese

Taste your way through some of New York City’s top grilled cheese sandwiches this weekend at the 5th annual Big Cheesy Grilled Cheese Challenge. This event brings six different restaurants from across New York City together to compete as hungry attendees vote for their favorite grilled cheese. The event is this weekend, April 18th and 19th, and costs $30 per person, which includes six grilled cheese tastings and two beers from Goose Island.

The Big Cheesy Grilled Cheese Event

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon! This year’s competitors are:

  • Twist ’n Smash’d – The Twisted Grilled Cheese has cheddar cheese, fried Chicken, chipotle mayonnaise and avocado spread
  • La Maison de Croque Monsieur – Smoked Mozzarella, Bresaola (dried meat), Béchamel sauce & truffle oil
  • Mrs. Dorsey’s Kitchen – GUAC AND BACON: Cheddar, avocado, diced onions, jalapeño, tomato and bacon
  • Depanneur Brooklyn – Hangover Grilled Cheese – cheddar, avo, sriracha, buttered sourdough, ***served with McClure’s Blood Mary Chips & Mexican Coke***
  • The Wheelhouse Brooklyn
  • Artisanal – Artisanal Grilled Cheese: Consisting of our special Five cheese blend, Toasted Country Bread with Artisanal Signature Sauce

Want to Have More Sex? Eat More Grilled Cheese

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day! From our friends at Skout, a leading social platform for meeting new people, we decided to have some fun with the holiday. From a survey of its users, it turns out loving grilled cheese helps you out in more ways than one.

Did you know that people who love grilled cheese sandwiches have more sex, are more charitable, and more adventurous than those who don’t?

Grilled cheese sandwich lovers get more action in the bedroom!

  • 73% of people who love grilled cheese sandwiches have sex at least once a month vs. 68% of those who don’t care for the sandwich.
  • 32% of grilled cheese sandwich lovers have sex at least six times a month vs. 27% who pass on the melted goodness.

People who love grilled cheese sandwiches are more charitable.

  • 81% of people who love grilled cheese sandwiches say they have donated their time, money or food to those in need. Only 66% of people who dislike grilled cheese say they are as generous.

Grilled cheese sandwich lovers are more adventurous and more likely to travel.

  • While a grilled cheese sandwich may seem like a safe, all-American meal, 88% of grilled cheese fans say they are “fairly” or “very” adventurous. Only 75% of people who dislike grilled cheese sandwiches say the same.
  • 84% of grilled cheese sandwich fans love to travel, compared to 78% of people who dislike the sandwich.

Favorite grilled cheese sandwich ingredients? It’s a mix.

  • The most popular cheese is American (41%) followed by Cheddar (33%), Mozzarella (10%), Swiss (8%), Provolone (6%) and Brie (2%).
  • White bread is by far the most popular choice (51%) followed by wheat (29%), sourdough (13%), rye (4%) and a baguette (3%).

Skout National Grilled Cheese Day

The Ultimate Mac and Cheese Showdown

A couple weeks ago a mac and cheese champion was crowned at the Mac Daddy—the ultimate mac and cheese showdown.

Mac Daddy

I checked out this event with my friend, Laura, of 89th and Broke and we left stuffed to the brim with delicious mac and cheese. Held at the Openhouse event space, the event consisted of six different restaurants featuring their cheesiest mac and cheese creations, vying for the chance to be crowned New York City’s best mac and cheese. A punch card ensured you’re only allowed one dish from each restaurant and it also helps cut down on lines.

This year’s contestants were:

Mac Daddy

All the dishes were incredibly good. But then again, how can you go wrong with mac and cheese? This was a high-energy, awesome experience and I highly recommend checking it out next year.

February is Pancake Month!

February is pancake month at Clinton Street Baking Company, which means they feature a different special pancake flavor every Monday through Friday. Check out the menu below for the daily featured pancake. Be sure to get there early because the wait can be very long (they even have a section of the website dedicated to it).

  • 2, 3 Swedish Apple Pancakes with caramelized apples, cinnamon cider glaze, and Bavarian cream
  • 4, 5, 6 Crunchy Bananas with cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce
  • 9, 10 Blueberry Crumb Streusel with fresh blueberry sauce, vanilla bean whipped cream and warm maple butter
  • 11, 12 Japanese Pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin seed streusel and warm maple butter
  • 13, 16, 17 Chocolate Chunks, fresh raspberries, raspberry-caramel sauce
  • 18, 19 Fresh Coconut Pancakes with caramelized pineapple, bruleed bananas, roasted macadamia nuts, and warm maple butter
  • 20 German Chocolate Pancakes: roasted organic pecans, caramel, fresh coconut, bittersweet chocolate sauce
  • 23, 24 Pistachio frangipane with burgundy cherries and roasted, crushed pistachios
  • 25, 26 Fresh Blackberries with meyer lemon curd and blackberry syrup
  • 27 Raspberry Pancakes: our signature raspberry jam, fresh raspberries, toasted almond butter, vanilla bean whipped cream

Clinton Street Baking Company Pancake Month

Market Place Kitchen and Bar

Market Place Kitchen and Bar – 33 Mill Plain Road, Danbury, Connecticut 

Walk into Danbury’s farm-to-table hotspot, Market Place, and you’ll find a packed restaurant and bar filled with young professionals and couples. The farm-to-table theme is pulled through with a reclaimed wood and brick interior, and dividing wall separating the restaurant from the bar scene.

Market Place encourages the use of local, organic and sustainability harvested food and the menu reads almost like map, noting the source of many ingredients.

4-Hour Duck Fat-Braised Berkshire Pork Belly
4-Hour Duck Fat-Braised Berkshire Pork Belly

The 4-Hour Duck Fat-Braised Berkshire Pork Belly appetizer is delicious, but slightly salty and didn’t have the melt-in-your-mouth goodness I expect from pork belly.

Prosciutto di Parma Flatbread
Prosciutto di Parma Flatbread

Prosciutto di Parma Flatbread is covered with a thin layer of sweet fig balsamic that counters chunks of savory Vermont goat cheese.

Stonington, CT Sea Scallops
Stonington, CT Sea Scallops

I didn’t have the fortune of chowing down on the Stonington, CT Sea Scallops, but were told they were delicious. The scallops were a good size and sat on top of a spinach risotto with cauliflower crème, cranberry compote and a pear reduction.

Kobe Burger
Kobe Burger

The Kobe Burger definitely must be one of the best in Southwestern Connecticut. Oozing with flavor, it’s has caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, provolone cheese and truffle aioli, all on top of a toasted brioche roll. It’s served alongside a mini fry basket filled with sweet potato tater tots.

Horseradish-Crusted Wild Scottish Salmon
Horseradish-Crusted Wild Scottish Salmon
Horseradish-Crusted Wild Scottish Salmon comes out with wheat berries, Brussels sprouts and an applewood-smoked bacon aioli.
Deep-Dish Pecan Pie
Deep-Dish Pecan Pie

And of course, we can’t forget about dessert. Deep-dish Pecan Pie immediately caught my eye and it didn’t disappoint. I’m still coming down from the sugar high from this dessert that came with scoop of vanilla bean gelato and cinnamon-whipped cream.

The Verdict

We left Market Place Kitchen and Bar stuffed to the brim. The food, with only a few missteps, delivered incredible flavors and lived up to expectations. I was a huge fan of the prosciutto di Parma flatbread, Stonington, CT sea scallops and horseradish-crusted wild Scottish salmon. You’ll definitely be paying for it though. Entrees are in the high $20s/low $30s and appetizers in the mid teens. Come hungry and leave happy. Just make sure that you make a reservation. This Danbury hotspot is sure to stay that way for a while to come. 

Market Place Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Bareburger Updates Its Menu

Bareburger – 33-21 31st Avenue, Astoria, New York (and various locations)

That’s right, Bareburger is rolling out an update to its menu across all locations. I checked out the Astoria location recently and was shocked when my old favorites were no longer on the menu. (I wasn’t alone. There were lots of people asking the waiters what happened to the menu.)

The new menu is more robust than it used to be, with brand new burger combinations, sides, salads and sandwiches. I gave the Blue Elk burger a try.

Bareburger Blue Elk Burger
Blue Elk Burger

Elk, Amish blue cheese, country bacon, stout onions and tomato fig jam. How could you go wrong?

Bareburger Onion Rings
Onion Rings

Don’t worry, the onion rings and fries basket combo is still on the menu… and still just as good.

The Verdict

Bareburger changed its menu and the world didn’t end. The burgers, onion rings and fries are still just as delicious as before. I love this place and for similar Bareburger lovers, the menu refresh gives everyone a lot more options to try! 

Check out my old post on Bareburger to compare. 

Ted’s Montana Grill Brings Brunch to Midtown

Ted’s Montana Grill – 110 West 51st Street, Manhattan, New York

Midtown Manhattan isn’t know for brunch. However, Ted’s Montana Grill on 51st Street is looking to change that. With a newly-launched brunch menu, Ted’s is looking to pull some of your traditional Village brunchers up above 42nd street.

I was invited to check out Ted’s new brunch menu. Ted’s Montana Grill is known for two things 1) Ted Turner 2) bison, bison and more bison. On the brunch menu this is evident as your eyes are immediately drawn to the Bison Short Rib Hash, called out in enormous font and dominating the other dishes listed.

Some of our brunch highlights:

Ted's Bloody Mary

Ted’s Bloody Mary

Subtly spicy Bloody Marys were served with a slice of bacon.

Bison Short Rib Hash

Bison Short Rib Hash

Bison Short Rib Hash

Bison Short Rib Hash

The Bison Short Rib Hash came served with breakfast potatoes, roasted corn
and avocado, topped with fried eggs. Don’t let the pictures fool you. There were mounds of melt-in-your-mouth slow-braised short rib bison underneath those eggs that were bursting with flavor. The bison delivered a flavor punch (that’s right, flavor punch) directly to my taste buds. This is an unbelievably rich dish.

Crab Cake Benedict

Crab Cake Benedict

The Crab Cake Benedict consists of St. Phillip’s Island crab cakes, wilted spinach,
poached eggs and chipotle hollandaise served with breakfast potatoes. For those of you looking to cut some carbs, this Benedict was unique in that the crab cakes served as the English muffins. Hailey had no complaints here, greedily devouring this dish. (I didn’t even get any!)

Savory Corn Flapjacks

Savory Corn Flapjacks

Next up, savory corn flapjacks with oven-roasted ham, cheddar cheese and chives, served with honey butter and maple syrup. I was expecting these to be heavy pancakes. What we got were light, fluffy and buttery flapjacks. I was stuffed from my bison hash but somehow I found room to fit these guys. The edges had a buttery crispness to them and I’d highly recommend these for those that aren’t into eggs as much.

Boozy Mudslide Milkshake

Boozy Mudslide Milkshake

Finally, a boozy mudslide milkshake capped off the brunch. This was made with Baileys, Kahlua and vodka, and filled with huge scoops of ice cream topped with lots of whipped cream. If I had known I would be drinking a milkshake during brunch I would have worn my stretchy pants!

The best thing I heard during brunch came from one of the chefs. He told me that they’re experimenting in the kitchen to come up with the perfect brunch menu. How are they doing this? By checking out popular brunch spots in the West Village to see what’s working. (By the way, this sounds like an awesome part of the job.)

The Verdict

I’m looking forward to seeing how Ted’s menu evolves over the coming months. They’re just starting out with brunch and it sounds like the team is committed to making it work. The only critique I have is that compared to other brunch spots, prices are a little steep and drinks aren’t included so this may be a brunch to check out when your parents are in town. Regardless, I highly recommend giving Ted’s Montana Grill a try – you won’t regret it!

Ted's Montana Grill on Urbanspoon

Rocky Comes to Broadway… with Philly Cheesesteaks

I was invited to check out Rocky on Broadway and thought it was only fitting to have some Philly cheesesteaks beforehand (or at least as close as you can get in New York City).

Rocky on Broadway

There are only a few spots to throughout the city where you can get a good cheesesteak and I gave Shorty’s in Hell’s Kitchen a try.

Shorty's Cheesesteak

Shorty’s supposedly has some connection to the historic Tony Luke’s in Philadelphia and it shows. The Hell’s Kitchen location is more like a bar than anything, with a kitchen in the back. Don’t let this fool you though. The cheesesteaks are legit. The bread has a slight crunch to it as you bite into tender slices of beef covered in Cheez Whiz. These may not be as good as what you can get down in Philly, but it’s a solid alternative.

Shorty's Cheesesteak

Now onto the show! If I had only one word to sum up Rocky on Broadway it would be WOW. Lead actors Andy Karl and Margo Seibert deliver tremendous performances. The sets left me speechless – seemingly having their own well-rehearsed choreography as pieces moved back and forth making up the ring, boxing gym and apartments.

While the first act took a little while to capture me, I’ve never seen an audience so completely engaged from the start of the second act. The theater was cheering throughout act two as the play built up to a show-stopping ending never before seen on Broadway (I won’t ruin it for you). Macho men that think Broadway isn’t for them – if you ever wanted to go see a show, now is the time.

Please note: Barton’s Bites received complimentary tickets to Rocky on Broadway. 

Artery-Clogging Brunch Deliciousness in Astoria – Queens Comfort

Queens Comfort – 40-09 30th Avenue, Astoria, New York

This place can be considered your home away from home. With mismatched coffee mugs, family pictures hanging on the wall and childhood trophies scattered throughout, Queens Comfort is a piece of your home transported to Astoria (in fact, it’s a piece of everyone’s home – they encourage you to submit family photos for display).

Interior of Queens Comfort

Interior of Queens Comfort

Consistently packed, Queens Comfort is a hot spot for weekend brunch. And by packed, I mean mobbed. Wait times easily span an hour+ depending on the number of friends you’re with. Word to the wise – get there early and only pick those friends you really want to have an awesome brunch with.

The menu is an artery-clogging journey from loaded tater tots to chicken and waffles to chicken and bacon enchiladas. Every last bit of it is incredible.

Banana Bread Donut with Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake Donut

Fresh donuts are a weekend staple. Coated in sugar, the warm chocolate chip banana cake donut had a subtle banana flavor and plenty of chocolatey goodness inside. 

Captain Crunch French Toast Balls

Captain Crunch French Toast Balls

Remember those French toast sticks from your childhood? The Captain Crunch French Toast Balls taste exactly like them. They’re served on a river of maple syrup and have a piping hot doughy interior. There isn’t really much of a Captain Crunch taste so cereal lovers be forewarned.

Breakfast Burrito

Breakfast Burrito

The Breakfast Burrito is my favorite item on the brunch menu. It’s enormous – literally the size of an entire plate – and filled with scrambled eggs, Esposito breakfast sausage, tots and topped with lots of cheddar cheese, scallions and spicy mayo. Order this, and you won’t be eating for the rest of the day.

Fried Green Tomato Benedict

Fried Green Tomato Benedict

The Fried Green Tomato Benedict is a twist on your classic egg benedict. Poached egg, a fried tomato, hollandaise and remoulade sit atop buttery buttermilk biscuits.

Egg McRuffin

Eggs Mc’Ruffin

The Eggs Mc’Ruffin is a breakfast sandwich on steroids. Bechamel, smoked bacon, cheddar and fontina cheese are sandwiched on a gigantic royal crown English muffin and served with a side of tots.

Holy crap this place is good. Check them out for brunch and you won’t be disappointed. Just be sure to get there early or you’ll spend the day salivating over these pictures instead of clogging your arteries with home-cooked comfort food.

Queens Comfort on Urbanspoon

Create a free website or blog at | The Baskerville Theme.

Up ↑


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,551 other followers

%d bloggers like this: