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Country Music and Burgers at Joe’s Pub

Joe’s Pub – 425 Lafayette Street, Manhattan, New York 

Joe’s Pub is home to one of my favorite events in New York City, the CMA Songwriters Series. These concerts occur about twice a year and feature some of the top country music songwriters, in an intimate setting, playing their hit songs. If you even vaguely like country music, these shows are seriously awesome and you should go check them out. 

Joe's Pub CMA Songwriter Series

CMA Songwriter Series

The venue has communal seating, lit only by candlelight, giving off a dark and sultry atmosphere. And, while I don’t expect a music venue to have great food, Joe’s has a surprisingly tasty menu

Joe's Burger

Joe’s Burger

My favorite menu item, Joe’s Pub burger, comes standard with a burger lover’s trio – cheese, bacon and caramelized onions. Instant heaven. This burger is enormous. Joe’s Pub doesn’t shy away from toppings, as melted American cheese envelopes the burger, oozing down the sides and onto the plate. Gobs of caramelized onions and a healthy serving of bacon top the cheese and beef combo.

Joe's Burger Interior

Joe’s Burger

At first bite you realize how tender and juicy the beef is. The bacon adds a hint of salt as the cooked to order meat dissolves in your mouth. The buns are nothing short of a challenge. They are enormous and put up quite a struggle for those trying to consume all vertical layers of bread, onion, bacon, burger and cheese in one bite.

The fries don’t disappoint either. These thin and crispy potato sticks are doused in salt, perfect to keep you ordering more beer.

The Verdict

I love country music and that’s more than enough to keep me coming back again and again to Joe’s Pub. Seriously, the shows are awesome and you should check them out. A major plus is the delicious food. Joe’s Burger is my go-to meal every time I’m here and it always lives up to my hopes and dreams. Don’t think this place stops at your typical bar food either. The kitchen puts out dishes such as grilled branzino, orecchiette and flat iron steak as well. Great food at a great concert venue, check. 

Joe's Pub on Urbanspoon

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Would You Eat A Deep-Fried Twinkie Burger?

I don’t even want to estimate how many calories this thing has, but the deep-fried Twinkie burger is the newest addition to the menu at Philadelphia’s PYT burger joint. That’s right, a beef and pork belly burger topped with American cheese, bacon and sandwiched between two deep-fried Hostess snacks.

Deep Fried Twinkie Burger from PYT Philadelphia
Heart attack on a plate

If you want to try one of these you better head down to Philadelphia and get in line. They’re available for a limited time only for $12 each.

Meat Topped with Meat, The Truffle Royale

Restaurant: Umami Burger – 432 6th Avenue, Manhattan, New York

Umami Burger opened up a few months ago in New York City and while I haven’t been brave enough to stand in a three hour line to try it, I did check out an Umami location in Hollywood when Hailey and I were recently out in California. I figure my lack of a California audience makes a post about that location meaningless, so take this for what it’s worth when looking at the New York City location.

Umami Burger Menu and Hailey
A Burger or a Mustache?

I was pumped to try these burgers after hearing so much about this place. We went to town, ordering:

  • Truffle Royalebeef patty topped with braised short rib, roasted garlic aioli, and house truffle cheese
  • Umami Burger: shitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesean crisp, umami ketchup
  • Tempura Onion Rings
  • Truffle Fries
Umami Burger Truffle Royale
Truffle Royale

I’d heard these burgers were supposed to be legendary, and while I’m not sure my life was changed, it was a damn good burger. How can you lose when you take a burger and top it with more meat? The house-ground, hand formed patty was juicy, tasty and exploding with flavor. The short ribs on top were equally as good and all that melted together to deliver a punch to my taste buds. The burger is sandwiched in between a soft, slightly sweet Portuguese bun.

Umami Burger Inside of Truffle Royale
A Look Inside

After eating a burger like this, sides are almost an afterthought. After all, you go to Umami Burger for the burgers. However, the Tempura Onion Rings were a favorite for me. The rings were large and were lightly fried, fluffy and crisp. 

Umami Burger Tempura Onion Rings
Tempura Onion Rings

The Truffle Fries were good, but next time I think they’re worth skipping. The sauce was tasty but in the end, all it does is make the fries soggy.

Umami Burger Truffle Fries
Truffle Fries

The Verdict

Is the food worth a three hour wait? I don’t think anything is worth a three hour wait. However, Umami Burger boosts enormous flavor and delivers. Aside from a well formed and flavored patty, toppings are king here, with everything ranging from Shiitake mushrooms to green chiles to avocado. At $10-$15 for a burger the prices aren’t insane and worth it for what you get. I’m a big fan of 5 Napkin Burger and I’d put Umami Burger right on par with them, if not a little ahead because of their larger variety of burgers. As soon as the hype around the New York City location dies down, I’ll definitely be paying them a visit. 

Umami Burger on Urbanspoon

A Burger For Every State

Onion burgers in Oklahoma, Northern Jersey sliders, moose burgers in Alaska – every state has a signature burger. These may not be the best burgers out there, but they do represent the United States. Serious Eats has put together a list of regional burgers for you to check out. Take a look and see what you think!

Serious Eats United States of Burgers
United States of Burgers

 

A Father’s Day Meal Fit for a King

Since yesterday was Father’s Day, I’m going to deviate from my usual blog posts about restaurants I’ve checked out and instead make you all drool over a meal my brother and I put together for the big man. When I think of Father’s Day, I think of golf, barbecues and beer. So, that’s what he got. A little U.S. Open action, bleu cheese-stuffed burgers, grilled corn and beer.

Dad and Mickey Mantle
The big man himself and his favorite sports legend

We cooked up some delicious burgers stuffed with bleu cheese and topped them off with bacon and caramelized onions. This wasn’t just your ordinary ground beef either. We spruced it up with eggs, breadcrumbs and other spices to give it an incredible flavor. These burgers were juicy and enormous.

Blue Cheese Stuffed Burgers
Bleu Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

We also cooked up some Mexican grilled corn. This corn was grilled then brushed with a mixture of butter, garlic and lime juice, and fished off with a pile of feta cheese. (Cotija cheese is usually used but feta is a close-to-equal substitute.)

Mexican Grilled Corn
Mexican Grilled Corn

And right now I’m wishing there were leftovers!

Doc Watson’s

Restaurant: Doc Watson’s – 1490 2nd Avenue, Manhattan, New York 

Burger post!

Atmosphere

Doc Watson’s is your average Upper East Side bar. There are high top tables immediately when you walk in and in the back the bar opens up into a small dining area. The highlight of the place is definitely the outdoor seating area in the back. If you’re lucky enough to snag one of the few outdoor seats you could spend hours drinking the day away on a Saturday afternoon. If they’re all taken, the upstairs dining area is a decent alternative since it has large windows which open above the outdoor seating area and help provide an “al fresco” feel. 

Food

I wasn’t expecting anything fancy from the menu at Doc Watson’s since it’s your run-of-the-mill bar. A burger seems to be the appropriate thing to order at a bar so I opted to try:

  • Doc’s Squealer: Bacon infused with frizzled onions, mushrooms and bleu cheese (How could you not order something with this name?!)
Doc's Squealer Burger
Doc’s Squealer

Let me just say, Doc Watson’s doesn’t skimp on quantity. This burger was big. A large patty with pieces of bacon cooked inside it was topped with lots of thin fried onions, plenty of chunks of bleu cheese and mushrooms. This was all sandwiched between two extra thick hamburger buns with a wooden stake through it to keep it all together. The burger was good, but far from great. Despite all the toppings, this burger lacked any lasting flavor and I found myself constantly trying to figure out why that was the case. The meat was overcooked and I couldn’t really taste the bacon in the ‘bacon infused’ burger. If anything, the bleu cheese stood out as the dominant flavor, but that’s not surprising considering the strong flavor it has to begin with.

Doc's Squealer Burger Close Up
Doc’s Squealer

Service

Average burger, average service. Our waitress started off very friendly and even joked around with us. (I’m a huge fan of this.) However, by the end of the meal, she was extremely unfriendly and practically threw the bill at us without bothering to say thanks.

Value

Prices were average for a burger. The Doc’s Squealer was $14. Careful though, Doc Watson’s charges extra for everything. My coworker, Anisha, was charged an extra $2 for a side of ranch dressing. I mean, seriously? The bill came out to around $50 for the two of us, which seemed to be more than it was worth.

The Verdict

Doc Watson’s is the definition of average. Average atmosphere, average burger and average service. Is this a great place to have some drinks, yes. Is this a great place to have some food, no. I don’t live on the Upper East Side, but even if I did, I probably wouldn’t head back to Doc Watson’s anytime soon. There are lots of other places nearby that boast better food at the same prices. 

Doc Watson's on Urbanspoon

Bareburger – Is an Organic Burger a Better Burger?

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

It’s time for another burger post. Only this time, we’re taking the burgers to another level – a healthier level (at least as healthy as a burger can get). At Bareburger, taste and variety is king. The restaurants partner with organic farmers to bring high quality meats to the table as well as outfit their restaurants with reclaimed and recycled materials. Bareburger currently has more than 10 locations throughout the metro New York area

Atmosphere

Bareburger claims it uses recycled, reclaimed and sustainable materials in all its restaurants. It definitely shows. The interior of Bareburger is surrounded in brick. This brick, along with wood accents, gives off a very rustic and almost organic (it’s fitting, isn’t it?) feel. In keeping with the Bareburger name, there is plenty of bear paraphernalia throughout. 

Bareburger Fries and Rings Combo
Fries and Rings Combo

Food

The menu at Bareburger is all over the place, in a good way. The menu is designed to be customized, down to the smallest detail. Unique burger creations (California, Maui Wowie, Mediterranean, etc.) can be made with nearly every meat out there. You can go the route of more traditional meat such as beef and turkey or go more adventurous and give wild boar, elk, ostrich or bison a try. Next step is the bun, and you get to customize again here with options such as a traditional brioche bun, multi-grain roll, wrap, lettuce or a tapioca rice bun. There must be hundreds of possible burger combinations alone.

Bareburger Original Burger
Original Burger in Lettuce

We ordered:

  • Roadhouse: pepperjack, country bacon, hass avocado, fire roasted red peppers, sweet apple grilled onions, smoked paprika mayo (recommended with bison) on a brioche bun
  • Originalcolby jack, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, raw red onions, special sauce (recommended with beef) on lettuce
  • Fries and rings combo

The fry and ring combo is a staple for me every time I visit Bareburger. A big basket of fries and onion rings are served with four different types of dipping sauces. The fries are unsalted but the sodium isn’t even missed slightly thanks to these sauces which really kick these fries up a notch. The onion rings are extremely crispy and a good size.

Bareburger Roadhouse Burger
Roadhouse Burger

The roadhouse burger was next up and this burger is piled high with toppings. So much so that a skewer is put through the center to make sure everything stays in place. The bison is cooked perfectly and there is an insane amount of avocado. Depsite all these toppings, the entire burger is easy to bite through. That’s not to say the burger isn’t messy. I won’t say it’s a 5 Napkin Burger, but it’s definitely close to four.

Service

Bareburger was packed the night we went but the service didn’t falter. The food came out quickly and we were able to fly through our meal. I’ve never had a bad experience with service here. 

Value

The prices for burgers are in the low teens, depending on what you get. With all these toppings and the ability to customize them to your liking, Bareburger gives you a lot for your money. Good value. 

The Verdict

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan of Bareburger. I love all of the different types of burgers on the menu and the fact that you can select from a wide variety of meats and bread in order to create your own burger creation. The food at Bareburger is always delicious and cooked perfectly. I will be back and I recommend you check them out too.

Bareburger on Urbanspoon

Eat a Burger and Win Money!

Now here’s something I can get behind. In honor on National Burger Month, Bill’s Bar and Burger is featuring two limited edition burgers as well as giving away cash. That’s right, you can win money just by eating a burger. There’s not much better than that in my book.

Throughout the month of May, check out the Bill’s Bar and Burger Facebook page. Each day (Monday-Friday) they’ll post a number. If you’re lucky enough to order that number burger on that day Bill’s will give you $50 in cash on the spot!

As far as burger specials, Bill’s is featuring a Meatloaf Burger (Meatpacking District) and West Coast Burger – avocado, cheddar, red onion, salsa verde (Rock Center).

Bill's Burger Bar National Burger Month
Photo courtesy of BR Guest Hospitality

The New York Burger Appreciation Society (NYBAS): Chirping Chicken

I’ve reached burger number four and the end of my membership to the New York Burger Appreciation Society. No more burgers delivered to my office weekly. Sad face.

To read all about what this mysterious burger society is, check out some of my previous posts about Burger Heaven, Black Shack Burger and Blue 9 Burger. On to burger number four.

Chirping Chicken – 1219 1st Avenue, Manhattan, New York

Burger number four was from Chirping Chicken. From their menu, I received:

  • Deluxe Mexican Burger: Topped with jalapenos and fried onions
  • Fries
Deluxe Mexican Burger
Deluxe Mexican Burger

This was a great burger to end these burger deliveries with. The Deluxe Mexican Burger was a 1/4 inch burger loaded with fried onions and jalapenos. It came on a typical hamburger bun and was cooked perfectly pink in the middle. This burger was very spicy, and I loved it. There were LOTS of jalapenos and fried onions on top of the burger. The onions weren’t too overpowering due to the large amount of jalapenos. This flavor dominated the burger.

Deluxe Mexican Burger
Loaded with Fried Onions and Jalapenos

Some of the jalapenos spilled over onto the fries which added a hint of spice to them as well. The fries were very crunchy and had a little bit of salt on them. This, combined with the slight spiciness of the jalapenos, kept me happy.

Best of all, Chirping Chicken provided a wet nap with the burger and fries. A nice and much needed touch.

The Verdict

The Deluxe Mexican Burger from Chirping Chicken was a surprise. I expected a fairly regular burger but was pleasantly surprised when I was greeted with jalapenos and fried onions instead. If you don’t like spicy food, this burger isn’t for you. However, if you do, this burger is up your alley. It came cooked to perfection and the spiciness of the jalapenos kicked it up a notch. I probably won’t go out of my way to get Chirping Chicken again, but if I find myself there than I’ll definitely be ordering the Deluxe Mexican Burger.

Chirping Chicken on Urbanspoon

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