Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Joint vs Joint
There are literally thousands of eateries across this great country and hundreds of thousands more across the world selling "it". What, you ask? Burgers! But there are two (2) worthy of my attention...lol. And they both happen to be named The Burger Joint. One is a thriving chain with spots throughout the "DMV." The other is an inconspicuous dive in midtown Manhattan. In my search for the best "Burger Joint", I sampled them both.
Affectionately nicknamed "BGR", The Burger Joint in DC is a blitz of burger bonanza. With as many as a dozen burger varieties at a time, the options for meat are endless. Don't fret vegetarians; there are a few "burgers" designed just for you.
My first sample was "The Cuban": a perfect duet of slow roasted pork and serrano ham mount a prime beef burger. Blanketed in swiss cheese and dijon mustard, the moist texture is brilliantly balanced with a crisp, sweet pickle. And because a sandwich starts and ends with the bread, BGR uses their fresh, daily-delivered Brioche bun on all of their signature sandwiches.
Clearly the healthiest pick on the menu is "The Ahi Tuna". Busting with flavor, this "burger" won't leave you feeling guilty. Sushi-grade tuna, sweetened with grilled pineapple and teriyaki sauce are heightened with a pickled ginger -- take the "green standard" and add crisp, grilled asparagus, sprinkled with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
And, what is a burger without fries? At BGR "the standard" has three (3) parts: Golden; Orange; and, Green. Select crisp Yukon potatoes as "golden", thinly cut Idaho sweet potatoes as "orange" or fresh asparagus spears as "green." Season to perfection with your choice of rosemary, parmesan or roasted garlic. And, if fries aren't your thing, they also have delicious Vidalia onion rings.
A diamond in the rough sits right in the heart of midtown Manhattan and unless you're a native, you would probably never know it was there. This virtual "hole in the wall" has all the makings of a secret society, only privy to a select few. If it were not for the lines that spill outside the door and into the foray of LE PARKER MERIDIEN, you would never know one of the best burgers you'll ever eat was within arm's reach.
Slip through the glass revolving doors at Le Parker, head north through the marble lobby, hang a left through the passage just big enough for two and follow the pearl-illuminated light image of a burger and arrow.
If you made it this far you are in the clear. There is "love on a bun" just around the corner.
Truly a dive, this Burger Joint has the nostalgia of a college "joint". Marker-tattooed walls, handwritten menus and raucousness come with every order. And holding true to the adage that "simple is best", their menu centers around one thing: the meat.
Wanting to seem like a veteran, I quickly glanced at the 3-step process for ordering and got "The Works". To compliment my entree, I went with my staples: fries and Sprite. It was a beautiful sight: watching my burger being prepared! With the grill directly behind the cash register, you know exactly where your money is going.
Good things come to those who wait, but I didn't have to wait long for my order. I grabbed a table and inhaled every saturated fat I could hold. The first clue this was something special was the speckled bag of grease spots that formed on my bag in under 2 minutes. I ripped open the bag and cocked both arms just in case I had to fend off predators.
Do you know the feeling you get when a food transports you? That was the exact feeling I got, except I had no clue where I was. Was this burger heaven? The juices from a medium burger, the melted cheese stretching from my mouth back to the bun and all the complimenting flavors were out of this world. I've eaten a LOT of burgers and this one was definitely in my top three (3) picks. Did I mention that the fries taste like the "old school" McDonald's fries? You know, back when McDonald's fries were good?
In the battle of Joint vs. Joint: The Burger Joint in New York wins on taste. BGR - Burger Joint in DC is easily the more creative. Both do meat proud and are worth your stomachs.
Check out all the pics on my facebook page: Foodies and Fatties. Be sure to "like" the page..and tell a friend :)