The Best Burger in New York City
If all nations came together to form one, massive culinary empire, it could easily be argued that New York City would be their culinary capital (and obviously kangaroos or sea otters would become this empire’s national animal…but that’s another story). New York’s restaurants are more diverse than those of Paris, more numerous than the eateries of San Francisco and have fewer “eat the whole thing and you get a free t-shirt” plaques on their walls than Texas. To attempt to try all of New York’s best food in one lifetime is improbable; to pay for all of New York’s best food without the backing of a philanthropist or a government subsidy would be an impossibility.
For the next four years, I’ll be living in New York. During my time in the city, I want to tackle a challenge of sorts, in a bid for greatness (something far more fulfilling than the challenge of say, graduating college). In light of this, I’m officially announcing my Burger challenge. My mission is to find the best Burger in New York City (yes, Burger, much like Diet Coke and Meerkats, deserves to be capitalized). While New York may be more famous for its pizza, hot dogs and steaks, Burgers have always held a special place close to my heart (insert joke about arteries being clogged).
Burgers taste good, and they bring people together; Republicans and Democrats, women and men (See how I switched the usual “men and women” thing people say? I loooooove the 21st Century), Christians and non-Christians, squirrels and manatees, all have been able to put aside their differences to sit down and eat a Burger (well, the Squirrels invited the manatees, but yeah, the water-land barrier prevented any summit, leaving them in a technical state of war to this day, just like the Koreas). Do you know what President Obama ate with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev? A Burger! The Camp David Summit’s menu? Another Burger! Lunch break at Appomattox Court House? Hamburgers again. The Last Supper? Burgers made by the hand of God. The whole unleavened bread thing was just an unfortunate translation error.
I have spent the majority of my life trying to find the best Burger in the world; now I set out to find the best Burger in one of the world’s greatest cities. It may be a daunting challenge, it may be close to impossible, but in the words of Nelson Mandela, “It doesn’t quite seem so impossible once it is done.”
The plan (plans, while pretty cool, aren’t quite cool enough to be capitalized): As I’m a college student with the economic security of a Greek bonds salesperson, I’m only going to embark on a Burger quest once a month. I’ll eat at said Burger joint, and then upload my review, reviewing the Burger based off of the following seven criteria:
- Meat Quality (10 possible points) I will generally order my Burger medium rare or medium, depending on the location. I’ll only order beef; this isn’t because I’m attempting to launch a cow genocide or because this is my way of further angering chick-fil-a (after my whole ‘go to chick-fil-a as a Muslim’ thing, I don’t think I can make them more angry at me than they already are anyhow). Rather, this is simply because beef has more fat, more flavor and yeah, it’s a hamburger, who wants to eat turkey or chicken?
- Bun Quality (10 possible points) I won’t do lettuce wraps. And I will refuse to cut my Burger. I’ll probably expound on my reasons why at a later date.
- Usual Suspects (10 possible points) The “Usual Suspects” refers to (well, for starters, an amazing movie line) the standard toppings. This includes lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and cheese.
- Specialty Toppings (5 possible points) Think things like bacon, egg, avocado, sauces, ditto, ditto, etc, etc.
- Engineering (5 possible points) This refers to both the practical engineering, or how the burger holds together, and the flavor engineering, or how the flavors compliment eachother. Engineering is crucial when rating hamburgers, because well intentioned ingredients can fall apart if improperly managed (much like corporations, governments or chicken bobsled expeditions).
- Delightful Companions (5 possible points) This refers to fries, onion rings or any side dishes, not to the quality of my friends who dine with me…though that’s certainly an idea…or maybe not.
- The Unknown (5 possible points) This category will change depending on the location. If While it’ll typically deal with milkshakes, it’s subject to change if the restaurant fails to serve any.
These seven criteria will determine my ranking. Some, may wonder, why I’m reviewing fries and shakes instead of just the Burger. It’s my belief that we are shaped by those around us. So just as much as you are influenced by your friends, family, heroes, environment and entertainment, the Burger experience is influenced by what you drink and by what you eat with it on the side.
This endeavor will have its challenges; there will be long lines, bad Burgers, restaurants without Diet Coke, toppings that cost $2 each, French fry thieves and a lot of reaaaaaaaaaaaaally sad cow families, but the endeavor is worth the cost when you remember that perfection lies at the end of the journey. For it is Burgers, not baseball, film, religious hypocrisy or political hyperbolic demagoguery, that is the true American pastime.
In the words of John F. Kennedy, “And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”
Let the search begin.