The Chopped Steak / Tuesday's Children Club

passing judgement since 2002


Criteria: Meat, Bun, Condiments, Fries, and Atmosphere, each on a scale of 1-5. 
Meat counts double for a potential score of 30.

1 = genuinely bad
2 = ho-hum
3 = good, perhaps recommendable
4 = notably good, unquestionably worth recommending
5 = absolutely outstanding, a privilege to experience


Old Town Tavern - East 18th Street, Manhattan - July 24, 2002

Total Score: 15

OldTown2.jpg (38444 bytes)

Bacon cheddar burger with fries

OldTown1.jpg (47596 bytes)

Cheddar burger, bacon cheddar burger

OldTown3.jpg (48186 bytes)

All gone!

Scorecard for Old Town Tavern:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 2 2 3 2 4 15
Meredith S 2 1 3 3 4 15
AVE/TOTAL 2 1.5 3 2.5 4 15

Overall, a fairly tepid offering for a first meeting of The Club.  A great joint, good beer selection, but not worth visiting for the burgers.

Grand Saloon - 158 East 23rd Street, Manhattan - September 10, 2002
                           Return visit - May 23, 2003

Total Score: 20.75

The Grand Saloon has always been a favorite place thanks to its convenient location, its reliably good burgers, its beer selection, its relative cleanliness and its size.  One can almost always get a table, even on busy sports nights.  The televisions throughout the bar and dining areas are well-placed for those who want to watch games but unobtrusive for those who do not.  (On visit #2, Natily noted that there are simply too many TVs, silent or otherwise.)  The juke box selections are not terribly annoying, and the music volume is maintained at a good low level.

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American cheese burger + bacon, Cheddar burger with fries (Rear-to-Front)

GrandSaloon2.jpg (34830 bytes)

Cheddar burger, American cheese burger + bacon (L-R)

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The Grand Saloon readily provides (on request) generous bottles of undiluted A-1 sauce -- a big plus.  A minus, however, is the wide-mouthed ketchup bottle. Natily contends that most mature burger eaters can manage a "normal" ketchup bottle, and the wide mouth simply tempts disaster.  The thought of other customers sticking their knives (or fingers) directly in the ketchup bottle grosses her out a bit.

Scorecard for Grand Saloon:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 3.5 4 3 4 4 22
Natily B (visit #1) 4 3 2.5 3.5 2.5 19.5
Natily B (visit #2) 4 4 3.5 3.5 2.5 21.5
Brent W 4 3 3 4 2 20
AVE/TOTAL 3.875 3.5 3 3.75 2.75 20.75

The fries at the Grand Saloon have won awards in several local magazines.   The fries have a very distinctive taste and a crunchy-on-the-outside texture (twice-baked?).  Most people love them and would give them '5' ratings -- but we've eaten them so many times that their novelty may have worn off.  Now the flavor tastes "weird, like there's rust in the frying pan."  Brent liked them a lot but noted that his plate "needs more big and long ones."

The condiments are a mixed bag.  The A-1 and the cheese are great, and the pickle wedge is good, but the lettuce/tomato/onion presentation was a bit pathetic. On visit #2, Natily upgraded her marks for the bacon.

Overall the Grand Saloon is a reliable place for a quality burger experience; an old standby.  The meat itself is tasty and the burger size is generous without being monstrous.  We've dined there repeatedly and never been disappointed.  It's no accident that our first visit yielded a 20.75 average (David + Natily #1) and the second visit also yielded exactly a 20.75 average (Natily #2 + Brent).  For a change of pace, try the blackened chicken sandwich.  Avoid the ribs.

Paul's Palace -  131 2nd Ave, Manhattan - September 22, 2002

Total Score: 16.75

Paul's suffers a bit from an identity crisis.  It's an inexpensive spot in the East Village with checkerboard tables, scary clowns hanging from the ceiling, gift-shop reject celebrity statuettes, a couple of televisions, and plenty of crap on the walls.  It's part Johnny Rockets, part sports bar, part student dive, and part truck stop. 

The burgers at Paul's Palace are monstrous. Often burgers this size are more of a battle than a culinary treat, but in this case I could hardly believe how quickly and easily mine slid down the ol' gullet.  Certainly these are the most visually appealing and impressive burgers to date.

PaulsPlace3.jpg (49322 bytes)

American cheese burger + bacon.  Note size relative to human hand (at left).

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Cheddar burger, American cheese + bacon burger (front-back)

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Paul's is listed in most guides as "Paul's Palace", but some signage at the location itself reads "Paul's Place" --
as in the sign above.  Natily garnishes her burger with self-serve pickles-o-plenty.

The beer is relatively cheap for a restaraunt; as you can see above, it's just $2.75-$3 for the most expensive bottles. 

Various condiments are scattered throughout the dining area, including help-yourself pickle bowls, mustard, ketchup, hot sauce, and squeeze bottles of unremarkable Arby's-style barbeque sauce.  The lettuce served with the burger wasn't so good.  There was plenty of it, but we got the crunchy white parts toward the spines.  I hate that!

The menu provides many good options: English muffins, Kaiser rolls, and extras of everything. We were tempted to order one of the bun alternatives, but we stuck with the default bun style.  This turned out to be a poor choice, as the regular bun was too small for the massive pattie.  It was quickly soaked and rendered nearly useless.

The meat itself was good and fresh, but lacked the extraordinary "oomph" of flavor needed to really put it over the top.  Natily found it unwieldy, especially toward the end (with the bun offering little additional structural support).  The frozen steak fries were a big disappointment.

Scorecard for Paul's Palace:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 4 2 3 2 2.5 17.5
Natily B 3.5 1.5 3 2 2.5 16
AVE/TOTAL 3.75 1.75 3 2 2.5 16.75



Kenn's Broome Street Bar  -  363 W. Broadway, Manhattan - December 14, 2002

Total Score: 17.75

Sorry, no photos for this review.

Kenn's has an extensive bar menu and a good beer selection.  You can eat in the bar or in a clean and cozy separate dining room.  The burgers are tasty and big. 

 The burgers are served on pita bread or, if you ask, toasted English muffins.  Thus Kenn's gets bonus points for 'bun innovation', but the pita and muffins are themselves no more spectacular than anything one could buy at a grocery store.

Burgers come with a generous and fresh slice of tomato, a large helping of sliced raw onion, and ho-hum lettuce.  Choose between several kinds of cheese.  Available on-table condiments include catsup, mustard from a little tub, and A-1.

The meat's quality and taste is roughly on par with the Grand Saloon.  The major problem here is that burgers are served with potato chips from a bag rather than actual french fries.  Extra fry baskets are available, but -- come on!   

If you're in the neighborhood, definitely stop by for some cow, but it's not worth a special trip down to Soho. 

Scorecard for Kenn's Broome Street Bar:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 3 4 3 1 4 18
Natily B 3.5 3.5 3 1 3 17.5
AVE/TOTAL 3.25 3.75 3 1 3.5 17.75


Corner Bistro -  331 W 4th St, Manhattan - April 12, 2003.  
                                                 Return visit - April 20, 2003.

Total Score: 24.125

The Corner Bistro is the heavyweight of the New York Burger Division.  The Corner Bistro is the perennial winner of the "Best Burger" awards from New York magazine, Time Out NY, the Village Voice, etc. etc.  And, for good reason.

We've been here at least five or six times, and every time we leave knowing that there simply can't be any better. 

Visually, the burgers themselves aren't overwhelmingly impressive:

Bistro Burger, cheeseburger, fries, and human hand (clockwise from upper left)

... but the scent and flavor win the day.

The service is notorious for being slow and inattentive.  It took us about 15 minutes of waiting to get a seat, and about 20 minutes for the staff to prepare our simple order.  This was 5pm on a Saturday -- at other times of night it may be a little more insane.  Just don't come here if you're in a hurry, and, for God's sake, don't ever come here during normal popular meal times!

The crowd itself is hit-or-miss; sometimes, the place can be packed with screaming tourists (as it was this particular afternoon).  On our return visit (1am on a Saturday night), the crowd had dissipated and service was much more attentive.

The beer selection is good; for $2 you can get a mug of McSorley's or McSorley's dark.

Oh, but the meat.  THE MEAT!  On the way in to the dining room, you can catch a glimpse of the tiny kitchen, and view the deceptively simple process by which the raw ground beef is broiled to chewey perfection.  There's nothing particularly fancy about the preparation process (for the record, they're broiled under a gas flame).  But it's the beef itself -- and the way it's married with the effervescent wafts of deep-fried bacon -- that puts this burger over the top.  The bacon tastes like bacon, the fries taste like bacon, and the burgers taste like bacon.  How baconey!  The most incredible part about this burger is that you can't put it into your mouth quickly enough.  Health tip: remember to finish the bite already in your mouth before adding another.

Condiments are dandy.  Burgers come with tomato, lettuce, raw onion, and pickles -- all top quality.  No "spines" at all.  Ample mustard and ketchup at the table.  The cheese isn't melted quite enough into the burger (compare to Paul's Palace, above), but that's minor.  The french fries ($2 extra) are pretty simple - frozen, then fried in bacon grease (it seems) - and aren't terribly special beyond their perfect baconey goodness.

On our return Chopped Steak Club visit, new member Lauri complained that the raw onion was cut too thick and was too tough, and new member Rick got a spiny piece of lettuce.  Horrors!

The bun is lightly toasted -- which adds its own special scent to the beef/bacon/deep fry melange.  Natily's bun fell apart toward the end:

... but while it lasted, everything was in perfect proportion:

Scorecard for Corner Bistro:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 5 4 4 4 4 26
Natily B 5 3 5 4 4 26
Lauri R 4 3 2 4 4 21
Rick S 4 4.5 3 4 4 23.5
AVE/TOTAL 4.5 3.625 3.5 4 4 24.125


White Horse Tavern -  567 Hudson St, Manhattan - April 18, 2003

Total Score: 23

The White Horse Tavern has been a West Village favorite since 1880.  It's got great "Old Tymey" atmosphere, a selection of twenty different beers, a variety of cheap bar food, good music, and a friendly crowd.  They're open late and there's outdoor picnic table seating in the summer.  Large groups can be hard to accomodate in the dining room, unless you arrive at slower times of day.

The bugers are available with a choice of cheeses.  And ... here they are!

Bacon cheeseburger with fries, cheddar cheeseburger (top-bottom)

The Corner Bistro (evaluated just six days earlier) is an intimidating act to follow, but the White Horse burgers were up to the task.

The meat is quite good -- crusty, chewey, and ample.  The condiments are fresh and well-selected (tomato, pickle, and lettuce -- shown above with optional onion and bacon).  A curious feature of the White Horse burger is that the cheese is melted into the toasted bun, not into the meat.  I deducted a point for this violation of form; Connie (a new inductee into the Chopped Steak Club) didn't mind, and she reports that her bacon was terrific.

bacon cheeseburger -- cross section

The steak fries are unremarkable, other than the fact that they're included in the low price (< $6).

We both agreed that the bun was structurally lacking.  White toasting is always appreciated, the buns are slightly ill-proportioned -- simply not strong or large enough for the task at hand.  By the end, things got to be a bit of a mess, and in politer company we might have resorted to using a fork for the last few bites:

... but, perhaps it was our fault for not eating quickly enough.  EAT IT!  EAT IT!

The service was very good -- food arrived quickly, and all the waiters were very friendly.  We need to leave in a hurry to make another appointment, and the staff had no problem bringing our check and processing it right away.

We give the White Horse top marks for atmosphere.  It's a Manhattan oasis; jovial without being oppressively loud, bustling without being too crowded, interesting decor, a great location, and lots of history.

Scorecard for White Horse Tavern:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 4 3 3 3 5 22
Connie M 4 3 5 3 5 24
AVE/TOTAL 4 3 4 3 5 23


Malachy's Donegal Inn - 103 W 72nd, Manhattan - May 17, 2003

Total Score: 15.25

Malachy's is an ancient pit on the Upper West Side.  It's a little out of place for its 'hood, which is a good thing.  It's definitely recommended if you're in to 'the dank'.  

Other web sites rank the chicken wings highly, but here at we're all about the burgers.  And here they are...

(L-R: Bacon Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger)

Visually decent, but underwhelming.  The fries are actually quite good and were the real highlight.  The meat was flavorless at best, and there were some bites that even tasted a bit 'tinged'.  It didn't stay down too well, if you must know.  What was lacked in quality was made up for in quantity.  I ate the whole thing, but wasn't enjoying particularly it toward the end.  I considered hitting Malachy's with a '1' for meat, but I had to respect its quantity.

Natily gave a low 'bun' score on account of her biggest pet burger peeve: the bun being too small and flimsy for the task at hand.  

I awarded a '2' for condiments, mostly because the burger is served with shredded lettuce -- delivered aside the burger itself (as you can see above).  This arrangement makes burger construction a rather messy affair.  Burger destruction should be messy, yes, but not construction.

Malachy's isn't threatening any of the burger big boys any time soon.  Beer by the pitcher ($10) is a more recommendable highlight.  

Scorecard for Malachy's:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 2 3 2 4 3 16
Natily B 2.5 1 2 4 2.5 14.5
AVE/TOTAL 2.25 2 2 4 2.75 15.25


McHale's - 750 8th Avenue, Manhattan - May 18, 2003

Total Score: 22

Were I homeless and hungry, I would camp myself right outside McHale's.  The $8 burgers are simply monstrous, and are rarely completely finished by a single human diner -- leftovers for everyone!  The burgers are at least six inches in diameter and perhaps two inches tall -- for you geometry students, that's FIFTY-SIX CUBIC INCHES of meat.

(L-R: Bacon Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger)

Bacon, bacon, and bacon!  Look at all that bacon!  Natily gave her burger a '5' for condiments just for the bacon -- there are at least four or five full strips.  As you can see, however, the lettuce is inexcusably weak:

Cheddar Cheeseburger.  One quarter diameter = about 1 inch.

The bun starts to devolve.  Observe: too much bacon to fit on the burger!!

The atmosphere is a lot of fun -- McHale's is around the corner from a number of Broadway theaters, so there's usually a sizeable post-show crowd of impoverished actors happy to tie on the ol' beef bag.  The dim dining room features retro semi-circular booths, perfect for staging ground beef orgies.

The burgers aren't just enormous; the meat is top quality stuff as well.  However, it's hard to really savor the the meat when faced with so dang much of it.  It's like going to a huge museum filled with masterpieces, but getting there about thirty minutes before closing.  

The unremarkable steak fries were a disappointment.  

Stroll in humming a show tune and stagger out with the 'meat sweats.'

Scorecard for McHale's:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 4 3 4 3 4 22
Natily B 4.5 2 5 3 3 22
AVE/TOTAL 4.25 2.5 4.5 3 3.5 22

Blue 9 Burger - 92 3rd Avenue, Manhattan - August 3, 2003

Total Score: 16.25

Blue 9 Burger is a relative newcomer to Manhattan.  It's clearly patterned after the West Coast In-N-Out chain, offering a limited menu at low prices while emphasizing fresh ingredients.

Choices include a hamburger, cheeseburger, or double cheeseburger, french fries, soda, and shakes.  You have to ask in order to discover that the burgers, by default, come with a slice of tomato, a few nice big iceberg lettuce leaves, a slice of raw onion, and some variation of Thousand Island sauce.  You can also fill your own plastic tubs of catsup and "mango chili sauce" (the yellow stuff above).  We don't recommend the mango chili sauce for any purpose.

It's a "fast food" motif -- order at the counter, fill your own soda cup, wait five minutes for your number to be called, pick up your food, bus your own tray.  The burgers (and especially the fries) are definitely a step above Burger King, McDonalds, Wendy's, etc., but it's unfair to lump fast-food burgers in with the half-pound pub burgers reviewed above.

The condiments on the burger are all quite good, but again, their variety is severely limited.  No mustard, no A-1 sauce, and no pickles at all.  Natily felt that with these additions the condiments could have received a '5', but instead they only merited a '3'.

The buns are toasted (just like at In-N-Out, and one of David's favorite tricks), and the fresh-cut fries are outstanding -- perfectly sized and salted, and unanimously voted the best tasted to date (although forks would have been nice).  In fact, napkins, forks, and ice were all totally absent during our visit.

The burger meat itself is fine, but too thin to be considered anything special.  Compare the burger's size above to the cross-section photos of the major-league contenders: McHales, the White Horse, or the Corner Bistro.  Big 9 Burgers is good for a munchy minor-league snack, but in the long run it's simply overpowered by the big boys.  A 'double cheeseburger' is a menu option, but this web site doesn't like to rely on such volume gimmickry.

There's nothing un-tasty about the Big 9 Burger experience, but the complete and total lack of atmosphere really hurts the score.

Scorecard for Blue 9 Burger:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 2.5 4 3 5 0 17
Natily B 2 3 3 5 0.5 15.5
AVE/TOTAL 2.25 3.5 3 5 0.25 16.25

Jackson Hole - 521 3rd Avenue, Manhattan - December, 19 2003

Total Score: 9.75

Jackson Hole has been around forever. Okay, not forever. Eight different New York area locations have been serving up the beef since 1972.

The menu is huge; they'll serve your burger with almost any kind of topping you can imagine, including guacamole, chili, marinara, eggs, ham, and jalapeno peppers.

The burgers are also huge. Unfortunately, again we find a 'quantity vs quality' thing going on here. The burgers are far too big for the flimsy buns, and both fall apart in your hands almost immediately (but not before pouring a cup of 'burger juice' up your sleeves). I resorted to a fork and knife about halfway through, and Natily's bacon burger was just plain unmanageable. The burgers are nearly as big as McHale's or Paul's Place, but they lack any flavor whatsoever -- as you might gather from this cross-section:

It's no wonder the menu encourages so many bizarre toppings; the meat on its own doesn't have much going for it (other than volume).

Each table gets a complimentary bowl of pickled cucumbers, but these got bad reviews as well. Lettuce was spiney, and the fries were actually kind of 'tough,' making no pretense of freshness.

These diners been cruising on its reputation for massive burgers (picking up some 'best burger' awards now and then). Jackson Hole really needs to pay attention to flavor and aesthetics. Our bias toward burgers that can actually be held while completely eaten really works against The Hole. Perhaps the management lacks opposable thumbs?

Scorecard for Jackson Hole:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 2 1 2 1 3 11
Natily B 2 0 2 1 1.5 8.5
AVE/TOTAL 2 0.5 2 1 2.25 9.75

Better Burger - 561 3rd Ave @ 37th Street - January 2, 2004

Total Score: 15

Better Burger is an adjunct to the excellent Josie's Restaurant, known for healthy organic fare. As such, the 'Better' in 'Better Burger' is a reference to the quality of ingredients, not the taste experience. The Better Burger website itself lists eight reasons why their burgers are 'better', and they each amount to the same idea: they're better for you, not better tasting.

Realistically, Better Burger does not belong in this competition. It's more of a 'health food stand' that happens to serve organic beef hamburgers, along with ostritch, tuna, turkey, chicken, soy, and veggie burgers. As you can see above, the burgers are not particularly large, and as you can see below, they were almost certainly frozen.

The best part of the burger is the whole wheat bun. Big thumbs up on the bun. Good taste, good size, and very functional. I'd like to see this bun take on some more intimidating meat companions -- the cafeteria-sized meat pattie of Better Burger didn't deserve such lovely bookends.

The meat itself tasted about how it looks. Grey and flat, lacking much character or flavor. Certainly not *bad* or *funny tasting* given its 'health-food' roots, and certainly a step above many fast food burgers, but not quite as tasty as the similarly-sized junior-man offering from Blue 9 Burger (above).

I wanted to like the 'air-baked' fries, I really did, but they really weren't so hot. Kind of tough, and in the end neither flavorful nor appealing.

Good marks for the condiments - a serve-yourself station lets diners go nuts with three kinds of ketchup, a couple of kinds of mustard, BBQ sauce, wasabi sauce, and more.

Low marks for ambiance - it's a health food stand carved out of a restaraunt, not a bar & grill. It's clean and pleasant, but it's not a place where you'd want to 'hang out' for any longer than necessary.

Better Burger is the perfect place for January 2nd burger - when you're trying to keep 'good diet' New Years' resolutions, but you still want a burger.

Scorecard for Better Burger:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 2 5 4 1 1 15
AVE/TOTAL 2 5 4 1 1 15

Rare - 303 Lexington Ave @ 37th Street - May 6, 2004

Total Score: 19

The hotel restaurant at the Shelburne Hotel won the 2004 "Best Burger other than Corner Bistro" nod from Time Out NY, so we had to pay it a visit.

The menu is impressive, with a creative set of variations including some overtly wacky choices with kobe beef, fried egg, canadian bacon, avacado, fois gras, etc. It's all a little overly fancy. It's definitely a restaraunt, not a proper 'burger joint.' The other menu options were tempting, but here at The Club we're all about the straight-forward no-muss no-fuss don't-screw-around burger.

Regular stripped-down burgers are fairly affordable, at $7.50, plus $1.50 for each additional topping. Fries are extra - $3.50. You can also get a massive 14oz burger for $22, with unlimited toppings. (i.e. a 'doggie bag special').

The meat is quite good - well cooked, good size, good texture. It could have used a tad more flavor, though. I noted a few 'flavor dead spots', and toward the end the burger become less a pleasure and more a challenge. The edges of the burger where more 'juice' collected were definitely more tasty.

The toasted brioche bun is too 'restarauntey'. It's a little too big and too dry. Natily thought the tomato was too thick, and she resented having to cut up her pickle in order to put slices on the burger. Shoestring french fries were okay, but unremarkable, and their extra cost was a little galling. Natily threw a change-up and ordered sweet potato fries, which she found dry and uninspired. (For the record, Trailer Park serves up some terrific sweet potato fries, along with some not-half-bad turkey burgers.)

Medium marks for ambiance. It's a hotel restaurant with a pretty decent bar and a good unobtrusive flat-screen TV. The crowd is mostly tourists and guests. It would be a fine place to go after work with professional pals or for an occasional happy hour, but it's not really a 'hangout'.

Scorecard for Rare:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 4 3.5 3 3 3 20.5
Natily B 4 2.5 2 2.5 2.5 17.5
AVE/TOTAL 4 3 2.5 2.75 2.75 19

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien - 118 W. 57th St - July 27, 2004

Total Score: 23.25

Sorry, no pictures (yet).

Burger Joint is tucked away in a corner behind a curtain in the otherwise froo-froo lobby of Le Parker Meridien Hotel. It's decorated as a kitchy road house, and it smells fantastic. At lunch time, lines snake out the door and businesspersons fight for tables.

The menu is simple and limited - hamburgers, cheeseburgers, soda, cheap pitchers of beer (only $15 for Sam Adams!), fries, and that's about it.

The burgers have been universally well-reviewed, and deservedly so. There may be consistency problems behind the stove; we've had one 'medium,' which was superb (my '4'), and one 'medium' which was definitely over-done (thus Natily's '3' for meat). The burgers could stand to be slightly larger - or maybe they just taste so good that you wish you had another as soon as you finish the first.

The burgers come with a load of condiments which you're welcome to customize during the order. Natily was awed by the pickles. David was particularly enamored of the buns, which aren't quite English Muffins, aren't quite brioches, and definitely aren't hamburger buns, but they're just perfect. Photos (forthcoming) will do them more justice.

Marks added for atmosphere thanks to the pitchers of beer, but marks off for atmosphere, in that it's hard not to feel rushed. During busy times, anxious diners hover over you while you eat and grab your seat almost before you're out of it. There's no table service; you have to come with friends who can camp out for a table, while one unlucky diner stands in the line and tries to remember everyone's order.

The fries are terrific - crispy and tasty.

Scorecard for Burger Joint:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 4 5 4 4 3 24
Natily B 3 4 4.5 4.5 3.5 22.5
AVE/TOTAL 3.5 4.5 4.25 4.25 3.25 23.25

New York Burger Company - 303 Park Avenue South @ 23rd Street - August 2, 2004

Total Score: 16

Another newcomer, touting 'all natural beef' and an impressive array of condiments and variations, plus turkey, chicken, and other options.

Again, we didn't mess around and went straight for the cheeseburger.

The best summary I've found of New York Burger Company was found here on eGullet, which also includes an impressive album of photos. The postings complaining about a lack of flavor are dead-right. There's nothing wrong with the meat, but it just doesn't taste particularly beefy. Could it be the missing fat? Yeah, probably.

These burgers belong in a competitive class with Better Burger and Blue 9 Burger (both reviewed above). It's delivered in a fast food context, at a fast food price (although a tad high - lunch for two was about $15), and with a better product than a mass-produced frozen burger. But we're not racing back for more.

You'll note in comparing scores that New York Burger Company beats Better Burger, but falls slightly behind Blue 9 Burger. While New York Burger Company offers more interesting condiment options, Blue 9 Burger meat just tastes better, and their fries are much better.

Natily liked the brioche bun, but I was a unnerved by its slickness. With a cheaper burger, I expect an 'absorbant' feel to the bun, not a slimy feel -- my fingers never felt 'clean'. The stale-croissant-like texture was interesting but not particularly effective.

Chopped up bits of lettuce - including bits of spine - stuck through the bottom bun, creating a disturbing rumpled and dimpled bottom texture. Good marks for the variety of sauces available (apply them yourselves), and good-looking tomatoes. Unremarkable cheese.

The fries came without salt, but otherwise were very tasty at the beginning of the lunch. However, through time they started to get very soggy, until we wound up with more or less a pile of wet noodles:

Low marks for ambiance. It's a fast food motif, with lots of people waiting around for their numbers to get called out. At least the place is immaculately clean - much better in this regard than Blue 9 Burger.

Scorecard for New York Burger Company:

Reviewer Meat Bun Condiments Fries Atmosphere TOTAL
David H 2.5 3 4 2.5 1 15.5
Natily B 3 3 3.5 3 1 16.5
AVE/TOTAL 2.75 3 3.75 2.75 1 16

Bad Reviews

Ye Olde Tripple Inn - 263 W 54th Street

An unforgettable midtown dive bar, with great decor and beer selection, but do not, under any circumstances, order food. 

An appetite-suppressing odor wafted about the place.  Regular burger tasted rancid and had to be sent back.  Turkey burger was a joke.  Tomato had mysterious rotten spots.  French fries were okay.   English muffin buns were a pleasant surprise, but the meat itself was literally inedible.  Chicken fingers had a fishy taste thanks to shared fry oil.  Stick to the bar area.

David's scorecard: Meat: 0.  Bun: 2.  Condiments: 0.   Fries: 3.  Atmosphere: 3.  Total: 8.
Natily's scorecard: Meat: 0.  Bun: 1.  Condiments: 0.  Fries: 3.   Atmosphere: 1.  Total: 5.

- August 8, 2002

FOOTNOTE: on Nov 5, 2002, I received the following e-mail from

I must disagree with your "unofficial review."  Perhaps you were there on an
unfortunate day?  I have never experienced any of the problems you speak of,
but to be honest, I do know they fired a chef this summer and got someone
who gets raves.

I am a regular there and I once looked up their NYC health code rating
online.  After perusing many downtown establishments I'd been to that had
multiple  violations -- including vermin of every stripe, I trembled when I
clicked on the Tripple.  They had a clean record.  Very rare.  And then one
day I was in there and a health inspector paid a surprise visit, no kidding.
When the guy was done he told the bartender/owner, that he had never seen
such a clean kitchen in a bar/restaurant.  The owner was very proud.  It's a
family run affair, now with 3 generations who work there.

Also, the dishes that are more complex than burgers, are usually better,
something you wouldn't expect from a pub.   The pasta primavera sounds scary
from them, but is delish and the specials are worth the gamble, but always
ask what the staff thinks first, they'll always be honest.

Sorry you had a bad experience, but I think the food there deserves another



The August 8, 2002 fare simply didn't belong on a plate.  Perhaps it was just a 'bad day,' or perhaps the chef in question has indeed been axed.  Other opinions welcome.

FOOTNOTE EPILOGUE: on April 24, 2003, I returned to Ye Olde Tripple Inn with an aspiring Chopped Steak Club Member (Dan W) and with an open mind.  

The back dining room still smelled, to my nose, of urinal mints.  Dan was reminded of an open sewer.  

We first shared a plate of "mini tacos", which involved a lot of deep frying.  Then Dan ordered a bacon cheeseburger, and I ordered a cheeseburger.

I am sorry to report that my cheeseburger was, again, marginally edible.  I choked down two bites and left the rest on my plate.  I stand by my original scorecard:

                Meat: 0.  Bun: 2.  Condiments: 0.   Fries: 3.  Atmosphere: 3.  Total: 8.

My meat had a scent of spoiled lamb and simply tasted 'funny,' in a "I don't think I should eat any more of this" way.  The condiments were a joke.  The bun was still kind of interesting, and the fries were still actually pretty good.  Dan didn't have any complaints about his burger, but, by his own admission, "I don't eat a lot of hamburgers these days."  

I still think the atmosphere is a lot of fun.  I highly recommend Ye Olde Tripple Inn for drinks and laughs, but, for God's sake DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ORDER THE FOOD!  I hereby posit that Ye Olde Tripple Inn serves the single most inedible hamburger in New York City, barring a handful of miserable "fast food" options.  In fact, I went to White Castle immediately afterward, just to get the Tripple Inn taste out of my mouth.


Blue Ribbon
Burger Heaven
Cozy Soup and Burger
Diner (Williamsburg)
Island Burgers & Shakes
Joe Allen
Joe Jr.
Peter Luger
Screening Room
Soup Burger
Union Square Cafe
Wolf's Delicatessen

Other recommendations?  Want to help rate?  Complaints about ratings?  Write