Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Burger Joint

Burger Joint
119 W 56th Street in Le Parker Meridien Hotel

Hidden in a corner of the lobby of Le Parker Meridian hotel sits Burger Joint, a small bustling eatery that serves made to order burgers and fries to long lines of patient customers. I say that it is hidden only because if you didn’t know it was there, you would never find it. The entrance is down a narrow hallway in the hotel lobby, obscured by the reception desk and only marked by a neon hamburger sign and an arrow pointing to the doorway. The contrast between the upscale hotel lobby and the hardwood coffee shop tables and stools with marker on the walls couldn’t be more refreshing.

The lobby of Le Parker Meridian:

Narrow hallway with the hamburger sign:

Welcome to Burger Joint:

The limited number of tables means that the earlier you get there, the better. Arriving at around 11:50, we were left to sit at a table with stools rather than in a booth, but were far luckier than the dozen or so others who were left standing and waiting for tables. I ordered their cheeseburger ($7.50), medium-rare, with the works (lettuce, tomato, onion, sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup and mayo), and after about five minutes was able to pick my order up from the small open-window kitchen. The burger was cooked perfectly, juicy and pink in the center, but firm enough to keep its shape. I don’t think it can be emphasized enough how much of a treat it is to be able to get burgers to order from a quick service restaurant. For $7.50 the price is in-line with other burger juggernauts like Shake Shack and Corner Bistro, and the size of the burger is comparable. I would probably ignore the fries, which, for $3.50 are enough to share, but taste like McDonald’s fries without the salt.

I can certainly attest to the fact that this is a top-10 burger, if not top-5 but I have a hard time saying that this, or any other burger, is the best burger in the city. Let me explain. I am an avid baseball fan and love to play in fantasy baseball leagues. One of the draft strategies that I use is to divide players at each position into tiers. If there are three really good outfielders, I’m not too concerned about the order that I rank those three, just that I recognize that they are in a different tier than the next three outfielders. So it is with burgers. Is Burger Joint better than Shake Shack? Corner Bistro? Tough to say, and I have a hard time being comfortable saying that any of them is shoulders above the others because none of them are. But what I can say is that in the realm of burgers they are in the highest tier and I would be comfortable having any of them on my team.

A Cheeseburger Close-Up:

With fries on the side:


  1. dave! hi!

    i like the fantasy baseball comparison, but come on. shake shack is outside and the corner bistro is full of nyu students. burger joint is the best burger in nyc. THROW DOWN!


  2. Lily, I think you're begging for a blind taste test. Corner Bistro, Shake Shack, and Burger Joint. Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! Let's do this.

  3. i will defend my choice with honor. but yeah-- we should ABSOLUTELY do a blind taste test. the only fly in the ointment is that corner bistro might have sesame seeds on the bun-- i don't remember. but yes, let the springtime amusements begin!... once the snow melts.