Monday, March 16, 2009

Irving Mill

37. Irving Mill
116 E 16th Street between Irving and Union Square West

I pass Irving Mill almost every morning on my way to work and have always been impressed by the menu. Chef Ryan Skeen, former chef at Resto, has certainly made a name for himself in New York, representing the city as a candidate for the James Beard rising star chef of the year award. Skeen shares his passion for all things pork by including menu items such as pork toast with egg salad and caviar, crispy pig’s ear salad and a selection of sausages and pates. Time Out New York’s item at Irving Mill is the burger ($15) which blends ground sirloin, flap-meat and a touch of pig fat. Recently introducing a recession special, I ventured in on Monday nights where $15 nets a burger, fries and one of two rotating draft beers.

On tap were two Sixpoint ales though I only remember that one was light and one was dark (sounds like McSorley’s). The lighter ale was still slightly too bitter for my liking but enjoyable nonetheless. I’m not gonna lie, I was at first disappointed with the size of the burger. It’s small. For $15 I expected something bigger than a $5.50 double shake shack burger and even after the fries I was still hungry. Though I can see why people are excited about the burger, slightly crusty on the outside, fatty and juicy on the inside, topped with melted cheddar, I would still prefer a burger from the trifecta (shake shack, burger joint, corner bistro). What Irving Mill offers that the others don’t, however, is options and atmosphere. Sure, the burger on its own isn’t better than the others, but you certainly can’t get a charcuterie plate from a bistro, a pistachio crusted snapper from a joint, or tortellini with sweetbreads from a shack. Your friend doesn’t want a burger and you do? Go to Irving Mill. On a Monday. $15 is still too much for the burger, but if I rationalize it that I’m spending $6 on a beer, then the burger becomes only $9 which is right in the ballpark. As long as the Monday night specials keep going, Irving Mill offers a solid burger for a reasonable price.

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