A place where I can tell the world about my burger exploits
Friday, January 25, 2008
It doesn't matter that I can't pronounce the name. It also doesn't matter that the place can hold a maximum of 12 hungry burger lovers. I ate a burger today at Zaitzeff on Nassau St. in lower Manhattan that knocked me over. It seems that fewer and fewer burgers in NYC these days are made with good old ground chuck. Everyone seems to have an angle, either stuffing their burgers with things like foie gras and braised short ribs (my friend Daniel Boulud's DB Burger - wow what a burger) or mixing different cuts of beef to make a sort of 'everything' patty (I'm thinking of BLT Burger that boldly mixes chuck, sirloin, short rib, AND brisket to little effect). Zaitzeff is there too, offering a sirloin burger and a Kobe beef burger made from American raised Wagyu cows (not to be confused with Japanese Kobe). I've eaten a ton of burgers in the past 7 years, tons, and even I still can't really tell the difference between Wagyu Kobe and a great beefburger cooked the same way. What I do know however is that the Kobe burger I ate today kicked ass. It was cooked to a perfect medium and served on a decent toasted Portuguese-type bun with sauteed onions. I made the mistake of ordering mine with mustard, a mistake because every burger spot in NYC believes they have to serve high-end mustard with their high-end burgers. If you are into overpowering, makes-your-eyes-water Dijon, go for it. For those who know me, spicy brown (or yellow) is the only way to go. In the tiny kitchen behind the register you can watch your burger being made on the compact flattop (and fries bubbling in a cast-iron skillet, not a deep fryer). It's a great burger spot and glad that good friend Carey tipped me off to the place.