More than one person has told me that they believe the Motz Burger does not really exist. But as you can see from the photo on the right said burger does in fact exist, and it can now be found at 2 NYC locations. The latest spot my proud burger has popped up is at the new Water Taxi Beach, South Street. Now you won't have to venture into the wilds of Long Island City to indulge in the Motz Burger. And likewise, if you live near Water Taxi Beach, LIC you won't have to venture into the nuttiness of Manhattan. I have no idea what the hrs are of the new beach so good luck to you.
I ate a lot of burgers last week. A feature that Saveur is working on for their August burger issue had me and other burger minds at the uptown Shake Shack putting down many tasty singles. I also stopped into my local Five Guys for a fix and made a few at home using my grinder (of course). But the burger that really knocked me over this past week was the Black Label burger at McNally's newest venture, the resurrected Minetta Tavern.
I know it's impossible to get into the place and the burger is $26, but man was it worth it. This beast, made from the Pat LaFrieda aged beef blend, sat on a bun that could barely contain the patty's (nearly) 1/2 lb. girth. Topped with nothing but sweet, limp caramelized onions this burger needed nothing more. The pungent bouquet of the aged meat was obvious making the beefiness pronounced. The combination of the grease, those onions, and the butter from the bun was all I needed for the perfect flavor profile. Unfortunately, the waitress immediately offered me a bottle of ketchup, which I declined, but feared that most patrons probably accepted. Please do not ketchup this perfect burger. I think I finished the burger in 6 quick bites.
The Black Label blend from LaFrieda has come a long way since I tested it back in October 2008. I asked McNally, "Why Black Label on the menu?" He told me, with out missing a beat and pointing to the kitchen, "Chef's choice." A good choice at that. Clearly great beef in the right hands yields positive results.
Of course, the prez can't fart without the media covering every angle so when he and Joe walked into a burger joint in Virginia the media went nuts. I was happy to see that the they covered the president placing a burger order on camera and it's fully audible. He actually says:
"I want just your basic cheddar cheeseburger, medium well, mustard, no ketchup. Do you have a spicy mustard like a Dijon or something? Lettuce and tomato."
Now, I say that he ordered 'correctly' because most know my view of ketchup by now. Ketchup on a burger is for kids. Mustard is the way to go. Ketchup is sweet and hides the beefyness whereas mustard enhances beefy flavor. If you ask for a burger in most small town joints across the nation it'll come with mustard only. History is on my side.
As for everything else in his order he was a bit off. Medium-well is a travesty for fresh meat and as far as I'm concerned lettuce and tomato are for a salad. Cheddar is too 'fern bar', as John T. would say...
Biden orders a jalepeno burger with ketchup...yikes.
Regardless, in the bigger picture the president is a beef-eating, small business-supporting guy and that's a good thing. He ordered a burger made from fresh ground beef on national television. Any positive burger awareness is good by me. I'll get over the Dijon request.
And they're good. Owner Zack Zaitzeff told me they are not always available though because the buns are specially made for them. "They are artisans," Zaitzeff said of the bakery that supplies the burger joint with those oft-talked about Portuguese buns. The sliders are really just miniature versions of their griddled sirloin burgers, which is a good thing. To qualify as a 'slider' Zaitzeff does it right and serves them with cheese and caramelized onions only.
If you are looking to try the excellent Zaitzeff sliders I would call ahead to make sure they are on the menu that day (they do not exist on the web menu or at the restaurant even though Zack explained that they have them "everyday"). The only reason I ordered them was because the chalkboard outside told me to.