The burgers rest for five to seven minutes once taken off the grill. This gives time for the juices inside to collect themselves, for the cheese to be slightly warmed, and, of course, for the kitchen to make the fries.
The cheese is joined by paper-thin slices of red onion.
And some coarse grinds of black pepper.
Oh, yeah, and a tiny bit of olive oil, because they can and they should.
Ready to go
Now the burgers wait in repose while the fries get made.
Called "thrice cooked chips" on the menu, these are some the best fries in the city. "We wanted something a little more substantial," Peter explains. These are hefty sticks of potato with shatteringly crisp exteriors.
Oh hi there
Crackly, crisp, and just about perfect. All they need is the cumin mayo on the side for dipping.
The burger in all its glory
The burger arrives on a heavy wooden cutting board. The groove you see along the edge is necessary to catch stray juices.
This is exactly the doneness you want.
The Breslin Burger
The Breslin only has one burger: this eight-ounce lamb-y beast. It comes on a miniature cutting board with insanely delicious fries (and cumin mayo) that could eat lesser fries for breakfast. Oh, and something that could very well be a hunting knife.
The Breslin Bar
The Breslin is housed in the Ace Hotel, and takes its dark, pubby feel seriously. Pigs, chef Bloomfield's totem animal, can be found everywhere.
Chef Peter Cho and Pat LaFrieda
Chef Peter Cho has worked with Bloomfield for seven years.
The eight-ounce patties come pre-formed by LaFrieda meats. The 80/20 lean-flat blend is a mix of leg and shoulder meat, which is full of flavor but not too gamey.
Cleaning the grill
The grill is cleaned regularly to ensure consistent cooking. Once it's ready to go, Peter generously salts both sides of the patty.
The patties are cooked in two stages, the first of which is on the hot side of the grill, about 630°F.
While the patties sear, the buns get toasted—on the outside, not the cut center.
The buns are a custom order from Balthazar Bakery, and in essence are ciabatta in bun form. They have a crisp, bread-like crust and a soft, tender center with an open hole structure. The crust is strong enough to support the hefty burger but gentle enough to not squeeze down on the patty when you take a bite.
The bun picks up some sublte smoky flavor from the grill.
The thick patties are flipped often to cook evenly.
"See how the patty shrinks in like that?" Peter asks. The diameter shrinks as the patty swells slightly. Peter lifts it to check for doneness. "When you've cooked 10,000 burgers you can tell doneness by weight and a pinch on the side and top." The burger isn't done at this point, but it can't be left over the hot fire—it would overcook.
So it heads over to the "cool" side of the grill, which temps between 450 and 500°F. Here the patties cook more gently until done.
That's done. Evenly browned, evidently juicy, and passing Peter's weight and pinch tests. The Breslin cooks their patties to a rare-medium-rare, which may be a little more pink than some people are accustomed to, but it's in no way mushy. The kitchen can cook your burger to well done if you really, really want them to, but trust them, this is how you want it cooked.
The burgers are topped with thin slices of French feta. It's tangy, creamy, and not too salty—a perfect match for the well-salted patty.