Harlem: Red Rooster Adopts LaFrieda, Ups Its Burger Game

AHT: New York

Burger reviews in the New York City area.

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[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Red Rooster

310 Lenox Avenue, New York NY 10027 (map); 212-792-9001; redroosterharlem.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: A great burger with an even better bun
Want Fries with That?: Yes, picture-perfect shoestrings
Prices: Red Rooster Burger (w/fries), $19

Just a quick update from my neck of the woods.

It had been a while since I had the burger from Red Rooster. Its former incarnation was made with house-ground chuck and came topped with a pile of sautéed mushrooms that kind of overwhelmed the mild mannered beef. It wasn't a bad burger by any means, but not the best in the neighborhood. That distinction used to go to next door Chez Lucienne for their juicy, perfectly-cooked, and ultra-cheesy burger. But Red Rooster has upped its burger game, switching out their house-ground patty for a much juicier, tastier patty from LaFrieda, as well as getting rid of the mushrooms in lieu of more classic topping choices. Both of these are wise moves.

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The new burger has been on the menu for about six months, comes grilled to order, and is served on a housemade, sesame seed-studded pretzel bun, another improvement over their old version.

Even better are the fries, which have now lost almost all pretense of being anything other really great thin-and-crispy fries. That pretense comes in the form of a light dusting of grated parmesan. There are worse things to be pretentious about.

Available on the lunch and brunch menus for $19, it's on the pricey side, but it's a big burger and, well, for better or worse, everything in the neighborhood is starting to get on the pricey side.

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