The Brindle Room
277 East 10th Street New York, NY 10009 (b/n 1st Ave and 2nd Ave; map); 212-529-9702; brindleroom.com
Cooking Method: Griddled
Short Order: A hefty, funky, juicy burger made from the dry aged trimmings from a steakhouse
Want Fries with That? Yes, they come with the burger and they are superb
Notes: Available for brunch and on Mondays if there are any left over
A few weeks back we got an email about a new burger in the AHT inbox. That's not unusual—we get them all the time, usually from publicity departments describing some pretty unappealing burgers.
This one was different. It came from Jeremy Spector, the chef/owner of the newly opened Brindle Room in the East Village and he told of a burger made from "prime aged beef trimmings and deckle from my partners steakhouse"—Sebastian's in Morristown, New Jersey. Now that piqued my interest. When it comes to beef there's nothing I like more than the funky, steely, mineral-rich tang of dry aged meat.
One of my favorite burgers is the Black Label burger at Minetta Tavern, which features copious amounts of dry aged rib eye. When I was confronted with the Brindle Room burger I thought that if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the boys at Minetta must be blushing. The burger looked like the first Black Label burger I tried, back when they still served it with cheese, with the seeded bun and mountain of caramelized onions. The Brindle Room burger doesn't quite scale the lofty heights of the Black Label, but it's only $13 compared to $26 at Minetta Tavern.
It's served on a wonderful generic white bun, a perfect canvas for the masterpiece in beef, cheese, and onion that it holds. The caramelized onion add a sweetness that balances the funky flavor of the beef. The cheese options are cheddar, Gruyère, and blue cheese. Forget the latter—it would be totally redundant as the beef itself has the unmistakable blue cheese-like tang of dry aged meat. In fact, the flavor of this is so steak-like that I regretted putting any cheese on it at all. it really didn't need it.
I ordered the burger rare and the center was just that way, but there was a rather large portion of the patty that was cooked almost all the way through. Fortunately, it was still juicy indicating that even a well done burger would not be a completely arid affair.
The exterior of the patty had a decent char, although not as much as I would have hoped for, particularly in light of the over-cooking. In its favor, it was perfectly seasoned with generous amounts of salt and pepper.
I sort of like the fact that the burger was served without any vegetables, save the fries, although I could see some quibbling at the fact that a $13 burger comes without any additional toppings.
The fries come in a heaping portion and they are excellent. More like British chips than french fries, the thick cut, skin-on potatoes are a deep golden color with a correspondingly crisp crust and flaky interior.
The burger is a relative bargain at only $13, especially considering that it has such a large dry aged component. It's a few bucks less compared to other similarly constructed burgers, which also have dry aged beef such as the one at Tanuki Tavern ($16) and the HB Burger Prime Steak burger ($17). The only caveat is that it's only available at brunch and, if there are any patties leftover, as a special on Monday. There shouldn't be—this is a burger that deserves to sell out.