Gotham Bar and Grill
12 East 12th Street, New York NY 10003 (map); 212-620-4020; gothambarandgrill.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: A juicy, beefy, seriously delicious if overpriced new entry in the fancy-pants burger wars
Want Fries with That? Excellent, salty, twice-cooked fries made from Kennebec potatoes
Price: Gotham Dry Aged Burger, $22
Notes: Only available at lunch, Mon. to Fri., 12 p.m - 2:15 p.m.
Though there hasn't been a burger on the Gotham Bar and Grill menu since there was a margarita machine at the restaurant's elegant bar, chef and owner Alfred Portale knew the time had come: Portale wasn't using the trimmings from the 28 day dry-aged steak on his dinner menu, and he knew that had to stop. "The end piece, the aged fat, about four inches of the strip loin—all amazing pieces—were going to waste," says Portale. "I realized these could be elements of the most incredible burger."
Portale blends aged fat, the aforementioned dry-aged sirloin, and ground chuck hanger steak left over from the hanger steak on his lunch menu, to produce a very fine, beefy 7-ounce burger that's plenty juicy. It comes on a grilled housemade hamburger roll topped with Italian black truffle cheese, housemade tomato confit, pickles, and a roasted garlic aioli, and terrific fries, all of which presumably help drive up the price of this burger to a too high $22.
Here's the thing about Portale's fancy-pants burger: It doesn't need all of these chef-y toppings and frou-frou accompaniments. As you can see from the photo I ordered mine without the cheese, and if I had to do it all over again I would order the patty plain on the toasted bun and put some of the Heinz ketchup on it that comes with the excellent fries.
Is the Gotham Bar and Grill burger worth $22? I don't think so. It's a really good burger, especially unadorned, but serious eaters in this neighborhood at lunch can head over to the Union Square Cafe a couple of blocks northwest, grab a seat at the bar, and have a really fine fancy-pants burger with terrific fries for only $15.