Midtown: HB Burger's Super Juicy and Beefy Prime Steakhouse Burger
Update (11/11/13): This burger is no longer on the menu.
Multiple locations, location tested was at 127 West 43rd St New York 10036 (map); 212-575-5848; hbburger.com
Cooking Method: Griddled
Short Order: This is a fantastic burger and a fantastic deal
Want Fries with That? The fries are fine, but the Buffalo Chips are the way to go.
Price: Cheeseburger with fries, $16.95
So...I started "research" (by which I mean stuffing my maw with delicious aged beef) for this post last week only to realize that the always accountable and thorough Nick Solares had already written about this very same burger back in 2010.
Under Robyn's orders, I'm re-reviewing it in as short and succinct a way as possible. With some brand new photos.
Let's get straight to the point: the Prime Steak Burger ($16.95 with fries) is a fantastic burger and a fantastic deal. There are not too many places in the city that you can get a burger made with dry-aged beef period, let alone for only $16.95 with fries included.
Made with super juicy and beefy and just-funky-enough-you-can-tell-it's-dry-aged beef from Pat LaFrieda, the nicely-sized patties are cooked to order and served on a toasted brioche bun.
Nick didn't care for his bun, but I thought it actually fared quite well against this extremely juicy patty.
The best part of the burger is its deeply browned crisp crust. Even without the dry aging, it'd be a flavor powerhouse, but that extra funk really pushes it over the top into best-in-category territory. I can't think of a burger at this price range in this style that I've enjoyed more. (Unless you count the Spotted Pig's burger, which is in a class all by itself).
The regular Fresh Cut Idaho Fries ($3.50 à la carte) that normally come with the burger are perfectly fine (though Nick had some middling tater tots a few years ago), but it's worth paying the $1 upgrade fee to get an order of the Buffalo Chips ($4.50 à la carte), which are thick-cut, fried fresh, and come with a blue-cheese and buffalo sauce dip. They're tossed with a finger-staining spice blend that layers beautifully with the aged beef fat that already coats your fingertips. It's a finger-licking experience that Doritos and Cheetos can only dream of.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.