How can you go wrong with tiny hamburgers? How can you go wrong with Kobe-style beef? Two great tastes that go good together? Yes and no.
Shortly after announcing on Monday that this week was Tiny Hamburger Week on AHT, we received a couple e-mails telling us to try the Kobe-style sliders at recently opened restaurant and lounge The Stanton Social on New York City's Lower East Side. AHT senior editor Matty and I made it down there post-haste that night.
We had read about the place on New York real-estate blog Curbed, so we knew about the place's fancy digs (see photo below). White Castle this is not. And the price tag on just one of these tiny treats ($5 a pop) would get you about seven of that establishment's Slyders. But it's Kobe beef (well, Kobe-stylea.k.a. "wagyu"we're sure, as real Kobe beef is illegal to import), and we were prepared to pay.
We arrived shortly after work hours and were able to get a table with no problem, but if you're going at dinnertime, you'll probably need a reservation. The Stanton Social's schtick is that its fare is meant to be shared, hence the name, we guess. Dishes are therefore small and the idea is that you order many different things over the course of your meal-drinking-conversation session. That philosophy demands an attentive wait staff, and our server was nothing but. Friendly, too. As we ordered, he informed us that the chef recommends the burgers medium-rare. We took that recommendation.
Our sliders arrived at table shortly thereafter, four small and juicy looking sandwiches on small golden-brown rolls. The burgers come with a ripe plum tomato slice between the bottom bun and patty, which is topped with a diced onion mixture, a sharp cheese that we couldn't quite place, and a special sauce that tasted ketchup-based. The burgers were as juicy as they looked and were the some of the beefiest tasting burgers I've had while writing for AHT. No complaints there.
The special sauce, while not overpowering, diverted attention from the wagyu beef, though, and the burgers were almost too juicy, if that's possible. Our take on it, as is the case with most wagyu-beef concoctions be they burgers, hot dogs, or what have you, is that, sure they're tasty, but why not just savor this fancy-pants beef on its own in steak form? We liked our sliders but felt that once you'd tried them, there's nothing outstanding there that would draw you back to them. They're more a novelty item that you can safely skip unless you're curious.
THE STANTON SOCIAL
Location: 99 Stanton St. (at Orchard St.; Lower East Side), New York City NY 10002
Cost: $5 a slider
Short Order: These Kobe-beef sliders are tasty but more a novelty than a necessity
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