Blue 9 Burger is often compared to California-based In-N-Out Burger, and for good reason: Both shops use fresh (never-frozen) beef, select the freshest ingredients for toppings, and, for fries, hand-cut the potatoes in-house.
While this reporter has never had the opportunity to sample In-N-Out* and cannot, therefore, make a head-to-head comparison, I do know that the freshness Blue 9 Burger strives for makes all the difference and, surprisingly, doesn't add that much to the price of a typical hamburger meal.
After asking if I wanted onion (yes, please), the cashier gave my order to the cook, and I had a chance to take some photos while my burger was grilled (like any good hamburger place, but unusual for a fast-food joint, Blue 9 makes your food after you order it, not before). This gave me time to read the shop's mission statement, writ large on its southern wall, avoidable only by the blind:
At Blue 9 Burger we believe fast food should be made from scratch. We start with 100% beef which is never frozen. Every burger is made to order. At Blue 9 Burger there are no heat lamps or microwaves. Your french fries are cooked from fresh potatoes and are peeled and diced in the store. At Blue 9 Burger we only use the highest quality, freshest ingredients to make the world's most delicious burgers and fries. Blue 9 Burgeralways fresh, always delicious.
I've had Blue 9 many times before and have always enjoyed it, but have never really eaten it with a palate toward criticism. When my burger arrived, accompanied by lettuce, tomato, and raw onion, I found that the test subject upheld my favorable impression. Lettuce, tomato, and onion were noticeably crisp and fresh, providing just the counterpoint to the soft bun. The meata thin patty with a bit of exterior crunchtasted fresh, as well, and was very good, if a bit dry. I then recalled that I hadn't been asked how I wanted my burger cooked. Perhaps in the future, I will specify medium or medium-rare and see if that makes a difference.
BLUE 9 BURGER
Location: 92 Third Ave., New York NY 10003
Hours: Sun.-Mon., 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.; Tues.-Wed., 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.; Thurs., 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Payment: Cash only.
What's Cookin': The Blue 9 Burger (double cheeseburger) can get a bit messy. They deliver, but there's a $6 minimum, which shouldn't be too hard to make. Click here for menu.
Extras: Photo outtakes from Blue 9 trip.
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