Or, 'But What Do They Call it in France?
Hype never moves me the way it should. In fact, it turns me off. I refused to see Pulp Fiction for three years after its initial release for that very reason, and even then wasn't that impressed. But when multiple trusty sources of mine collude to recommend a burger, I feel I owe it to myself to at least give it a try.
Royale has been regaled in local media since its opening in 2006. On a recent rainy night, I trekked over to Avenue C to get a taste of my own. Despite rave reviews (or maybe because of them), I wasn't expecting this burger to blow my mind. I managed to walk right past the place, but it's not like they don't have a sign.
I don't like ordering burgers with funny names. And since Pulp Fiction left a sour taste in my mouth, I especially did not like asking for a "Royale with Cheese." Thankfully, the waitress spoke cheeseburger, and that's all I had to ask for. That and a Porkslap, which is a mighty tasty cheap beer from a can. She did this neat trick where the can rests on the edge of a pint glass and pours itself. I was impressed already.
Moments later, my burger arrived, and it looked spectacular. Served on delectably brown seeded roll with lettuce, tomato, and onion, I was especially impressed with the pickle placement. Six crinkle-cut slices of dill pickle ensured optimal coverage and a bit of pickle in every bite. Already Royale was stacking the deck. Whether I was hungry or just trying to cram something in my mouth rather than ask my dining companion about his recent stint on Jeopardy!, I quickly assembled the burger's halves and took a bite. And what a bite it was: juicy and flavorful and just right. This burger was everything I'd been promised, and soon it was gone. I gave serious thought to ordering another right then, but decided to nibble on my friend's fries instead. I somewhat regret my decision.
Why was this burger so delicious? For one, it was cooked exactly as I'd asked. For two, Royale uses an extremely generous fat-to-meat ratio, and fat is some tasty, magical stuff. Testing a theory, I returned to Royale a second time, and ordered the burger without cheese. Never let it be said that I require cheese! The Royale, however, does. The Royale (which even sounds weird without cheese) was still tasty, but in no way approached the blissful experience of my first visit, and all other factors (aside from the company) were the same. Further evaluation will be undertaken, fear not.
To summarize: We probably don't agree about Pulp Fiction, but it's not like I write for a film blog. Trust me when I tell you this is a burger worth ordering, with cheese. Or don't, I don't care; it's not like Royale is hurting for hype.
Address: 157 Avenue C, New York NY (Alphabet City, b/n 9th and 10th; map)
Short Order:Delectable cheeseburger, acceptable hamburger. Optimal pickle coverage regardless.
Want Fries With That? A basket of the shoestring variety will set you back $3, but there's plenty and you should share. Onion rings are also available and are equally skinny. Maybe they're making up for the beef?
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