Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien – 119 West 56th St,
Midtown West, New York, NY, USA
Burger:
The Works Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$7.50 USD
Summary

After wandering past the the swanky Le Parker Meridien Hotel’s check-in counter, the best place to head is towards a dark curtained wall. There you will find a dim, narrow hallway with a neon-lit burger at the end of it. Usually – as was the case when I arrived – there will be a line of people, all with the same goal in mind, waiting patiently in the shadows. The anticipation to see whats inside the doorway grows with every minute, until finally you can peek in and are transported to an entirely different world. In stark contrast to its most of basics of exteriors, you end up in a joint filled with menus written on cardboard, a collection of retro movie posters and a barrage of pen and texta scribble all over the walls. Getting some Seinfeld Soup Nazi flashbacks are understandable as their (at first) intimidating instructions on how to order threaten having you look like a chump, or worse yet, endure the pain of being sent to the back of the line if you’re too slow. But don’t fret. There are only 2 options of burgers, so if you get it wrong – yeah, you’re a chump. I went with the Works Cheeseburger that came on a humble hamburger bun with a classic beef pattie (cooked medium-rare), cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup and mayo.

Comments
“When I’d heard that this burger was Heston Blumenthal’s favourite burger in the world, well, I had to try it! Admittedly, I got a little lost and ended up walking into the hotel’s restaurant. But they were kind enough to point me in the right direction to where I would find a dark hallway filled with a queue of people. The place inside is amazing. One minute you’re standing outside in a fancy hotel foyer and then you’re in a dingy, graffiti covered diner. This really is my favourite kind of eatery: where they have a very very limited menu but they do it exactly right over and over again. These guys are confident, know what they are doing and if you dont like it then leave. Once my name was yelled out I eagerly ripped open the brown paper bag and saw a big awesome mess of a burger. The charred beef was cooked evenly and complimented the crisp bite of the spanish onions and the sweet pickles. In defiance of all odds, the soft bun did its job and some how managed to keep it all together. Overall, quite a juicy and most delicious mess.”
Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien on Urbanspoon


Kua’aina Burger

Thursday, October 20, 2011
Kua’Aina Burger – Maison du Yuu Bldg. 1F, 1-10-4 Shibuya,
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (東京都渋谷区渋谷1丁目10−4)
Burger:
Avocado Burger
Serviettes:
3
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
10 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
¥1080/$13.60 AUD/$14.06 USD
Summary

Say it like this: “Koo-a eye-na”. It basically means redneck/hick/bogan, depending on where you come from, but for native Hawaiians it refers more to those who actively live Hawaiian culture and keep the spirit of the land alive. So by now you would’ve guess that this burger joint is in fact originally Hawaiian. With 2 locations in Obama’s home-town, 1 in London and a whopping 15 across Japan, it’s safe to say the Hawaiian-Japanese relationship has moved on since Pearl Harbour. As you walk in you can’t help but notice the “Hawaii-ness” (it’s a word, look it up) of the place. Lining the walls are surfboards, photos and memorabilia from it’s 35 year history including shots of the original owners and even some of the main man himself, President Barack Obama- we hear he’s a big fan! So if it’s good enough for him you’re darn right it’s good enough for us. Along with their burger selections you’ll find a tonne of different sandwiches ranging from East Coast favourites like Pastrami and Roast Beef, to the more tropical Mahi Mahi and Teri Chicken. We asked our friendly Hawaiian shirt wearing cook what burger Obama enjoys most and so we went for their famous Avocado Burger. It came on a Kaiser Roll with a char-grilled 1/3 pound U.S beef pattie, butter lettuce, avocado, mayo, herb butter and a grilled onion.

Comments
“When you first think of having a burger in Japan the last thing you think of is a Hawaiian burger chain. But I thought, “Hey… nothing in Japan had managed to disappoint me yet”. What they offer is a really simple burger, add avocado and turn it into a suprisingly awesome creation. My charcoaled beef pattie was well cooked, but I thought a tiny bit dry. With only mayo in the burger the grilled onion added the sweetness you need and the avocado gives the burger a creaminess like you can’t even begin to imagine.”
“I absolutely loved this burger! So much so i had it twice. Was I even hungry the second time around?- No. Was it my 16th burger for the trip?- Yes. Do i want one now?- Yes! I’m honestly disappointed in myself that I have never had avocado in a burger before this, but it’s subtle flavour and texture just compliment the beef so well. They also used one of the best burger buns I’ve had: it was soft and fluffy but still strong enough to keep everything in tact.”
“When I heard we were going to a Hawaiian burger joint, my first reaction was pineapples on burgers and Ukulele themed music in store. I know I was pigeon holing the whole experience, but I’m a “glass half-empty” type of guy. Oh boy was I wrong about this place. The Hawaiian theming that went on in there wasn’t too intense; they just kept true to its Hawaiian roots in a tasteful manner, even playing Hawaiian online radio. More importantly, the burger was great. My pattie was on the dry side but made up for it with seasoning that was spot on and a nice char-grill flavour. The generous amount of avocado mixed nicely with the mayo to add a nice creaminess to each bite. The char-grilled onion slice did add a nice sweetness and crunch to each bite. I do recommend having it with the Ginger Ale and ordering the chips which, are semi-skinned, double-fried and F’n amazing.”
“Holy Ben Affleck I loved this. The meat was flame-grilled, filling it with that supreme charcoal goodness. It was pinky in the centre and cooked the best way possible. The tomato was brilliant as was the Kaiser bun. The perfectly ripe, seasoned avocado ended up acting like a creamy butter throughout the whole experience, making me think you probably wouldn’t even need to add cheese to this bad boy. Never having added avocado in a burger before made this the ultimate in cherry popping – I even cried like a true first timer. Seriously good burger.”


Lotus*

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lotus – 22 Challis Ave, Potts Point, New South Wales, Australia
Burger:
The Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
Go Now!
Price:
$16
Summary

Just past all of the aristocratic elegance of Kings Cross, Sydney, you’ll find the Merivale Group owned Lotus. With a Midas-like touch, they’re responsible for some of Sydney’s most renowned nightclubs, restaurants and hotels. So why should Lotus be any different? Like most of their premium venues, there’s the beautiful decor, low lighting and quite the mean cocktail bar. However, there’s one big difference: the exceptional talents of a chef by the name of Dan Hong. After a few years working the scene in Australia he tore away to the USA, only to return to Lotus in 2008 with some “most-triumphant” tricks up his sleeve. Their Cheeeseburger, as Chef Dan Hong describes, is “bun, meat, onions, sauce, cheese, mayo and pickles – it is a proper burger – no fancy shit”. Dinner/Burger Time starts at 6pm at Lotus; so we arrived at 5:45pm, cooled off with some alcoholic beverages and waited for Awesome to happen.

Comments
“This is like Walter White’s Blue Meth in a bun… sent from the gods! This burger prevails where so many others fail. Although we know how much research went into the meat alone (a mix of chuck, brisket and dry-aged beef fat), simplicity was the key ingredient here. There really is not one thing I’d take out, add or change about this burger. One of the many sexual thoughts I had going through my head after devouring this delight was, “Could I? Could I actually move to Sydney to be closer to my new found love?”
“What I’m about to say really won’t do this burger any justice. So for your sake stop reading this and GO NOW! If you have decided to read on I’ll try and make this quick (because some things in life really don’t need too much explanation). The burger was soft and delicate. The bacon was cooked to perfection, not crisp, but tastefully tender. The pattie was juicy and was filled with sumptuous salty flavours that will blow your mind. The steamed bun was by far the one of the softest buns I have ever had on God’s green earth – I loved it! Our side order of chips + mayo were also great. It’s just such an amazing burger, there’s no chance you’ll be able to stop at one.”
I quit.

Lotus on Urbanspoon

*Like a bazooka in the face, it pains us to say this Lotus is closed for good. FML.


MOS Burger

Thursday, June 30, 2011
MOS Burger – 2-53-3 Hatagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
(2-53-3幡ヶ谷、渋谷、東京、日本)
Burger:
MOS Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
2 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
¥350/$4.10 AUD/$4.35 USD
Summary

Whilst working in Los Angeles in the 1960s, founder Satoshi Sakurada frequented a local hamburger chain called Tommy’s. Inspired by the ‘cook to order’ concept, Mr. Sakurada hit on the idea that this kind of hamburger joint would be just as popular with his fellow countrymen. After returning to Japan, Mr. Sakurada set up the first MOS Burger in Tokyo in 1972. Taking inspiration from their name “Mountain, Ocean, Sun” and slogan “Making people happy through food” MOS Burger has grown to the 2nd largest burger chain in Japan (behind McDonald’s) with over 1,400 outlets throughout, and with another 100 spread across Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia. We had been hearing rumours of MOS expanding to Australia for a while and after the opening of a Brisbane “Test Run Store” in March, we decided that we had to check out the original. Each of us grabbed a different item but I had my eyes set on the MOS Cheeseburger that came on a soft whole-grain bun, a beef + pork mince pattie, Australian cheese, thick slice of tomato, onion, mayonnaise, American mustard and the classic MOS meat sauce.

Comments
“The best way to describe this burger is basically a McDonald’s Cheeseburger with a large dollop of Bolognese sauce on it. If it were any bigger it would have been a total mess however, I avoided all of that nonsense by scoffing it down in 3 bites. Sure, MOS is essentially a fast-food chain, but I noticed the locals were’nt treating it as fast-food; more like a place to hang out and unwind. There were kids studying and office workers kicking back, playing video games and puffing on cigarettes in the enclosed smoking areas. Also unlike some of the big chains, each burger is cooked to order. This may see you waiting a little longer but its worth the wait as the burgers come out fresh and hot.”


The Standard Hotel

Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Standard Hotel – 293 Fitzroy Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Standard Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$19
Summary

The Standard Hotel is, in all its glory, a good ol’ fashioned pub. With many other institutions pouring in the big bucks into new-age renovations and refurbs, the Standard Hotel stands tall and proud, appearing completely untouched for decades. This isn’t to say that the place is falling apart, it has just been maintained with a nostalgic grace that’ll take you back to more simple times. The crowd has of course evolved since its opening in 1865, with a mix of young and old, to hipsters and the working class. This of course goes hand in hand with contrasting your ol’ fashioned pub meals like Steak Sandwiches and Fish and Chips to some of the more “local friendly” dishes like Goats Cheese Tart and an Eggplant Parma. With a country band twanging away inside we took a seat in their most spacious and adored beer garden and ordered their Standard Burger. It came on a traditional kaiser roll with a thick beef pattie, egg, bacon, tomato, beetroot, onion, lettuce, cheese and a side of chips.

Comments
“Having been disappointed with pub food of late, I was not expecting much from this burger. When everyone else is trying to reinvent the burger (with not much success), these guys have created just what needed to be done. I was actually surprised when it turned up in front of me looking like a traditional no frills pub burger.. Finally! It had a nice, thick and juicy pattie with a succulent pink centre accompanied by one of the best cooked eggs sitting atop it all. With a fresh Kaiser bun (and skewer) holding it all together and all the fresh ingredients, this burger really has something good going for itself.”
“This is a very tall burger! After removing the beetroot I got started on trying to condense the burger to a more manageable size. In doing so I popped the egg yolk and it sent a river of golden goodness everywhere. When a large beef pattie is involved it is easy to overcook it leaving the edges charred, however this had great flavour and juiciness throughout. The bun had a crusty outside shell and the remaining fluffiness soaked up the rest of the burger juices. A great local pub that hasn’t changed in decades and I’m guessing its exactly how the residents would prefer it.”
“I was so relieved that this wasn’t another dolled up pub burger. It didn’t try and show boat with any fancy ingredients. Even as you walk in you totally feel like you’re stepping into a country pub in the middle of nowhere. The pattie was lightly seasoned and resembled a rissole at times but when bitten with the bacon it added an awesome 2-hit meat combo. If you want to avoid looking like a pansy and eating with a knife and fork I suggest leaving the spike through the middle, because either way it does get messy and you’ll be left with egg on your face – literally. As for the veggies, for me the tomato and lettuce were unnecessary and didn’t contribute a whole lot but the beetroot added a pleasant sweetness and the onions were really good, especially when they mixed with what tasted/looked like a smear of whole grain mustard across the top bun. These guys really have created quite the enjoyable meal here and for me, true to their name, they’re setting the standard amongst traditional pub burgers.”
The Standard Hotel on Urbanspoon


Jones the Grocer

Thursday, February 10, 2011
Jones The Grocer – 1341 DANDENONG RD, CHADSTONE
(CHADSTONE SHOPPING CENTRE), VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA
Burger:
Jones Wagyu Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
6 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$16
Summary

In 1996, in the prominent Syndey suburb of Woollahra, Jones the Grocer opened their flagship store. Recognising a new growth in café culture they sought out to offer their customers fantastic service and produce (like a great café), but then also sold all their produce for use in everyday living (like deli). So when Chadstone Shopping Centre went through an epic makeover in 2009 they looked to Jones The Grocer for something new and different that many shoppers hadn’t yet experienced. The big glass structure that is Jones the Grocer Chadstone is hard to miss when trying to find a park. Feel free to browse their produce like fresh bread, cured meats, international jams and most notoriously, the cheeses in the their walk in cheese room. But, if you can’t wait to get home to try your purchases you can always dine in. Jones’ menu caters for both the early risers and the afternoon shoppers offering everything from traditional breakfasts, all the way to freshly prepared baguettes, pasta, risottos and salads for lunch. Most importantly of course is the Jones Wagyu burger. It comes with a Wagyu beef pattie, bacon, lettuce, gruyere, Jones bois boudran sauce and olive oil chips. Now all thats left to do is decide whether you prefer this or Capital Kitchen’s Cheeseburger just around the corner.

Comments
“I wasn’t sold on this burger. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I think I was personally a little let down by the beef pattie. I thought the beef was a little pasty, somewhat like sausage mince. Not to say that it actually tasted like that (even though so many others do). In the end you could tell the beef was of good quality and taste, but it just wasn’t the kind of pattie I like. All other ingredients were fresh and well proportioned. I particularly enjoyed the bun and fries.”
“A small and well proportioned burger. The beef was a little charred for my liking but its still had a great crumble and flavour to it. On the top bun you had the ketchup and on the bottom there was possibly one of the best mayos I’ve ever tasted. To finish it off it had perfect presentation with a fancy dollop of sauce on the side for the chips. I’d advise not ordering if you are on your lunch break from work; this place is catered towards the ladies who stop by during/after shopping and are in no rush..”
“Overall a good lunch time burger. However, there is one condition: you have to wait 15-25min for your burger to arrive (service can be a bit slow, but that’s ok because the final product is worth it). I wasn’t a fan of the chips cooked in olive oil – some of them were too greasy and heavy. The positives included a light, small and very easy to manage bun, a light and well cooked pattie, perfect bacon, a very tasty and nicely melted gruyere and just the right amount of carefully selected lettuce leaves.”
“The sauce on the wood is undesirable and is different just for the sake of being different. The chips your meant to use to dip in it are cooked in olive oil – nothing but a gimmick because quite frankly they taste bad. It did take forever to get service/meals but in the end, you honestly get quite a simple and decent burger with a Wagyu beef pattie that’ll melt in your mouth. To add to this there was salty, crunchy bacon and really good ratios of cheese and lettuce. Its a good, perfectly proportioned lunchtime burger.. but only if you’ve got all the time in the world.”
Jones the Grocer on Urbanspoon


The Millswyn

Sunday, December 12, 2010
The Millswyn – 131-133 Domain Rd, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Millswyn Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$19.50
Summary

Just opposite Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens along Domain Rd, you can’t miss a refined and sexy looking locale by the name of The Millswyn. You’re welcome to grab a spot at the bar or in the dining room, but with warm nights fast approaching, the terrace is the perfect spot for a bite and a beer. With a menu that ranges from a selection of Charcuterie, seafood and “Midnight Sweets”, you might find yourself tempted by the Millswyn Burger (available on the bar menu all week), which comes with a thick beef pattie, a toasted sesame seed bun, BLT garnish, avocado, relish and fries. Now all that’s left to do is decide on a drink.

Comments
“I really believe that when a meal comes out with great presentation, it will nearly always taste a little bit better. They have gone to a great effort to create a visually pleasing burger. Luckily it didn’t end there! A tender and juicy pattie sits on a slightly sweet bun with all your extras accompanied on the side. It was a nice change to go without cheese – it would’ve actually taken away from the burgers true flavours. I loved the side of relish, but I’m not sure how much the avocado really added.”
“You know a burger is good when it doesn’t need cheese. The beef was simply perfect and cooked with the right shade of pink. There was also the just right amount of fat to hold it all together and keep it juicy. The intertwined BLT combo with avacodo was very fresh and it didnt take away from the flavour of the beef, also giving it a really nice texture. Great atmostphere, decor, music and good-looking people everywhere.”
“A really enjoyable burger. The preparation that went into it was obvious, and the quality of the produce was of the highest standard. The beef was thick, juicy and fantastic. The blanched tomato slice was tasty and the avocado with bacon always mix well. There was no cheese, but it didn’t need it. What I really enjoyed was the relish (please try it when you go) that was a perfect dipping sauce for their very well-executed fries. And incase you have a spare $25 in your pocket, try washing it down with the Estrella Damm Inedit Beer – damn good.”
“As soon as it came out I was reminded of the USA, where building your own burger is a regular occurrence and makes the pickiest of eaters happy campers. I threw the lot in between the soft sesame seed bun and went to town. Definitely some of the nicest beef I’ve had; simple, soft, tender and tasty as hell. It was hard to tell if the avocado was needed; whatever it added it was subtle. The bacon was awesome, lean and a bit crunchy, with a hints of Kielbasa that you might pick up from an Eastern European deli. Salutations to the chef and the team for creating such a unique and luxurious dining experience.”


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