When your spouse goes, “I feel like a Burger”, in NYC you might as well take your Ibuprofen 600 right at that moment. Not in 20 minutes, not in an hour, no sense of waiting any longer. Take it, and call in sick the next day. In most cities in the US its a fairly simple request. But here, before you know it, your mind goes berserk with a circus of possibilities. What kind, what kind of place, where? Do you want shake shack, other fast-food, fast-casual, diner, any of the 798 restaurants we know, steakhouse? All offer 50 shades of burger. You can also sub burger with pizza and get the same results.
With that said, this time wasnt as bad as before, and Au Cheval came to mind fairly quickly. A place that opened to much fanfare three years ago. You see, I’m one of those weird food bloggers that can wait years to eat at a popular place. I’m fairly low on the FOMO scale. I have one or two names in my head that stick around for a while until I forget about them or replace them. At the moment the name is Foul Witch. Cant reserve it for the life of me.
Au Cheval is a Chicago import that’s billed as a diner. I dont know about Chicago, but calling this a diner in NYC is like calling an old school steakhouse, a shoe store. They both sell stuff. To find the place, you may need to play restaurant hide and seek. Even when you find the tiny alley, you still need to look for it. Once you enter, it feels like a hidden speakeasy.
There’s nothing extraordinary about the burger. “Then why are you dedicating an entire post to it, Ziggy?” Another good question Timmy. The answer is, as per above, NYC is blessed with a number of fancy burgers. And this is just a really solid burger. Its more of a sum of its parts situation, as opposed to a particularly noteworthy patty.
Its a regular burger on steroids, especially once you add the suggested fried egg and bacon. The bun is a perfectly soft brioche. Just the kind of softness and sturdiness you want from the supporting role. You get three thick cut, peppery and salty bacon strips that add just enough crispiness and flavor. The egg I usually find is more for aesthetics, but that’s not a negative. You get much of the juiciness from the American Cheese, and the “dijonaise”. All this results in a very satisfying bite for burger lovers, and most likely haters. Hence the long waits early on.
Its not a cheap burger if you opt to include the bacon and egg. Its $22 without, and just north of $30 with. Add the fries which I recommend sharing, and its way past your normal burger with fries price. But thats Manhattan for you these days. As for the rest of the menu, its actually quite interesting. I heard. I havent even glanced at it, but the many reports sound promising. Some, like Eater even claim, the burger is one of the least interesting items. But judging by how many burgers we’ve seen parading the room, good luck trying to order anything else.
33 Cortlandt Alley (Tribeca)