It has been too many years since PJ Clarke's burger has been up to par, both in quality and late-night availability. Furthermore, while there is Melon's on the Upper East Side and Molly's in Murray Hill and Fanelli in Soho, the East Village has, to date, yet to claim a seminal bar burger of its own.
So today is a special day. Peter Meehan drops word that the East Village has a new, excellent entry in the bar burger category, and it is available some nights until 4 AM. At such a moment, we are compelled to relax our no-food-porn photography rule to bring you as close to said burger as is possible. Meehan's pick, the Royale with cheese at Royale (a new bar on Avenue C and 9th Street, on Avenue C and 10th Street) is a charbroiled patty (75% lean ground Angus/25% fat), complete with a first-rate bun and expertly brined pickles. Additionally, the kitchen, though tiny, can tell the difference between medium, medium rare, and medium well. Eater has had said burger: Top to bottom, thought and a great deal of love went into this bad boy. It is the real deal.
Ahead, an extremely NSFW look at the Royale with cheese, which you cannot have until 4 PM today. Start the clock.
"The patty is made from 75 percent lean ground Black Angus beef, which is the polite way of saying that beef fat constitutes a quarter of its heft. Cheese, if you choose it, is Boar’s Head American, and is melted atop your patty under the broiler."
"If the dozens of Royales I sampled are an indication, they are broiled with remarkable accuracy. Medium-rare burgers came with the same first-rate broiler char that medium-well burgers had, and were moist and properly underdone within. The fatty patties fare well under the broiler: they have juiciness to spare."
Images by Keith Kin Yan on special assignment for Eater. All rights reserved.