Here are the top ten new burgers of 2016. The trend this year is the continued dominance of fast food-style burgers from chefs that a decade ago might have been turning out ornate affairs. Double patty stacks, American cheese, special sauce, and homages to popular chain hamburgers abounded this year.
Chef David Malbequi's whimsical "burger queen" at David's Cafe is about as straightforward a fast food-style burger as you will find in an NYC bistro, yet the execution is so exacting, with a profound sense of elevated comfort, that it is an easy favorite. The components are the familiar double patty stack, American cheese, and special sauce, with shredded lettuce, tomato, and delicate slivers of pickle. The simplicity is deceptive — the resulting burger is the platonic ideal of the genre with everything in perfect proportion. $17, comes with fries.
David's Cafe 110 St Marks Pl, New York, NY 10009
April Bloomfield's Salvation Burger serves up two options: the namesake eight ounce single patty burger, and the Classic, which is a double patty stack fast food-style production. You should try both, but I suspect you will return for the Classic, as it is priced considerably cheaper ($17 versus $25). It features beef that has been chopped at Bloomfield's White Gold Butchers that is then seared on the flattop before being covered in a blanket of American cheese and a dab of special sauce. This is fast food turned up to 11. $17.
Salvation Burger 230 E 51st St, New York, NY 10022
This seasonal burger stand, which operated out of an Airstream trailer at the William Vale Hotel this fall, offered a quirky interpretation of the roadside burger. Andrew Carmellini and his crew were serving single and double griddled-cooked burgers topped with a tangy aged cheddar and a piquant special sauce. (Full review here.) $6.
Mister Dips 111 N 12th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Pig Beach may be principally focused on barbecue but the restaurant also serves a fantastic grilled fast food-style burger. The char-grilled patty gets topped with white American cheese and lashings of special sauce. That's it! Simple and to the point. The patty gets a nice smoky flavor and a great crunch from the grilling, while the deluge of cheese and sauce balances the salt and savory notes of the beef. $8.
Pig Beach 480 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Like Emily before it, Matt Hyland has crafted another winning burger at Emmy Squared, his and partner/wife Emily Hyland's Detroit-style pizzeria in Brooklyn. Dubbed Le Big Matt, the burger evokes the McDonald's Big Mac with its double patty stack and American cheese, but offers a fiery finish thanks to the abundant Sammy sauce. (Full review here.) $22, comes with waffles fries.
Emmy Squared 364 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
The reboot of Chumley's features a high-minded burger from chef Victoria Blamey. Two griddled dry-aged patties are topped with American cheese, a wedge of bone marrow, and a heap of crisp shallots. Dubbed the 86 burger, after Chumley's famous street address, it comes with a mountain of fries. While it might resemble a fast food burger, it has a greater complexity of flavor and interplay of textures, despite the similar architecture. $25 comes with fries.
Chumley's 86 Bedford St, New York, NY 10014
The burger at Keith McNally's Augustine shares similar visual DNA to the ones sold at his other restaurants — it's served with a crown askew, surrounded by a shroud of fries, with lettuce and tomato stacked neatly to the side. The patty is a short rib-heavy mix from butcher Pat LaFrieda which comes topped with oodles of Comte and whisky braised onions. But perhaps the most unique feature is the custom potato and onion bun from Balthazar Bakery. (Full review here.) $26, comes with fries.
Augustine 5 Beekman St, New York, NY 10038
The menu at Loring Place, Dan Kluger's triumphant return to NYC dining, includes a fantastic bacon cheeseburger. Kluger is grinding Niman Ranch beef in-house for his seven ounce griddled patty. The blend features short rib, brisket, and chuck that comes topped with vivace cheese from Cato Corners and two thick planks of bacon. The standard lettuce and tomato are buttressed by a pickled pepper & charred onion aioli, plus a house made special sauce, all stacked on a milk bun. $19, comes with fries.
Loring Place 21 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011
Patrick Connolly's Williamsburg restaurant Rider offers an off-the-menu burger. It features six ounces of beef from DeBragga set on a bed of cabbage mixed with Russian dressing and horseradish, which provides a creamy, tangy juxtaposition to the richness of the beef. The burger is topped with American cheese, dill-pickled onions, and, uniquely, toasted sesame seeds inside the burger, rather than on the bun itself. Despite the discordant look, it tastes not unlike a Big Mac. $18, comes with fries.
Rider 80 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Covina might be a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, but it also serves a dynamite cheeseburger. Born from chef Tim Cushman’s love of the California-style fast food burger, it features an American Wagyu patty topped with dashi pickles and American cheese on a custom bun from baker Deanie Hickox. The use of dashi does not change the familiar nature of the American cheeseburger, but does pump up the umami considerably. $21, comes with fries.
Covina 127 E 27th St, New York, NY 10016