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The Most Controversial Burger in Brooklyn

A sweet burger has some customers feeling sour

A burger sits on a brioche bun on a plate at an outdoor table.
One person compared it to meatloaf.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Bar Americano isn’t one of the city’s known burger destinations. Outside of Brooklyn, it’s not really known at all.

The bar opened in September on a quiet corner of Greenpoint. Its four owners — Conor Hynes, David Clarke, Steve Kämmerer, and Vincent Iborra — wanted to bring a bar to the area with vermouth, sherries, and other spirits imported from Italy and Spain. Food was part of the draw: Their short menu revolves around meats and cheeses, similar to an aperitivo bar in those countries, and since this is Brooklyn, not Barcelona, they added a burger.

It’s either the best or the worst in New York City, depending on who you ask.

The burger is thick, weighing in at 165 grams, and made from a dry-aged blend of brisket, chuck, and short rib with a splash of sherry. It’s plated on a glistening toasted brioche bun with gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and a controversial house sauce. Price: $23.

It’s caused a stir among burger devotees in the area over its decadent ingredients and unusually sweet flavor.

A burger dripping with white cheese and caramelized onions sits on a plate next to three half-slices of pickle.
The controversial burger.
Luke Fortney/Eater NY

Fans say the burger is the start of a thick-patty redemption arc after a wave of smash burger spots eclipsed their popularity. “It made me believe in gruyere on burgers again,” says Rachel Brody, a Park Slope resident who tried the burger for the first time this month.

A colleague, who ordered the burger shortly after Bar Americano opened, said it was “too sweet” and compared it to meatloaf. A bartender at a competing establishment in the neighborhood called it a thought experiment gone wrong. “It’s way too complicated,” they say. “A bar burger is supposed to be simple. It sucks.”

From the very beginning, people complained about the burger’s taste and texture, according to Iborra, a partner at the bar and the burger’s inventor: “People said, ‘This is not good. This is too rubbery.’”

The sauce is what’s so polarizing: It’s the color of tangerines — and about as sweet as them — made from a combination of ketchup, mustard, and maple syrup.

For Daniel Kutch, who lives in Bed-Stuy, that’s not a bad thing. “I don’t mind a sweeter sauce,” he says. The taste is familiar, as he grew up eating burgers slathered in Thousand Island dressing from In-N-Out. “It’s pretty good,” he says.

The burger has become a staple for Sarah McLellan Mee, a neighbor of the bar who calls it her “top burger in the city right now” — although she’s only ever eaten it after full meals at other restaurants in the neighborhood.

Why? “It’s a dessert burger,” she says.