New York’s burger renaissance is into its second wave. Revival has turned to refinement. Toppings are more creative. Buns are better. Rooms are glossy enough you can take a date without shame. The beef is better quality, too, and it’s only the beginning. Everything from elk to ostrich to salmon now finds its way into patties. Smokey Burger Organic and Root Hill Burger are New York’s newest outposts for ground glory.
Smokey Burger Organic’s off-avenue notch is as rustic as a cabin. Wood covers pretty much every surface, with textured planks on the walls and slabs for tables. Votive candles make the place date-friendly, on a side street close to the theater district. As the name signals, the approach here is all-natural. No hormones, no pesticides, no antibiotics. The menu cuts a swath through proteins, with bison, crab, elk, and even ostrich in the mix. The menu works up the combinations for you, leaning on creative touches like caramelized apples with lamb or mango salsa with salmon. The classic beef in the Cabana burger is substantial, played off against tangy pickles, a crisp layer of turkey-ham, and a rich topping of egg and Swiss. Rough-cut fries on the side are served in mini metal baskets, with sweet chili-inflected Smokey sauce augmenting ketchup.
Gourmet burgers can also be found in Park Slope, with Root Hill Burger providing a Fourth Avenue rebuttal to BareBurger. The interior here is like a Nordic canteen, with communal tables and a stripped-down design. A back patio provides a lot more space when the weather cooperates. Beer and wine add date potential. Patty options run from mushroom to turkey to lamb to sausage. The combos are smart, like the diabolically tasty gorgonzola that tops a classic, lightly crusted beef. Fresh salads, natural-cut fries, and cane-sugar Kola instead of Coke keep with a healthy bent.
Note that these new patty bastions are also pioneering another trend: the $25 burger-and-fries lunch.
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