Blog: Battle of the Burger 2015
Amid an evening rife with both humidity and swirling winds, the thick air was filled with the rich, smoky scent of piping hot grills down at the South Street Seaport on Wednesday evening. Thousands of New Yorkers would be welcomed to the Financial District by some twenty different restaurants, each vying to be crowned champion of Time Out New York’s 2015 “Battle of the Burger.” A cavalcade of hungry guests filed into the open-air setting over the course of two sold out- and jam packed sessions, highlighted by some savory fare, unlimited pours of ice cold Amstel Light draughts and one very special celebrity guest, making a surprise appearance at the festivities.
Guests arriving to the affair after 6pm were likely greeted by a state of utter confusion as a preponderance of television cameras and production assistants began drawing crowds of people to one side of the event space. Behind a loudly blowing whistle stood the familiar face of Marcus Lemonis, otherwise known as CNBC’s “The Profit,” a financial savior of sorts who invests in small but fledgling businesses in the hopes of rejuvenating them. Earlier this season, Lemonis traveled out to Staten Island, inspired by the frayed relationship of business partners that had turned sour, behind a restaurant concept called Standard Burger. His recent investment had re-energized the business and alleviated the strained relationships and on Wednesday night, Lemonis and the Standard team were front and center with one sole purpose in mind: winning the “Battle of the Burger.” Though the team’s bacon-laden concoction “The Texan” would be judged as the evening’s finest creation- through no shortage of celebrity help- there were a multitude of different highlights cooked up by the remaining nineteen combatants.
Returning to defend their crown was 2014 “Battle of the Burger” winner Jeepney and the Filipino Gastropub didn’t disappoint with “The Chori Burger,” an eight ounce beef patty paired with grilled pork sausage and an assortment of pickled vegetables. Flatiron sports bar The Ainsworth meanwhile, concocted a “Mac and Cheese Burger” with a thick layered patty of comfort food topping a seasoned smattering of beef. Guests also would swoon over more traditional offerings like J.G. Melon’s iconic “Classic Slider” and The Gander’s “Dry-Aged Cheeseburger,” served only until 5pm at the restaurant- and which was one of the evening’s most sought after samples.
For our money though, Cobble Hill’s Emily was the hands down winner based solely on taste. “The Emmy” has received quite a bit of buzz in recent months. And with good reason as the all-natural beef patty was adorned with a beautiful yellow Grafton cheddar and sautéed onion inside of a pillow-like pretzel bun. The restaurant’s tangy Emmy sauce was the standout addition though, enhancing the already mouthwatering nature of the succulent and seasoned burger. If Emily was the LocalBozo choice, runner-up status belongs bestowed upon Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer. Their sizable “Kobe Beef Burger” was topped with a tasty balance of fresh arugula, blue cheese and a creamy buttermilk dill dressing. Served between traditional halves of a fluffy hamburger bun, the piping hot beer mixture and chilled accoutrements proved to work together admirably as we licked the remaining condiments from our now shiny fingers.
As the evening progressed, moving around the space proved challenging at times- New York City is clearly fanatical about their burgers. But pockets of space would be pivotal to the enjoyment of the festivities as attendees grabbed pours of Amstel Light two at a time, in the hopes of washing down some of the evening’s heartier offerings. Participants like Barkogi, American Cut, 21 Club and Peter McManus Café each produced dishes deemed in-the-running for best in show- but in the end it was The Profit who would have the last laugh. Judging by the attendance for a five plus hours of burger consumption on Wednesday evening, maybe Marcus Lemonis is on to something after all.
- Dave Gendelson
Food Highlights from Time Out New York’s ‘Battle of the 2015′
The Ainsworth: “Mac and Cheese Burger“
Bill’s Bar & Burger: “Mini B Bacon Cheddar Sliders“
Twist & Smash’d: “Lobster Mac & Cheese Smash’d” & “Chicken Chipotle Smash’d”
Emily: “Emmy Burger”
The Gander: “Gander Dry-Aged Cheeseburger”
Genuine Roadside & Superette: “Spicy Smoke House”
Eats on Lex: “Dry-Aged Steak Burger”
Dram Shop: “‘Roadhouse – Featuring Patrick Swayze Burger”
Donovan’s Pub: “The Jack!”
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer: “Black Tap Kobe Beef Burger”
Barkogi: “Short-Rib Bulgogi Burger”
American Cut: “In House Burger”
21 Club: “21 Burger”
J.G. Melon: “J.G. Melon’s Classic Slider”
Open Door Gastropub: “Open Door Angus Burger”
Peter McManus Cafe: “The McManus Chelsea Burger”
Standard Burger: “The Texan”
Trading Post: “Trading Post Black Angus Burger”
Van Diemens: “Van Diemens Burger”
Jeepney: “Chori Burger”