Three Burger Contenders, Gourmet Division

Does it get any better, asks roze, than a hamburger fried in butter? This is how the burgers are done at Seymour Burton, a two-month-old hangout in the East Village, and naturally they rock. “I was in love,” roze sighs.

It isn’t just the butter, though; it’s also the well-formed patty (half chuck, half brisket), great salty char, raw onion, and Vermont white cheddar, and the extra-large English muffin it’s made with, an unorthodox choice that works beautifully. Call it the nook-and-cranny advantage: “Loved the way the muffin absorbed all the juicy greasy drippings of the burger and took on a great texture on each bite,” poutinelover observes.

Up near Penn Station, the old New Yorker Hotel has gotten a makeover, and one of the changes is a new restaurant and bar called Cooper’s Tavern. Open since November, it serves steaks, chops, and other solid American chow, including an upscale hamburger aptly dubbed the Skyscraper.

This is a strapping 12-ouncer that comes with bacon, smoked Gouda, crispy onion, tomato, grilled portobello mushroom, and (as the menu archly notes) a knife and fork. It gets a thumbs-up from doona, who pronounces it huge, tasty, and—thanks to all those extra ingredients—uncommonly varied in texture.

Shorty’s.32 dresses its burger with fewer and more conventional toppings—red onion, nice house-made pickles, maybe a slice of blue cheese—so hounds have focused on the meat. And the meat is terrific, a half-pound of sirloin mixed with ground short rib: “substantial, juicy, plenty of flavor,” reports Scotty100.

Word has gotten out. Early on a recent Saturday evening, Scotty surveyed the crowded dining room and saw a sea of hamburger eaters, then overheard a waiter telling an unlucky party that the burgers had sold out—“all gone within 40 minutes of opening!!”

Seymour Burton (formerly Le Tableau) [East Village]
511 E. Fifth Street (near Avenue A), Manhattan
212-260-1333

Cooper’s Tavern [Midtown West]
In the New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Avenue (between W. 34th and 35th streets), Manhattan
212-268-8460

Shorty’s.32 [SoHo]
199 Prince Street (near Sullivan Street), Manhattan
212-375-8275

Board Links: Does it Get Better than a Burger Fried in Butter- a Seymour Burton Review
Best Restaurant Within (Reasonable) Walking Distance of MSG for Early Dinner?
Belcourt, Back Forty of Shorty’s 32?
Shorty’s .32

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