One of my favorite all-time burgers had been served by a place called VG Bar and Grill, on the northwest corner of Bleecker and Broadway. Since they closed up shop (I can never remember the name of the restaurant that now holds the space), it's been tough finding something that lives up to my conception of a great burger.
I'll save the trash-talking for another time, but a lot of the top recommendations I'd pulled from these boards didn't really come close (and yes, the one you're thinking of right now was the first one I tried). But, last night, Fanelli's really hit the mark.
I apparently got there just as the kitchen was closing -- when I asked the bartender (really nice guy) if I could get food, he pretty much ran at full speed over to his computer and shot my order in. Taking my sweet time, I was halfway through a Guinness when my burger showed up.
Very obviously formed by hand, the patty was maybe about four inches across, extremely tasty, and THICK. Thick enough to allow the outside to pick up that all-important char from the grill, while still leaving the inside medium-rare and very juicy. It was served on a soft onion roll, the flavor of which really added to the experience. Slice of cheddar on each side. The fries were plentiful, crispy, and cooked well done, just as I always hope they will be. On the side was a large, fantastically-garlicky pickle spear.
That burger and two Guinnesses (Guinni?), and I was about as content as I've ever been after a meal. If you've done the burger hunt, and haven't hit Fanelli's yet, you should.