I was in the mood for a good burger on Saturday and was reading through Jim's book and the entry on Donovan's in Woodside nearly jumped off the page. I've passed Donovan's dozens of time and never thought to stop in. Just looks like an old Irish bar like many in the neighborhood. Have to say Jim's right on the burger recommendation though. A tasty burger, for sure, if a bit too heavy on the oozing grease juice which knocks it back a couple of pegs in my book. The meat, however, was nice and loosely packed with a lot of flavor in each gristly nodule. He was right on the fried onion topping too. A perfect complement. The fries are another story. At Donovan's they serve up those trapezoid-shaped "dinner fries" which I loathe. There's no way to cook these things right. If they're undercooked, they're soggy as all hell. If overhooked, the grease tends to well up in the burnt outer layer and sit there. Blech. While Donovan's has a great burger on its own, not quite "New York's best !
cheeseburger" as Jim raves. That honor, for me, goes to the burgers at Big Nick's on the upper west side. Nick's patties have plenty of sweet grease but it's not oozing all out the side like at Donovan's. The charbroiling gives it a nice outdoor barbecue flavor and there's the barest hint of onion in each bite. But what seals the deal, for me, is the choice of port wine cheddar cheese as a topper. Big Nick's is the only place where I've seen this offered. The rich port wine flavor goes great with the blood red beef. Truly decadent in a cheesburger kind of way. Any other thoughts out there for the best cheeseburger in town?