As I don't eat a lot of burgers and don't live or work in midtown, I'd never before been to "Burger Joint (off the lobby of the Parker Meridian" hotel on 56th betwn. 6th & 7th). Saturday night, though, three of us got the "burger crave" and, surprised that it was open (we'd always assumed it was "weekday lunch only"), we hopped on a bus and went down there.
1) A good, honest burger; nice-sized, on a nicely-toasted and not too thick roll, cooked exactly as requested each time (and each of us each had two of them), and a great value at $5. However, the meat-- while nice and moist-- perhaps could've used a bit more flavoring.
2) The fries were medicocre.
3) The chocolate shake tasted like something from McDonald's (not terrible, just "made-from-mix"-like), but the vanilla shake was delicious and, in fact, tasted like real ice cream.
4) The guy working the register was very nice and friendly.
5) On a Saturday night at 8PM (when we were there), the place was almost empty. We grabbed a wooden booth and felt as if we were taken back 20 years to a friendly, comfortable "college hangout" kind of place. (Well, it was 20 years ago for a couple of us, and just 10 years ago for the more-youthful member of our party, but once you're over 30 it all starts blending together anyway, right?) The "register guy" said that we were there at a good time because during midday lunches, the line is out the door.
Conclusion: I may be a bit "late to the party" here, but I wholeheartedly concur with all of last year's talk that this is definitely one of Manhattan's great bargains. (I'd call it an "unsung hero", but the lunchtime crowds would indicate that it's far from "unsung".)