A lengthy piece about the search for the perfect burger in New York misses one essential point (the perfect burger really needs to be made within a few miles of a stockyards, which is why my hometown of Wichita still has such high standards but Chicago has allowed its to slip) but does arrive at a conclusion which will seem familiar to folks here:
"And how much meat? As with bagels before them, many New York burgers have fallen prey to a sort of elephantiasis that has left many bagels, at least, looking like spare tires... Smaller, thinner burgers are more likely to achieve the right ratios of bun to meat to condiment to toppings, which can result in the winsome confluence of flavors and texture that defines the perfect burger."
Yes, we call those 30s style round here, and Bill's is an excellent example. A real 30s style burger could be 10 to the pound, the meat merely one instrument in a paper-wrapped symphony of half-melted cheese, piping hot onions, pickle and mustard on a warmed bun (either thrown on the grill or simply allowed to steam itself inside the paper wrapper). But such artistic restraint is scarcely to be found these days; the NYT reporter admits that even quarter pounders are becoming rarer.
Of such monstrosities as truffle-stuffed burger patties for $41, we shall not speak (except to grandfather in the chopped onions found inside a few authentic German burgers, such as Mirabell's).