Zip Burger (52nd Street) is somewhat in my neighborhood, so I finally went in to try it. I decided to get it to go and eat in the street, since the joint was crowded, and didn't seem comfy, anyway.
The staff don't seem too excited to be working there. It's the type of place where (which happened to me) they ask you a million times as you order if it's "to go" and then when they finally call your number and give you the food, they seem surprised you wanted it to go.
Order didn't take that long to cook, but while I waited they quickly made my Black & White milkshake. Worst part of the meal. I tossed it out after I left, unfinished. It's one of those abominations where no one told them to make it with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup, so you end up getting a watered-down half-chocolate ice cream/half-vanilla ice cream concotion. I understand when a seedy coffee shop doesn't know how to make a Black and White, but why this place? Yeech.
They also tout their homemade ice cream. But if it's so fresh and great, why don't they serve the ice cream alone instead of only in shakes? Hmmm.
I ordered the beef burger with raw onions, vermont cheddar, fancy-pants bacon and pickles -- no sauce. I'm a firm believer that the key to a great burger is proportion. The proportions on the toppings, even though I ordered a lot, were perfect. Just enough bun. The cheese was thick and well melted, not so the flavor was cooked out of it, and not so it was raw. Pickles were thick and tasty, not those anemic wasted-away pickles you find on many burgers. Bacon was very savory, just the right thickness, cooked so there was no fat, but not crispy so it shattered as you bit into it -- bacon al dente if you will.
The patty, which I ordered medium, was juicy, cooked fine without being greasy...but strangely tasteless. That sort of killed the burger for me. Great toppings and prep, but blah taste on the meat. It dripped a stain on my shoe that will last long past my memories of the place.
Belgian Fries were cooked okay. Nothing transcedent like you'll get on a good night at your favorite bistro. And past the crust, the potato interior was mealy. In my bag was a strange container of what seemed to be Marie's Italian Salad dressing laced with fresh dill. Sauce Fritte? Maybe. Didn't do anything for the fries.
As other people have mentioned, they charge for most of the extras on the burger. I don't mind paying money for anything good, but this seems like nickle-and-dime-ing to me. And $16 bucks for an okay burger and crummy shake -- I won't be going back.