A few weeks ago I braved the cold and snow for a burger during lunch downtown in the financial district. The Burger Shoppe is where bankers go for a bargain bite on Stone Street, when they want something tastier than the Subway next door. I reviewed their Recession Special– 2 burgers, fries and a drink for $15- here in November, but I wanted to try their more decadent Bar Room Burger, which comes with braised pork belly, aged gruyere, sauteed mushrooms and onions, and both fries and onion rings. It’s $18, and even more filling than the Special. So if you have a few more bucks to spare, you might want to give it a shot.
First of all, the patty is heftier and beefy; while it doesn’t compare to 5 Napkin or Bourdain, it is up there. The bun is a bit plain sesame seed deal when a ciabatta or sourdough with some flavor would improve things greatly. The toppings really save this though- the braised pork belly, while a bit scarce, is incredibly tasty. It’s essentially an uncured rasher of thick bacon, loaded with flavor (aka pork fat). The gruyere is sharp and isn’t drowned out, the mushrooms tasted like black trumpet and cremini, but could just be well-caramelized caps. The fries are excellent as usual, and the rings are thin and crisp, not over battered. You also get a tasty salad of greens and grape tomatoes to help your intestinal tract move this right along. Overall, it’s a very tasty meal, and one of the city’s better burgers if not the best.
I still don’t have the scratch to try their $175 Richard Nouveau burger with shaved black truffles, aged gruyere, and foie gras atop a Kobe beef patty. I’m not sure I ever will, either. If I ever want to blow the cash on it, you’ll read about it here.