The Burger Shoppe – Bar Room Burger

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.

The Burger Shoppe, NYC

Wall Street can use a bargain lunch these days.The Burger Shoppe– which is infamous for its $175 Kobe beef burger topped with truffles, foie gras and the lamentations of the downtrodden- also serves a bargain lunch, at least by New York standards. For $4.50 you can get their Shoppe burger, a cheese burger with their house sauce and lettuce. I opted for some dressed-up versions and a mix of fries and onion rings.
They have some excellent microbrews on tap, including Sixpoint Righteous Rye. I had one with my burgers, and enjoyed the old world feel of the aged bar room upstairs. Downstairs is a chrome counter top with stools, recalling lunch counter days, but I wanted to try their Bar Room Burger– $18 worth of beef topped with aged Gruyere and braised pork belly- so I headed up the creaky steps to the darkened bar room, and grabbed a round table for myself.

Well, unfortunately they only serve that burger during dinner hours, so I grabbed a Kahuna burger (muenster, avocado, bacon) and a Becky (aged cheddar, pickles, ketchup). Their All-Day Menu has some other choices, like the timely Sub-Prime Meltdown (swiss, mushrooms, onions) a Crispy Shrimp burger, a chicken burger, and a portobello mushroom burger for you veggie types. The burgers are pretty good, good taste and not too big. Two is an easy meal. Their fries and rings are tops, good flavor and crispy, not greasy. The toppings seemed to overwhelm the beef flavor, so next time I’ll make sure to try a Shoppe burger alone. As it stands, they’re hovering around Five Guys Burgers & Fries in my rankings, but I assume their Bar burger will be in higher territory.
But the place is about atmosphere. I love an old bar room, and the aged wood scarred from years of stockbroker elbows leaning heavily upon them, gives the place that old New York feel you get in other classics like Chumley’s. And their beer selection lives up to the image. If you’re way downtown and want a burger, but not Bourdain’s $15 jobber (worth every penny) at Les Halles, grab a stool or a table at The Burger Shoppe. And if you shorted the market, buy the $175 Kobe/truffle/foie gras one. But if your portfolio puts a tear in your beer, you can still grab a tasty bite here.

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