New York is a place of hidden treasures. One such treasure – the simply named “Burger Joint” – is hidden behind a large velour curtain in the lobby of Le Parker Meridien hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The hotel itself gives no clue as to the existence of the Burger Joint but exist it does, and what a wonderful find it was.
We read about Burger Joint in a newspaper article by a Michelin-starred chef where he explained that, “The only way to find out about this place is if someone has told you.” Well…he told me and I’m telling you. Even knowing where it was, I still had to overcome a feeling of deep unease as I approached a large velvety curtain with no visible opening and with no signs indicating that I was going in the right direction. Fortunately, at the last moment, I was re-assured by someone walking out of a small opening to my left; that’s when I noticed a small neon burger sign at the end of a short, narrow and dark corridor.
Burger Joint has the best atmosphere of any of the places I’ve written about so far. In complete contrast to the hotel – which is plush, sparsly populated, and brightly lit – the Burger Joint is a hive of activity, dimly lit and feels like an arty cafe from a Woody Allen film. The wood-panelled and brick walls are covered in signatures from the restaurant’s customers over the years; some of the signatures belong to the establishment’s famous patrons: for example, Heidi Klum and erm…Martin Bashir. The customers are a cross-section of New York society and the service is extremely friendly and so stereotypically New York that you start to feel that you’re on a film set.
The food came unpretentiously packaged in grease-proof paper and tasted great. We ordered Classic Burgers, with everything on them, and one order of fries which was enough to satisfy two of us. It being a Friday night, we also ordered two pints of Samuel Adams – a great beer that is brewed in Boston. It is hard to separate the quality of the food from the atmosphere, but Burger Joint has won several awards – for those of you that require further reassurance.
Any visitor to New York should consider adding a visit to this eatery to their schedule, no matter how crowded; I loved it and would visit again on any future trips to the city.