185 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10023
In December of 2012 I was invited to be on a panel of expert Burger tasters by Underground Eats. The goal was to see if we could tell the different between a flat top griddled Burger and a char-grilled Burger. Both would be prepared using the same ingredients and toppings and the only difference would be the cooking method of the Patty. After eating, the panel would pick their favorite and it would become the permanent Burger on the menu on The Luncheonette in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, NY. The Chef was Andrew Zurica and the flat top griddle Burger won. It was one of the best Burgers in NYC.
In June of this year The Luncheonette in Mill Basin closed down mostly due to set backs caused by Hurricane Sandy. The Burger world suffered a great loss. Chef Andrew’s Burger was one of the most mathematically correct and as a result, delicious Burgers I’ve ever had.
Not to have it’s mourning in loss, Andrew is looking for ways to continue the legacy of the Burger. While you can hire him to come privately cook for your party or event, he is also putting together a series of pop-up Burger events where you too can taste his Burgeriffic skills. He recently invited the panel of Expert Burger Tasters to try out his first pop-up Burger night at Jalapeño. Jalapeño is a restaurant located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side offering a selection of authentic Mexican specialities.
The Burger crew gathered on the sidewalk patio, anxious to re-taste a bit of the magic we had all experienced in Mill Basin. Andrew was going to use this experience to try a “Mexicano” version of his Burger. The only constants would be the Bun and the Beef Patty as well as it’s preparation. Otherwise Andrew topped it Guacamole, stripped and fried Chorizo Sausage, Machego Cheese and sauteed Jalapeños. The Burger was just as I remembered it; great flavor from a perfect sear, fantastic use of course ground Black Pepper, juicy and bursting with an all natural Beef flavor. The chewy and soft Bun was fresh and sturdy enough to hold up the girth of this Sandwich while adding a nice hint of smokiness from being grilled. The Guac was fresh and creamy, the Chorizo was really tangy and the Cheese was melty and savory…all done in the right way.
The surprise here were the Jalapeños. Not only did they have a fantastic smoky flavor but they were hot, hotter than one would expect. That’s mostly due to the fact that most cooks don’t know how to use the natural oils of the Pepper to accentuate it’s heat and taste. Several of us were so into them that we asked Andrew if we could give us a plate of them. I popped them like the were Candy and damn they were good.
The final verdict: While The Luncheonette in Mill Basin in Brooklyn may be closed, the legendary Burger served there lives on with Chef Andrew Zurica. The Mexicano version of Andrew’s Burger was just as deliciously intriguing as the original.
THE BURGER COUNTQUEST
June 18, 2013 – 9:50 pm