Real Girl Lifestyle

When the burger bandwagon is this friggin’ good, you’ve got to hitch a ride

Posted on: August 15, 2010

Real Girl will not be nearly the first to talk about what many have christened the “best burger in NYC.” The Minetta Tavern has become known for its two burgers, although really the regular Minetta burger is overshadowed by its beauty queen sister, the decadent Black Label. A shame for the delightful regular. She’s pretty and charming, and she only wears designer cheese. But her sister’s a stone cold knock-out. The Black Label doesn’t just turn heads–it captivates them.

I owe my trip to Minetta Tavern to the Blogfather, who had been preaching the merits of its burgers for weeks before we got there. He did not oversell their tender virtues. I let him order, both the regular and the Black Label for us to share, and he advised “it has to be medium rare.” I did not argue. I bit into the regular burger first, and I literally exhaled “oh my God” at first bite. How could the Black Label be better than this? Steak-quality meat, exquisite cheese, spongy, shiny Balthazar bun, that perfect fried tang of recently sizzling, premium meat.

But after my first bite of the Black Label, I knew there was no going back. This burger drips onto your tongue, like falling silk. She will seduce you, and oh, it’ll be good.

The Black Label burger is remarkably juicy, but “juicy” is too mundane an adjective for her. Plenty of burgers are juicy–The Black Label is, as A Hamburger Today called it in their excellent “Secrets of Minetta Tavern’s Black Label Burger” profile, “simply ethereal” and “succulent.” Picture meat as velvet–smooth and soft to the palette, luxe and sensually decadent. The Blogfather’s insistence that we order medium rare was spot on. The airy, velvety burger flushed a beautiful pink, more sexy than coy. This flavor does not wink coquettishly–it melts on the tongue, expanding on the palette like the notes of a fine wine. First there’s the buttery richness, robust yet not overwhelming, somehow both sweet and gently sharp at once. You experience the tang of caramelized onion, the mingled flavors and textures of the aged meat blend, the firm but giving, noble countenance of the bun. No flavor overpowers another; somehow the vast number of ingredients and textures that make up the Black Label Burger have combined to form ecclesiastical harmony.

In truth, the Minetta Black Label is an utterly sensory experience. You don’t go to Minetta to “grab a burger.” It grabs you. Leave the ketchup and mustard on the side, abandon the cheese however good it may be, and close your eyes. Now this is purity.

Make sure you have it at least once in your life. You’ll always remember your first time.


1 Response to "When the burger bandwagon is this friggin’ good, you’ve got to hitch a ride"

what a well-written and engaging review! and i totally WANT a minestta tavern black label burger this minute!

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