Gramercy Tavern, Rounds 2 and 3 – Burgers, Burgers for Everybody

The one thing that I didn’t get the first go-around in the tasting menu at Gramercy Tavern was the infamous burger, which is only available in the Tavern.

Gourmet burgers, the ultimate high-brow/low-brow question mark at so many restaurants in the city, have been having their moment for a while – and as much as I hate being a sucker for food media-driven trendspotting, when it comes to burgers, I’m still a sucker for a good one.  Let’s be honest, I’ll always be a sucker for a good burger.  And sometimes, even if you’re at a fine-ass restaurant, you want a burger.  This is one of those burgers that won’t make you regret ordering one.

off-menu-burger-gramercy-tavern-new-yorkI mean, for the love of God, just look at that.  A lot of housemade details: condiments, brioche-y bun, potato chips, pickled chilis, cured bacon.  These things, plus a lava flow of funky white cheddar.

Most importantly, you can really taste the beef, the grind and the juices.  The patty does not break into chunks.  The bun holds its weight against the grease drip and the heft of the meat.  I guess I’m not really surprised, but nevertheless it’s a damn delicious piece of culinary engineering.

Power lunch Wednesday, pt3: this medium-rare bad boy @gramercytavern #latergram #eeeeeats

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Some stupid-delicious blend of beef cuts (a base of chuck, plus brisket and short rib).  That’s a good mix, flavorful, still a little bloody, beefy/funky, fatty, done medium-rare.

House of Haos Gramercy Tavern Burger 2 New York

Gramercy Tavern (menu)
42 E 20th St, New York, NY
(212) 477-0777

Modern Lunch – Untitled at the Whitney, NYC

Untitled (Google Maps) sits on the ground floor of the new Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art, a glass temple to vegetable-driven cooking that’s increasingly caught on in New York.  All that smack dab in the middle of the human crush of glorified day drinking, family outings, and tourist throngs curious about the High Line that is the Meatpacking District.  Food aside, it’s simply a gorgeous place to take it all in.

House of Haos Untitled Whitney Meatpacking NYC Passe 2 House of Haos Untitled Whitney Meatpacking NYC Bar
Space in New York, in almost any capacity, feels like an extreme luxury, so to see Untitled’s soaring ceilings and uninhibited glass enclosure is like walking into the foyer of an unexpectedly wealthy friend and thinking daaaaaaayum.  Good on ya, Danny Meyer.

Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern’s head impresario, oversees the kitchen.  Union Square Hospitality Group is behind the venture, as well as the upstairs cafe.

The food is meant to share, portions relatively small, the plating bordering on minimalist, the flavors a dance of sharp and broad and muted.  There’s spice but only barely (the chili in the leeks), there’s an earthy chlorophyllic sweetness on full blast (the kale & sugar snap peas in the fried & roast chicken salad), there’s rich crab umami in the crispy croquettes, smeared with aioli.

House of Haos Untitled Whitney Meatpacking NYC Charred Leeks Chili OrangeHouse of Haos Untitled Whitney Meatpacking NYC Fried Chicken Salad Snap Peas Kale Continue reading

Pork Pork Pork – Lunch at Cochon, New Orleans

God bless the humble pig, and all the amazing things that come from it.  House of Haos Cochon New Orleans Menu (These are just fresh house rolls with soft, whipped butter – I don’t think there’s pork in these, but I wouldn’t be surprised, I guess).House of Haos Cochon New Orleans Fresh Rolls Butter I think the shrimp did have some pork in it (a deeply smoked bacon in the broth), and some scallions to liven it up.House of Haos Cochon New Orleans Gulf Shrimp These sticky, saucy ribs, with minty watermelon relish, had a nice balance of fleshiness, fat, and tenderness.House of Haos Cochon New Orleans Smoked Ribs Head cheese, chunky and unctuous, gelatinous, umami-rific.  The pickles and the mustard helped provide some counterbalance, if you want it.House of Haos Cochon New Orleans Head Cheese Continue reading

Dinner at Peter Luger – Williamsburg, NYC

There’s not much to say about the iconic steakhouse that does some of the best dry-aged butter-drenched porterhouse steaks known to man.  It’s a historic place, dating back in various incarnations to 1887, with a fanatically loyal customer base and a famous secret dry-age technique, a mecca of all things beef.House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Onion rolls.  Everything in Peter Luger smells in a marvelously stinky, savory way.House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Bread Bacon, smoky and charred and meaty.House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Bacon House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Shrimp Cocktail Steak for four, baby.House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Steak There are no words.  Just tender beef goodness, the spectrum of dark burn to pink to ribbon’d fat and back, with a sheen of seasoned grease.  The dry aging is something special, imbuing the rich, succulent steak with a beefy tang, the glorious aftertaste of climate-controlled decay.House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Steak 3 House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Steak 2 A side of German fried potatoes.House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Potatoes And for dessert, the Holy Cow hot fudge sundae, with a mound of whipped schlag (cream), sturdy and sweet.House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Sundae 1 House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Sundae 2 And this amazing slice of cheesecake.  Creamy and dense and more funky and sour than anything you’ll get out of a frozen Sara Lee box.House of Haos Peter Luger Steakhouse Brooklyn NYC Cheesecake As a side note, despite our somewhat brusque (brusque-friendly?) experience with the reservation line (but nothing less than professional), we didn’t have a wait to be seated, which I hear can be hit-or-miss, even if you arrive with full party and on time.  So everything worked out great.  The leftover steak made for fantastic steak and eggs in the morning.  God bless America.

Peter Luger (website) – cash only
178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Google maps

Peter Luger Steak House on Urbanspoon

Farewell LA Food Tour – Huckleberry

Huckleberry does damn good stuff with an oven, from croissants to cornmeal cakes to muffins to biscuits.  It also happens to be a fun place to eat, even when there is a long weekend brunch line out of the back of the bakery.  The wait is never quite as long as you’d expect, and the street-facing windows let in so much of the Santa Monica sun that sometimes you almost forget to ogle the cute girls in yoga pants picking out pastries.  Almost. Continue reading