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

A post shared by Hao Wang (@houseofhaos) on

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

Tapas in San Sebastian: A Fuego Negro

After Paris, we headed to San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque region, locally known as Donostia.  This seaside town is a summertime haven, and in 2011 I visited just after the high season, and immediately fell in love with the surroundings.  That was a very hurried stay, with barely two days in the area, but I managed to visit both Mugaritz and Arzak.  The stupendous arc of the boardwalk around La Concha, the main beach that circles shell-like west to east towards La Parte Vieja (Old Town).  Where last time I barely spent any time in this mysteriously vibrant and cozy corner of the city, which houses some of the world’s best tapas bars.  This visit, I spent my time exclusively here.

The first place we stopped in was the boldly inventive A Fuego Negro, a visually rambunctious bar serving irreverent dishes, whose names are scrawled across a menu board behind the bar in their Basque spellings – lots of x’s and k’s.

A café con leche.House of Haos A Fuego Negro Tapas St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Cafe Con Leche Makcobe burger with “txips” – a mini wagyu burger with ketchup-infused sesame bun, fried banana chips.  Intensely beefy, lightly ketchup-y.House of Haos A Fuego Negro Tapas St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Makobe Burger Txips House of Haos A Fuego Negro Tapas St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Makobe BurgerKit de pikoteo: tuna, piparras (Basque peppers), and thinly-sliced onions.  This was Myra’s favorite here (we ordered it twice) – everything was immensely bright in their freshness, the tuna flaky and meaty, the peppers and onions adding unique undertones of acidity and heat.House of Haos A Fuego Negro Tapas St Sebastian Basque Country Spain Bonito Peppers Onions
Continue reading