Brindle room has one of the best burgers in New York City. I did not make that declaration, and it can be easily cross referenced with countless online articles. The crown for the most delicious burger (even just for the throne in NYC) is always up for debate, and the list of contenders is longer than a mile. There is the quiet J.G. Melon; and the hidden Burger Joint; or the freaking expensive but totally worthy Black Label at Minerva Tavern; How about the everyday champion Shake Shacker?; Maybe all the way from the outside, the cheeseburger from one star Michelin steak house Peter Luger’s? So many choices, and Brindle room is just another one to add to this list.
I had painted Brindle room as a long past down traditions of New York City – the name itself invokes the feeling of a speakeasy, tuck away in some dark and dingy corner of town, where people wore top hats or dress in gloomy colors, and dine quietly among the few selected. That thought was throw right out of the window when we arrived. A narrow corridor with tables on both sides stood behind the front desk leading straight to the kitchen. There were at most 20 seats – this was going to be a cozy experience. We tried to reserve seating for 3 people, but the online booking system would only spit out horrible times. That was a no go, so we decided to gamble by arriving just as they opened, and sure enough, the bar area had enough space for us. Throughout the meal, the restaurant was never packed and always had tables. I have a feeling that they did not put all their seating up for reservations online.
I knew what I wanted. Of course, it was going to be the Sebastian’s Steakhouse Burger that comes with caramelized onion, pickle and fries. Even so, I looked forward to other offerings, but found little else. We arrived on a Sunday brunch menu, so there were breakfast items such as make-your-own-hash-browns, biscuits, french toast and granola. Besides that, there were a few more weird items like frittata, kale salad, grits, shakshuka, and that was it. The only thing that looked somewhat tempting were the donuts, but we didn’t get any. All of us defaulted to the burger. Nobody else in the restaurant seemed to get the memo and ordered literally off the menu, even though this tiny restaurant was known for the burger.
The burger is pretty average sized, with a slice of very pretty melted American cheese as a blanket for the charred patty. Both buns were toasted, and a small sliver of sauteed onion was laid between that. I inserted the pickles and got the first bite. The bun, being toasted on the stove top, soaked in a lot of the oil when the chef cooked the patty – that prevented the buns from acting as a sponge for the meat essence from the patty itself. As a result, the burger was unnecessarily greasy, and a bit disgusting (I was literally drinking oil). With that said, it was still a tasty bun though. I couldn’t taste either the cheese or the onion as it was overshadowed by the oil and the delicious meat patty. The patty was cooked gently, and has the same texture as raw ground beef, even though it was cooked through. I did not understand why, and suspected that it has something to do with the cut used, the deckle. The burger melts immediately in my mouth, but I was not enjoying the after taste of fat in the bun, and the patty flavor just wasn’t strong enough to overcome the taste of the oil.
All in all, we (Michael&Isabel, and me) enjoyed the burger. It was a substantial burger, and there were no frills to it. This, however, is not on the same playing field as many other top contender burgers, such as the Black Label I had last year. Considering that this is close to $20 (used to be $12!), and probably really hard to get a seat at the tiny restaurant, I probably would not be going back. What ticked me off the most wasn’t the burger, but being a gastropub, their beer selection was pathetic. The very short list were all not bad, but neither were they any good, stocking with just a few beers that could be found at most restaurants that served more than Bud Lite. Is it that hard to get these things right?
Address: 277 E 10th St, New York City. (East Village)
Visited: May 28th, 2017 at 1130am for lunch.