- Washington Park
24 Fifth Avenue, 212-529-4400
A white-tablecloth burger with a paper-plate soul. No truffle tricks. No Kobe quackery. No “Page Six” placements. Just twelve screw-the-proper-burger-to-bun-ratio ounces of freshly ground, juicy-as-hell chuck, a grill-toasted brioche bun, seasonal garnish, and, in a rare instance of burger-plate-deluxe synchronicity, the city’s best fries.
Best Classic Burgers
Go ahead, fork over $50 for a truffle-studded burger if that’s what you want. but for a classic, try these.
- Blue Smoke
116 East 27th Street, 212-447-7733
If the most important step toward burger greatness is handling the beef gingerly and as little as possible, then they must treat the stuff like nitro here. Order it with house-cured bacon and cheese, and demand extra pickles.
- Burger Joint
Le Parker Meridien Hotel, 118 West 57th Street, 212-245-5000
The bun is by Arnold’s, the cheese is Cheddar, the ketchup courtesy of Heinz, and, in a wildly extravagant gesture to draw the occasional stray gourmet, the mustard is Grey Poupon. But that’s as fancy as this defiantly downscale burger gets.
- P.J. Clarke's
915 Third Avenue, at 55th Street, 212-317-1616
They did a great job restoring the old gin mill, and, unlike our cleaning lady, they put every single knickknack back where it belongs. Happily, the burgers in all their former char-grilled glory are back, too.
From the 2003 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).