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Nothing Wimpy About Them

Our critics pick the town’s finest hamburgers—high, medium, and low.


  • High

  • The Waverly Inn

    16 Bank St.; 212-243-7900

    The $13 Waverly Burger is surprisingly good and further enlivened by the view, at the next table, of the back of Gwyneth Paltrow’s head.

  • Medium

  • BLT Burger

    470 Sixth Ave.; 212-243-8226

    A tasty if unorthodox burger, BLT’s $10 merguez-lamb patty (above) is juicy and spicy, and served with a cooling layer of cucumber.

  • Low

  • Shake Shack

    Madison Square Park; 212-889-6600

    The $4.38 Shack Burger is still hard to beat, even if you have to stand in line for sixteen hours to get a bite.


  • High

  • Blue Smoke

    116 E. 27th St.; 212-447-7733

    A borderline bourgeois burger with bar-burger soul, Blue Smoke’s $11.50 patty is served on a brioche bun, but you can get it with American cheese and house-made bacon.

  • Medium

  • The Stoned Crow

    85 Washington Pl.; 212-677-4022

    A spartan thing of beauty, nicely charred under the broiler and delivered to your table on a paper plate for $6. Eat it in the back by the pool table, and watch out for errant backswings lest you get bopped in the nose.

  • Low

  • Shake Shack

    Among its many praiseworthy attributes is its perfect proportions: The Gisele Bündchen of hamburgers, it has the ideal ratio of beef to bun.


  • High

  • Nicole’s

    10 E. 60th St.; 212-223-2288

    Nicole’s lamb burger is a loosely knit, just-lamby-enough $19 patty slathered with fresh goat cheese on a toasted brioche bun, served with cumin-seeded tomato-raisin relish and fat, fabulous chickpea fries.

  • Medium

  • Prune

    54 E. 1st St.; 212-677-6221

    Eighty percent beef, 20 percent lamb, the Prune burger (lunch only; $12) is ridiculously drippy and perfectly scaled to its toasted Thomas’ English muffin.

  • Low

  • P.J. Clarke’s

    915 Third Ave.; 212-317-1616

    Some things never change. Luckily, P. J. Clarke’s bacon cheeseburger ($9.70) is one of them.


  • High

  • Brooklyn Diner

    212 W. 57th St.; 212-581-8900

    Forget foie gras. Brooklyn Diner’s $14.95 plump napkin ripper with melted Cheddar, crisp bacon, fries and fried onion rings and a Gus’s pickle? That’s about as haute as I want my burger to go.

  • Medium

  • Fairway Café

    2127 Broadway; 212-595-1888

    Fairway goes white tablecloth at dinnertime, pricing its juicy and gently molded burger, with a choice of two add-ons, at $12. But that’s with remarkable fries, a ruffle of mesclun, and a bit of slaw.

  • Low

  • White Castle

    351 E. 103rd St.; 212-876-6737

    One bite of White Castle’s 53-cent slider—a two-by-two square of proletarian meat with a pickle round in a square bun—brings back childhood memories of buying them by the greasy brown bagful.

From the 2007 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine