Burger Brunch at Zaitzeff – NYC
1/4 LB Sirloin Burger @ Zaitzeff
Do you have bizarre cravings when you’re sick? I do. As I mentioned in my Bo Ky post two weeks ago, while I was sick I had an unrelenting desire to eat a Burger King Whopper. Burger cravings aren’t so odd for most people, but for me it is, because in general, I’m never burger crazy. The prospect of a new UWS Shake Shack is pretty meaningless to me (Danny who?). Sure, burgers are tasty, but in terms of fast food, I rather eat a hot dog, or better yet, a slice of pizza any day. So this is why I found it surprising two weeks ago when thoughts of juicy burgers bombarded my every drug addled thought, and rather than resist, that following Saturday, I decided to give in.
Zaitzeff first opened in the Financial District, and after much success, recently opened a location in Alphabet City. I passed by the Avenue B spot pretty often, never tempted to go in, but with my burger craving go strong and a post on A Hamurger Today titled “Zaitzeff: The Best Damn Burger I’ve Had in a Long Time,” I had to go.
As soon as David and I rounded the corner to Avenue B from Houston, I could smell the fatty beefy goodness in the air. Once inside, the heavy scent of burgers surrounded us, teasing us as we eagerly awaited our burgers. I think the kitchen wasn’t quite ready when we got there because the wait was pretty long, but finally our orders came out and we dug in.
I got the 1/4 lb. Sirloin Buger ($9.50), medium-rare, and it was incredibly juicy, soft, and ultimately delicious. The sirloin at Zaitzeff is from D’Artagnan and is ground in-house. The most notable quality though, is that the beef is grass-fed. Because of this, even though my burger could have a been slightly more rare, I liked it nonetheless because the meat tasted very earthy. In addition, I loved the slightly sweet and chewy toasted Portugese muffin (a muffin more in the style of a English muffin as opposed to the cake-like bakery kind) the burgers are all served on.
David had the 1/4 lb. Kobe Burger, medium-well ($12.50). The Kobe at Zaitzeff is actually American Wagyu from Morgan Ranch in Nebraska and not Japanese Kobe, which explains why the burger wasn’t more expensive. Regardless, similar to my Sirloin Burger, the “Kobe” Burger patty was extremely soft and juicy. In fact, even though David ordered the burger medium-well, his burger was dripping beefy juice all over his plate, even more than mine. I assume this was because of the higher fat content in the wagyu beef. However, I still preferred my burger because the Kobe lacked the rich grassiness of the Sirloin. David disagreed though, claiming my burger tasted too bloody for him.
Along with the burgers, we had a side order of Mixed Fries ($5), a combination of hand-cut Idaho fries and sweet potato fries. The regular fries were nothing spectacular. Personally, I just prefer thin crunchy fries. The sweet potatoes, however, were chewy and delicious in their natural sweetness. I really love sweet potato fries. I think we don’t eat enough of them here in the states. In Korea, it’s not uncommon to find sweet potato fries at a food stall or a news stand, and in the winter, there are a ton of vendors selling sweet potatoes roasted in stovepipe-looking ovens right on the street. The skin is always scorched and the potato underneath is so delectably carmelized you always burn your fingers and the roof of your mouth as you eat them in the freezing cold. Sometimes they have sweet potato vendors outside of Hmart in Flushing. It would be pretty cool if there was a sweet potato cart in Midtown, but I have a feeling someone would burn themselves and end up suing the poor guy or girl.
Anyway, back to Zaitzeff. I also I had a bloody mary, because as you know, I don’t think a brunch is really a brunch without one. The bloody mary was OK, but it was a bit too thick and heavy on the horse radish. I like spicy bloody marys, but this one was heartburn inducing.
So has Zaitzeff made me a hamburger convert? My only complaint with the burgers at Zaitzeff are that they are cooked on a flat-top griddle as opposed to flame-broiled. The charred smokey sweetness of a burger licked by flames as it’s cooked can’t be replicated on a flat griddle. That said, in the non-broiled category, the Zaitzeff burger is really gratifying and completely satiated my burger craving. And for those Top Chef fans, you might like to know Padma Lakshmi works out at the gym next door. I saw her walking by in sweats as I was eating my burger. Great burgers and a sexy cooking show host nearby, I think Shake Shack has some competition.
18 Avenue B (2nd St)
New York, NY 10009