Cheeseburger Deluxe @ Veselka
It didn’t start off well at Veselka. David and I asked to sit outside, and of course, as soon as we got our water, it started drizzling. We ran inside with our cups of water in hand, until someone kindly unfurled the canopy over the outside tables. Then we waited, and waited, and waited some more. We asked to place our order twice, and was told our waitress would arrive shortly, and then again, we waited. In a huff, David suddenly stood up and said he wanted to leave. I said, “Let’s wait, I’m sure she’s coming soon.” (BTW, why does everyone think I’m the hothead in the relationship?!) When she finally did, the older woman couldn’t be nicer, and David begrudgingly placed his order. Lucky for me, deliciousness ensued shortly afterward.
I ordered the Cheeseburger Deluxe ($8), medium-rare, and that’s what I got; a soft juicy patty slightly charred on the outside and bloody on the inside. Everyone always says burgers should be griddled, but the Veselka burger is a perfect example of why charbroiling is the way to go. I want a burger with texture, not steamed throughout.
The juiciness of the burger may also be due to the fact that the meat is fresh. I’ve read the beef at Veselka is never frozen, and they get a meat delivery every day from a local butcher except on Sunday, but we were there on a Sunday, and it still tasted fresh. In addition, the burgers at Veselka are buttery, and I’m down with butter. I’m not sure if the butter was from the chewy sesame seed bun or from the patty itself, but either way, it was damn tasty. It was definitely the best burger I’ve ever had at a diner, a Ukrainian diner no less.
David had the Beet and Goat Cheese Salad (about $12.25, it was the daily special) with walnuts, mandarin orange slices, and a balsamic vinaigrette. I thought the salad seemed pricey when he ordered it, but when the giant bowl of salad appeared, I understood why. The salad was huge, and very fresh (again, not always easy to come by at a diner). I love my meat, but I also love big salads (remember the big salad fiasco on Seinfeld? I would have told Elaine to go to Veselka.), especially with tangy chèvre. It’s refreshing on a hot day. I stole a few bites of David’s salad in between bites of my burger.
When the check came, David wanted to leave a big tip. I reminded him how angry he was an hour ago when our waitress was MIA. “Oh well,” he said. It’s funny how a good meal heals all.
144 Second Ave (@ 9th Street)
New York, NY 10003