In case you haven’t noticed, Bionic Bites has been very East Village-centric the past few weeks. The reason: I’m sick of living in my cramped run-down LES apartment and have been spending a lot of time in the East Village apartment hunting. (I love the LES, but for the same price, I can get more square footage in the East Village.) Two Saturdays ago, after seeing a gorgeous but way too expensive apartment, David and I wandered into Royale looking for brunch. It was only after we were seated we noticed the place was more of a bar than a restaurant, and the menu was limited to burgers and sandwiches. No biggie, we ordered two burgers, onion rings, housemade chips, and a Bloody Mary for me. As long as a Bloody Mary’s involved, it’s brunch to me.
The Royale with Cheese ($7.50) is a broiled seventy-five percent ground Black Angus patty with a choice of cheese (American, cheddar, Swiss, or blue cheese; I opted for cheddar), Boston Bibb lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and 3/4 Sour Pickles from the Pickle Guys on a generously seeded brioche from Tom Cat Bakery. The lettuce had seen better days, and the tomatoes I’m sure will improve when the season is upon us, but the soft patty (ordered medium-rare) was incredibly juicy with a nice beefy taste. More exterior char would have been appreciated, but as-is it was a fine burger.
The Housemade Chips & Dip ($5) consisted of a basket of dense chips with a considerable crunch and a thick onion dip which could have been creamier. However, the crunchy chips — seasoned with coarse salt and pepper — were great on their own and I ate them straight sans dip.
The Onion Rings ($3.50), on the other hand, were a hot soggy mess sitting in a pool of grease. Skip the rings and enjoy the chips instead.
Not exactly a brunch destination, but for those who like moist fatty cheeseburgers, Royale more than works in a pinch. The only caveat: Royale doesn’t serve coffee. So grab one beforehand, or order two Bloody Marys. You’ll be sure to get a buzz one way or the other.