Finding an Awesome Burger
Finding an Awesome Burger
It all began with a late train, as it often does when you are a NYC commuter dependent on Penn Station timetables. I live in Princeton, New Jersey and take NJ Transit, but my friend and office mate, Dan (who takes home the Long Island Railroad on the level below me at the huge Midtown railroad station) was looking particularly glum when I walked into his office on a recent Thursday afternoon. Apparently, he had just got an alert that LIRR trains were running late due to—whatever! Perfect!, I thought. I was both thirsty and hungry, as was he, so the plan was simple: find a comfortable pub that wasn't too noisy where we could have a glass of wine, a filling meal, and then be on our respective ways home.
Not so easy a task around Penn Station. Though there are enough bars and eateries near the trains to choose from, finding one that wasn't packed with the din of fellow commuters and Manhattanites happily ensconced in Happy Hour was tricky. Then Dan remembered that he had recently had a terrific burger at a place called Black Iron on Seventh Avenue (there are two other locations in the city). Sounded like it was worth checking out, so we walked into the bar, just two block down from the train station: it was populated but not packed, playing music that wasn’t deafening, and had a couple of comfortable bar stools that looked like they had our name on it. We were set.
We immediately ordered two cold glasses of wine—a house chardonnay for me, and a pinot grigio for Dan. The burgers, indeed, sounded tempting: the signature dish, The Black Iron, so the menu read, consisted of two 4-ounce patties with double-horseradish cheddar sauce, stout caramalized grilled onions and horseradish mayo. As Dan also endorsed the french fries, an order of those were also placed.
As a New York editor who writes a dining column, needless to say, I have eaten a lot of burgers in this town, so am always somewhat—shall we say cautious—when someone raves about a burger. But I have to say, Dan did know what he was talking about. Though the patties were not chunky (I usually prefer to dig into a thick, robust burger, the kind that sometimes hurts your jaw but is well worth the effort), they were deeply flavored, juicy, and clearly prime beef. The combination of the quality meat, the deliciously tender caramalized onions and tasty cheddar, topped with a creamy horseradish mayo that added a kick but did not overwhelm, was delightful indeed. And the french fries, more of the skinny-frite-style variety (though, like my burgers, I prefer thicker french fries) were crispy and seasoned just right, with enough salt and spices to bring out the flavor, but did not leave you gasping for water.
The company was mighty fine, the wines properly chilled, the burgers deeply satisfying. Both Dan and I went home that night, knowing another train delay in the near future won’t be a bad thing. In fact, we might secretly be rooting for one.
» Black Iron Burger, 333 Seventh Ave., 646.666.0071