Lunch at Island Burgers and Shakes (with pics)
I had a job interview yesterday just outside of Hell's Kitchen and knew this place was just a few blocks away. I'm glad I went. I'm not sure when they first opened, but I had read reviews and seen an episode of Boy Meets Grill where Mr. Flay went and sampled what looked like some tasty burgers. The one catch is that they don't serve fries. They didn't have the money starting out for the extra cost (fryers, refrigeration, etc..) and when they looked into it later on, they realized that the cost would be more than they wanted to spend and the space really couldn't accommodate it anyway. Some have been turned off by it, but they seem to have a good following. All of their burgers (all 65 of them) can also be ordered as Churascos (grilled chicken breast sandwiches). Apparently, they are as well known for the Churascos as they are for their burgers.
I ordered a Vito's burger (medium) to go for my girlfriend when she found out I was going there. It's a burger with roasted peppers and mozzarella on a ciabatta roll. She let me try a couple of bites and it was very juicy and cooked just right. I didn't really think the mozzarella flavor came through, but the cheese did add some texture that I liked and the roasted peppers had a sweet, pronounced presence. The ciabatta roll was good, but I would go for something softer. They do offer sesame buns, pita, dark rye and pullman sourdough as bread options also.
Out in front of the "Island". I think the closest train is the 1 @ 50th St. and Broadway. Just walk up to 51st St. and the go west 2 blocks to 9th Ave and it's just up the street on the east side between 51st and 52nd.
They've gone for a surfing motif inside and it's nice, but I especially like the music that they've got going on. I can't remember a single song that was played on the stereo, but I was musically in a good mood the whole time I was there.
This is my Cowboy burger. It came blackened with lettuce, tomato, raw onion, spicy barbecue sauce, grilled onions, bacon, cheddar, ranch dressing and served on pullman sourdough. This was definitely a fork and knife job. I piled it all on and pressed it down, but I don't think my jaw was big enough. I usually get my burgers medium, but the server said that medium is really bloody, so I went with medium well. It wasn't very pink and wasn't as juicy as I like, but that was more an ordering issue than anything else. Like I said about the Vito's, the medium is just right. I do have to say that this was one delicious burger and would eat here again in a heartbeat, although I would want to work my way through the menu as many of the burgers look mighty tempting. Yes, this place does have a hardcore focus on toppings (36 in all), but they don't forget about the meat. Most of the burgers on the menu have 3-4 toppings on them and its makes them a sloppy mess to eat (the one downside is it's hard to pick up one of these burgers without them falling apart). I do like to bite into a burger from my hands. Nevertheless, they are still damn fine burgers.
The Cowboy, served open faced.
In place of the fries are potato chips or what is called on the menu "Real Big Baked Potatoes". That's not just a clever name. This spud was huge, with butter and sour cream, I could only manage about half of it. Good texture and baked just right. It is a meal in itself. I think you can get just about any of the sandwich toppings on it as well.
My Black and White. I really like this drink. I've always wondered who came up with the idea for it as opposed to a milkshake. It seems like a milkshake, just not blended.
Another shot of this creamy concoction.