Monday, January 21, 2013

A generically good burger (Lure Fishbar)

Lure burger

As I sat down to right this post, I had one of those "who the hell am I?" moments. I realized I haven't had a legit burger in weeks, and I haven't written about one since I had that oh-so-sensual encounter with In-N-Out months ago. As someone who used to live, sleep, and breathe burgers - this just feels weird. Anyway, I was watching the Oprah interview of Lance Armstrong today (because obviously Oprah's expertise of bike racing comes in as only a close second to her knowledge of mac and cheese), and something dawned on me - Lance ruined the sport of cycling just as gimmicky fusion burgers topped with everything from foie gras to chocolate has ruined the classic burger. Every burger we eat nowadays, you expect it to be doped to the gills with some ass-hat stupid combination of toppings. Everything not covered in a mountain of crap is instantaneously boring. Now I'm not saying there isn't a place for candied bacon on a burger (I'd be the last person to tell you otherwise), but in no way should that define how good a burger is. A good burger should be able to stand on its own: meat, bread, and optionally cheese... nothing else.

Like I said, people want to buy into these ass-clown gimmicks. I know I did. Just like people wanted to believe some dude could beat up on cancer and then come back with one testicle to waffle-stomp a bunch of other dudes in spandex (no matter how much you want to argue the aerodynamics of a full set of nuts vs. a single nut), adding random shit on top of burgers isn't normal. Sure it might not taste like absolute asshole, but that doesn't mean it's done the right way. The moment you mask the unadulterated flavor of beef with a cranberry-infused garlic aioli, you've missed the point. Lure Bar gets this. When every other brunch joint is pushing their mozzarella stick covered freak-burgers, all they're going to pimp is a plain cheeseburger... an absolutely spectacular specimen of a cheeseburger.

Lure burger

Oh hello there [/George Takei voice]. If you're uncomfortably excited, it's okay. On visuals alone, Lure Fishbar deserves some slow clapping. A proportionally balanced combination of a semi-sweet brioche and a 6 ounce block of Pat LaFrieda blend bound together with a slice of sharp cheddar glistening with meat "love juice" looks its weight in gold. This is a veritably beautiful burger. An Audrey Hepburn looking burger. This is the type you would take home to your mother because it's so fucking classy you don't even understand why you're smitten with someone you just met.

Pinkish insides

Now Lure Fishbar saw all that they had made, and indeed, it was very good! There's a certain art to executing a proper burger. Step one, buy the right bread. Check... their brioche was porous, soft yet crusty, and had a subtle hint of buttery sweet richness. Step two, pick the right meat. Check... pretty hard to go wrong with the Pat LaFrieda blend. Step three, don't fuck it up. Good job Fishbar, all three of these - you did. See that patty? See how the fringe isn't grey? Getting a medium-rare correct is probably harder than it seems - cook to 135 Fahrenheit and let it sit for 5 mins on carryover heat. Except 90% of places either leave me with a mush that's cold in the center or a blob reminiscent of grey matter. Fishbar killed it. Then they put cheese on it, which is always the correct thing to do (coming from someone who's lactose intolerant). If you've ever played Dynasty Warriors, this is like a 150+ hit combo success with a special move to finish off the stage boss: historically accurate, but with a modern interpretation.

Boring fries

Also, there's fries. They're good fries, but they're standard fries. Like McDonald's fries. Which is actually probably the highest praise I can give considering my love for McDonald's fries. There's nothing that'll make these stand out, no duck-fat rendered crunch, no ginger ketchup condiment pairing, just plain old fries. Nothing to detract to detract from the burger, this is likely the best thing they could've trotted out on the plate. Again, bang up work Fishbar.

Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm trying to convince you of here. When I started writing this post three days ago, I think I was annoyed at Lance Armstrong for being a massive ass-schnozzle in his interview. Then I forgot about it somewhat and had to tie it into a burger. Then I got angry at how burgers are now bastardized with everything short of ape shit. Then I got mildly aroused reliving the Lure burger. So I'll end things here in cliff-hanger fashion.

tl;dr - I have ADD and can't finish a single post with a cohesive theme. Lure Fishbar makes a really good plain cheeseburger, which is awesome, because everyone else seems to be focusing on making ass-clown burgers with 50 ingredients piled on top. Something about Lance Armstrong too.

Lure Fishbar
142 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10012


Rodzilla said...

Nah man, they're all doping, he didn't fuck up racing - just like custom beef blends didn't fuck up the standard burger.

It's like Lance (and most others) added a bit of short rib when the "natural" patties were straight up 80/20 ground chuck.

Nicholas said...

Rodzilla - disagree. He straight up forced people out of the sport that were clean, people who were Grand Tour (would be hopefuls) if the peloton weren't so fucked up. Lance is like adding a bit of pork fat into the mix - it's no longer a beef burger, and you can't put your finger on where the flavor's coming from, but it tastes good enough where you want to believe.

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