In the last two week's, I had the pleasure of eating two delicious burgers at two different restaurants within the Union Square Hospitality Group. The first burger was a more traditional burger from Blue Smoke-- Danny Meyer's BBQ joint. Lucky enough to get a seat at the bar, my buddy Andrew and I started with a picture of the Blue Smoke Ale and an order of the Toasted Pork Ravioli with a smokey tomato sauce. The ravioli was filled with "St. Louis Style" pork, breaded, and deep-fried for a tastey appetizer. I really enjoyed the smoked tomato sauce that accompanied the ravioli. Sauces are made to enhance the dish and this smoked tomato sauce did just that! Our entrees came out right after our appetizer plates were cleared. We were given new silverware, which is always a sign of good, attentive service. Andrew enjoyed his pulled pork while I downed my Blue Smoke burger. The burger was very flavorful and filling. Although delicious, it didn't stand out enough to to constitute a craving.
The second burger was at Maialino, USHG's italian venture in the Gramercy Park Hotel. Surprised huh? Me too! A burger is not normally on the menu, but chef Nick Anderer agreed to do a special edition burger for Eater's Burger Week 2011. I told the chefs at Maialino they should put the burger on the menu, because it was awesome. The burger, made of mostly brisket, was topped with Gorgonzola cheese, house-cured bacon, griddled onions, and escarole. It came with a side of house-made pork rinds and a soup--today it was minestrone. I tried to eat the soup, but I was too full from my burger and my prosciutto-mozzarella appetizer. I drank the Re-Ale, an Italian IPA that paired pretty well with the burger. I was a bit skeptical about the gorgonzola cheese, but it worked well. All the components meshed together to make any Italian happy.
I also hear that the burger at Gramercy Tavern is awesome, so I'll have to check it out one of these days.