Photos by Clay Williams
The gist: April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, the duo behind The Spotted Pig and The John Dory Oyster Bar, are opening this much-anticipated casual burger and hot dog joint inside the Pod 51 Hotel in Midtown East on Wednesday, February 10. "I've been dreaming about this for a long time," chef Bloomfield tells us. Every since she created the legendary Spotted Pig burger and the lamb burger at the Ace Hotel's The Breslin, Bloomfield, in one way or another, has been associated with making some of the best burgers in NY, maybe even in America. So a stand-alone spot focused on burgers is also a dream come true to just about every food-obsessive. Everything here, from the buns to the mustard to the American cheese, is made in-house. The meat is butchered, ground and mixed on-site, under the direction of butcher Jocelyn Guest. "The only thing we’re buying is ketchup," Bloomfield tells us. (Heinz, of course.) "We’re trying to do everything the right way, which may not might be the easiest way. This is our version of fast-casual: more like fast-paced slow food."
The food: There will be two burger choices for meat eaters, the first being The Classic (pictured at top) which resembles a Big Mac in appearance with the sesame seed bun, pickles, cheese, special sauce and double-patty composition. But Bloomfield swears its inspirations come from spots like Five Guys with its slightly squished patties. The second burger option is an 8-oz. patty with caramelized onions. On the veggie front, a seasonally changing patty will lead off with be made with beets, sweet potato vermicelli, root veggies and rice and topped with black garlic aïoli and shredded lettuce. A tempura-fried fluke filet sandwich is another show-stopper, served with tartar sauce or bonito mayo. House-smoked hot dogs will be topped with giardinera pickles, mustard and dill while the veggie dog made with broccoli rabe and Parmesan. French fries will be McDonald's-esque, i.e. traditional bistro style, unlike the famed rosemary-laced shoestring fries at the Pig. There will also be poutine and jalapeño poppers. For dessert, pies like Amaretti ice box and banana cream pie will be on offer as well as a special rotating selection.
The drinks: Boozy milkshakes like chipotle chocolate mezcal and a Grasshopper will complement nonboozy options like toasted marshmallow and chocolate and vanilla malts. Three cocktails will be available on tap: a Moscow mule, a gin and tonic and a whiskey and cola along with wines on tap, branded beer growlers and even a cocktail in a bottle that serves two called the Brooklyn: NY Distilling rye, Dolin dry, Luxardo maraschino, angostura and Reagan’s orange bitters.
The space: The 104-seat room, designed by Friedman, is adjacent to the hotel and is lined with wood much like The Breslin. You'll find fun cow art throughout including butcher's diagram lampshades over a row of three booths near the partially open kitchen. Mini TVs are installed inside each booth and show a roaring fire, which matches the autumnal smell in the air from the wood-fired grill.
The details: 230 E. 51st St.; 646-277-2900