During the summer of 2012, I set off on a quest to find the best cheeseburger in my area. I was on a mission to re-capture the chesseburger taste of my childhood. You know, when beef was real and not loaded with hormones and fillers. I visited a number of burger joints in New Jersey and New York.
The first stop in my epicurean quest was Smashburger in Springfield, New Jersey. On their website they claim to use 100% certified angus beef and they don’t squish your burger they smash it. To my surprise the burger was really good. I ordered the Classic All American Burger with Smashfries. Their Smashfries were tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic and were crisp and not oily. This was a good pick for the first stop on my burger adventure. I gave this meal a 7 out of a scale of 10. Smashburger offers a lot of interesting sounding burgers, such as the Truffle Mushroom Swiss and Spicy Baja. I am looking forward to going back here to try a different burger.
My next stop was CheeBurger in Greenbrook, New Jersey, a new joint that is making a name for itself as a 100% all natural angus beef establishment. They have everything from burger and fries to onion rings to chicken fingers and salad. They also boast that they can make over a 1,000,000 different milk shakes. You can order a 5.5 oz burger or if you really need to get your eat on a whopping 14 oz burger. I ordered The Classic 5.5 oz burger with grilled onions and blue cheese along with a side of onions rings. The burger was outstanding and the onion rings were thin, crisp and hot, delicious! I will definitely go back to eat here again.
CheeBurger Onion Rings
I finally got a chance to eat at Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace in Paramus, New Jersey. The restaurant is set up like a retro style soda fountain shop. Bright colors and very cool decor. I ordered the Nappa Valley Burger with goat cheese, watercress and lemon honey mustard. Since I had my culinary partner in crime with me our total ordered included sweet potato fries, onion rings, one chocolate shack and one blueberry pomegranate shake. Now I am a huge Bobby Flay fan and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I was a little disappointed with my burger. I was expecting it to be amazing, but it was just ok. I ordered the Nappa Valley burger because it’s Bobby Flay and I wanted something rememberable. The sweet potato fries were great…nice and crisp. However, the onion rings were way too big and thick and they tasted flat. My partner’s chocolate shake was thick and tasty, but my pomegranate shake was to0 sweet. I know…who am I to criticize Bobby Flay…but for me the food was just ok. I will not go back here to eat.
Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace
My old stand by is Elevation Burger in Montclair, New Jersey. I stumbled across this burger joint about 3 years ago. I think this is the best burger joint in New Jersey and for that matter one of the best burger joints I’ve come across in a while. Their burgers are organic, grass fed, free range beef. Their french fries are cooked in olive oil and their shakes are thick and creamy, good but not sugary sweet. Each time I bite into an Elevation Burger the beef tastes clean and fresh. There is nothing stale, dry, fatty or processed about this burger. When you are in the mood for a good, clean burger this is another go to spot.
And the winner is…Shake Shack in NYC! I went to the one in the Theatre District on 8th Avenue and stood in line for 25 minutes because my culinary partner in crime just had to go there. At first I said no way…we had tickets to see Clybourne Park and I didn’t want to be late for the show. But I eventually gave in, because usually when there is a line out the door and down the street that means the food is good. While on line I had a chance to look at the menu and make my choice. I ordered the Shackburger with American cheese, lettuce and tomato, fries and a chocolate shake. To my surprise this joint was THE ONE! This burger was cooked to perfection. Shake Shack cooks their burgers on a flat top grill which allows for a crust to encapsulate the burger. The grilled taste reminded me of the burgers from my childhood. The burger was so damn good I have to admit that I would stand in line on a cold, windy, snowy day for one of these burgers…really! All I can say is go, stand in line, take a book and wait for a little slice of burger heaven cause this is slammin’. The burger. The fries. The shake. Make sure you get a shake.
The Shake Shack
Now that my hips are a little thicker, I’m taking a little time off from the burger hunt. But I will be back to continue my quest for the best burger!