116 East 16th Street between Irving Place and Union Square East
$129 for three, with beers, with tip
Wow, they made a big deal about the burgers here. Don’t get me wrong: they were satisfying, but nothing more incredible than what other places in the city has to offer. It also didn’t make up for the confused service we received from our waiter who seemed out of it.
We ordered a few appetizers with our burgers to split between the three of us: salt and pepper pork ribs, crispy pigs’ ears salad with radicchio topped with creme fraiche and arugula-shiitake mushroom salad. We also ordered a side of kale to eat with our burgers. It was perplexing when our waiter brought all the vegetables for appetizers, leaving my friend eating the kale while two of us ate our salads. When we brought this to our waiter’s attention, he seemed to forget that the kale is offered as a side on the menu.
For shiitake, mine looked very much like button mushrooms. I couldn’t pin-point if it was the lack of dressing or tossing of ingredients together in a bowl, but they didn’t meld with the greens. What I expected to be a hearty salad was really dry and boring. I’ve had better salad from delis than this one. The salt and pepper pork ribs brought the same unexciting feeling. How can anything be well-seasoned and at the same time taste bland? When the busboy took away my plate, he spilled the leftover rib juice on our table and we watched as it remained on our table until we had to leave.
I ordered my burger medium-rare but it was pretty rare inside. I didn’t mind it, but I know that that would be unacceptable to many. The fries on the side were limp and soggy. At this point, our waiter disappeared and never returned. We had two different guys bring us coffee and our bill.
The saving grace of the night was the crispy pigs’ ears salad. They were truly crispy and mouth-watering but I would have been more satisfied without the creme fraiche on it. If the service was more pleasant, we would have stayed and ordered extra drinks to try and salvage our night, but we couldn’t wait to get out of there and just give our waiter a break.
SoHo Park has better burgers
Crispy Pigs’ Ears Salad recipe