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The hamburger is the symbol of American cuisine. The basic ingredients are simple: coarse ground beef on a crispy bun, possibly with a little lettuce and a drop of ketchup or mayonnaise. However, people who visit New York will soon discover that the possibilities are endless. And over the past few years the traditional ‘burger and fries’ has been making a comeback as a restaurant-quality dish.
No one knows the exact origins of the world-famous sandwich, although there are plenty of proud ‘inventors’. The most likely story is that it started in the port of New York, with the culinary traditions of German immigrants. Americans couldn’t get enough of the flat meatballs from Hamburg, also known as ‘Hamburger steaks’, and not much has changed since. Hamburgers are still extremely popular, and serving the best, most original variety has become a true sport. From basic to highly exclusive, New York serves burgers in all shapes and sizes.
Black-and-white tiles on the floor, red-leather seats and a popular vintage bar: welcome to Minetta Tavern. This bistro has typical American charm, with a simple yet classic menu. Except for its world-famous burger! The Black Label Burger is a true phenomenon, made with rib-eye that has been matured for up to 42 days to give an exceptionally powerful flavour. If you love burgers, make sure to book a table at Minetta!
Minetta Tavern, 113 MacDougal St, New York
No lettuce, tomato or mayonnaise – these elements only distract from the taste and are not used on the hamburger offered by The Spotted Pig, a gastropub that has been attracting crowds since 2004. Consisting of grilled brioche bread with juicy beef and a heap of crumbled Roquefort, this has since become a legendary New York burger. It is served with a large portion of wafer-thin fries sprinkled with aromatic rosemary. The Spotted Pig’s burger will satisfy your senses, but if you still want more, we recommend the spicy home-made ginger cake as dessert.
The Spotted Pig, 314 W 11th St, New York
Another hamburger gem can be found in Madison Square Park. For many years, Danny Meyer has been serving the residents of New York no-nonsense hamburgers from his Shake Shack, a former hotdog cart turned kiosk. Some American cheese, lettuce, tomato and the famous Shack sauce is all the simple burger needs. The flavours are perfectly balanced, a modest beef burger on a deliciously soft bun. Although there are only a few seats, you have the entire park at your feet! So enjoy your burger on one of the benches or in the grass.
Shake Shack, Madison Avenue, New York City
This chic bistro in Hell’s Kitchen has a great reputation among New Yorkers. Although there are many other items to choose from, its main attraction is the 5-Napkin Burger. As the name indicates, you’ll need plenty of napkins (and courage) to enjoy it! Nearly 300 grams of beef on a soft white bun, it is no easy feat. If you dare to try, you’ll be surprised by the beautifully caramelised onions, the intense flavour of melted Gruyere, and the rosemary aioli on a delicious medium rare burger. Prepare to get messy!
5 Napkin Burger, 630 9th Avenue, Hell's Kitchen, New York City