The immortal Black Label Burger - we have tasted it before and been astounded by its majesty, but now we return, older and wizened in our bovine experience. Will it still hold up? Time will tell...
For our last outing, we returned with aplomb to the high-class stomping grounds of Minetta Tavern. We have already reaped this beefy harvest, but becuase The Black Label remains one of the most storied burgers in the history of hot meat, we figured it's always worth another shot...so fourteen of us ventured forth into Minetta's elegant, old-New York dining room to render our ratings upon this much-loved meat helmet.
In the end, the consensus was much the same as last time: this is a mystical, transcendent moo-pie...the kind of burger that could convert a non-believer and tickle the tastebuds of even the most jaded griddle-jockey.
The dry-aged blended patty, drizzled in clarified butter and heaped with perfectly-caramelized onions is perfection personified, but it might the less-heralded but legitimately miraculous bun that truly sets this apart - somehow it's strong enough to maintain the structural integrity of the burger even when drenched in juice, and yet it yields to the teeth as though it were light as air. I would not shame someone for trying to legally pursue marriage with this bun.
But it comes at a cost. 33 of your hard-earned shekels shall be sacrificed at the alimentary altar...and while to some that's a small price to pay to have your life changed for the better, for others that was a bitter pill that even a sea of perfectly-salted fries couldn't wash down.
Ultimately, this is about the ratio of taste-to-perceived value...and no one but you can answer that question for yourself. But rest assured, even as your wallet weeps softly for its loss, your guzzling gullet will gasp with gleeful delight at the glory upon which it gorges.
Speaking of perceived value...let's talk about the "Andrew as Human Being" rating. Perhaps it's because I'm heading to Antarctica for 5 weeks, but I finally shattered the glass ceiling of and reached a new personal best of 5.3/10! Whatever ratings the future may bring, I'll always have Minetta...
This is glory. Sweet Baby Jesus. The majestic harmoniousness of this slab of beefy magic cannot be overstated. The hype is true and remains true. This is the best - funky dry aged beef, perfectly carmelized onions, clarified butter and the most perfect bun ever to rise - perhaps that is the secret here, as it holds it together structurally yet melts in your mouth like the morning dew. Fries are spectacular. Ambiance flawless. Yes it's expensive, but you get what you pay for, and it's worth every penny. Still #1 in my book.
I always feel strange about the close to all10 ratings... but THIS burger is an elegant example of quality and traditionalism done well. There's no gimmicks in terms of toppings or assembly. All you taste is the wonderful flavor of the beef... and fries which are equally deliciousabdrew wasn't drinking because he is "hungover", but I think it's because he can't handle the heat - 4.5
Pickle not so great. That burger tho. Oh god it was a religious experience. Post eaten depression has set in. The salt perfection, the perfect cook, that bun!
Andrew gets a 5/10 because he was on time and put together despite having a long night. But he is leaving for a month and there will be no burgers next month which is upsetting.
I'm going in high with this one, because I just can't imagine a better burger as far as taste and quality. Value is hard here but andrew asked "do you feel like you got what you paid for?" and by god, I do.
Andrew gets an 8 from me today, which is a real big swing for me. He was on time, great outfit, and he was out til 5am the night before and didn't show it. Also, he talked to be about camping gear at the outset which really got me going. Only reason he isn't a 10 is because he didn't pay for my burger and he faked us out when he though my burgers were coming out for us and they weren't. Also I'll miss him in Feb. I guess I'm in a giving mood.
Salted just to the brink, meat forward, holy shit of a burger. For over a year this burger has been heralded by neighbs as "better than mediocre sex" and indeed it was.
I like Andrews's haircut and I got a high five on my way back from the bathroom. 7/10
For Andrew: 5. This was Andrew's best day. I don't know if I'm euphoric about the burger but Andrew looked sharp, was on time, and was pleasant company. Maybe because he was hungover? Anything is possible in this new world, I guess.
The burger was incredible. The fries were incomparable. I even liked the pickle. It's expensive, of course, but it's worth it. I can't believe I've had this burger twice in my life and some people never have. It's an american tragedy.
This is the best burger I have tasted with Burger Club, placing it high in the running for best burger I've had period.
Perfect salty grade A beef with nothing standing in the way, not even cheese. Even the bun, while structurally sound, melts away with each bite, leaving only the monumental burger.
The only points I'm knocking off are for the fries, which I felt were slightly overdone, and the bus boys who treated the back of my neck like a fucking splash guard for their bread carving station.
Andrew played a near flawless game today. So he gets a 6.
There are few burgers that could cheer a soul struggling with the disorienting absence of Andrew at our table, but the Black Label Burger was certainly a most welcome, and potent, antidote. A texture that both crunches and crumbles; a bun that unobtrusively, and sesame-ingly supports; a juiciness that is perfectly enhanced by onions that obliterates the necessity for any other toppings -- this one does Cows proud. Because this day and age requires some criticism amidst so much burger joy, the fries -- though perfectly sized, and overall delightful -- fell victim to the passage of time...but so do we all.
This burger was crazy good - a beautifully-seasoned, perfectly cooked (medium rare, with a crispy sear) bit of juicy goodness. The onion topping added a nice touch of sweetness without getting in the way. The bun was just right - lightly toasted, it held together through all the drippings.
The fries - a-MAZ-ing. Perfect crisp/chew ratio (not too hard or too chewy), well-salted (but not too much), delicious.
This is an expensive burger, but worth the splurge.
A smooth and juicy meatsplosion in a bun. I honestly thought it was bit little one dimensional, but it does nail that one meaty dimension. Fries were great. Venue is nice other than having to eat like a T-Rex because there is no room for elbows at the tables. The only significant knock is the price of admission. It's enough to make one reflect on their life choices after paying so much for a burger.
The first bite of this burger confirmed everything I had heard - it lived up to the lore. This was a meat-forward experience, and it did not disappoint. The bun was light in texture, but it rather magically held up to the patty and sustained its juiciness. There were not many toppings to speak of, and that worked for me. The fries were crispy and plentiful (overall the plate was not quite enough to validate a higher value rating for a steep $33...). Staff were attentive, music was on point and the overall atmosphere was a cozy breath of fresh air after the disappointing (dare I say hostile?) environment at Momofuku Nishi. Andrew was going to get a 5 as a person, but then he revealed he had been waiting outside in order to trick us into thinking he would be late, so for his falseness he's now down to a 2.