Burgers seem to be on menus everywhere, from fast food to sushi restaurants. A good one can be transcendent, and everyone has specifics that make their own perfect burger experience. While Shake Shack reigns supreme for loyal fans, there are plenty of delicious, unique local burgers that deserve your attention.
Luckily, we did some hearty research for you. These burgers brighten up Brooklyn with fresh, exciting combinations – beyond the sloppy orange sauce and soggy bun.
Sometimes a bun can be so squishy it just soaks into the burger and disappears. That’s not the case at Korzo, an Eastern European gastropub known for its deep-fried burger.
It’s easy to get excited about anything deep-fried. But the deep-fried flatbread, or langos, wrapped around this burger basically serves as a handy pocket that catches every last drop of goodness from the burger inside. The burger is grilled to order and toppings are added before it’s wrapped in dough and deep-fried for a few minutes until the outside is crispy. Co-owner Maria Zizak prepares the dough every morning for the langos, which is usually eaten as street food in Slovakia and Hungary. (You can also order the bread grilled for your burger.)
They may be best known for the B’klyn Beet Veggie Burger: a roasted beet, walnut and black-eyed pea patty topped with baby gouda, caramelized onions, and market greens. A side of pickled seasonal veggies and fries (or salad), and you’re set for a special burger experience. Order a Korzo organic ale (a collaboration with Peak Organic Brewing Company) to wash it all down.
Zizak and her husband, Otto, met in 2nd grade in Slovakia and reunited as adults in New York City. Zizak said their goal is to convince people that Eastern European food isn’t bland just because it isn’t spicy. Their other restaurant, Brooklyn Beet Company in Bay Ridge, is more farm-to-table focused, Zizak said. Both restaurants are known for the beet burger and delicious, all-natural beet ketchup, with no added sugars, made from slow-roasted NY State beets. Their mustard is made in house, too, with mustard seeds soaked in beet juice.
Down the street at Prospect Bar and Grill, there’s a new burger on the menu every week. Served on potato buns from Baked in Brooklyn (also down the street), choose between beef, bison or veggie burgers. Chef Anthony Lanci doesn’t like how sweet brioche buns are, so these buns are hearty and round, topped with sesame seeds. A recent visit included ‘The Return of El Pato Borracho,’ a burger topped with crispy duck confit and Bitburger beer cheese sauce.
A burger special Monday-Wednesday includes a free pint for $14. You can also substitute any sides instead of fries, including sauteed kale or brussel sprouts. But when it’s burger night, you may as well do it right with some crispy French fries. Beer options include a list of seasonal selections and a few German beers like Reissdorf Kolsch and Kostrizer Schwarzbier, a smooth black lager that’s great with a burger.
The lively but laid-back pub sells about 150 beef burgers per week, Lanci said. It’s been open since 2012 and serves brunch on weekends. Aside from the burger, there’s also a rotating taco special, and a happy hour that includes $4 drafts.
On a quiet corner in Prospect Heights is James, a beloved neighborhood spot. Monday night is burger night with three options: classic beef with Vermont cheddar, cumin-dusted lamb with goat cheese, and the Chef Burger, which changes weekly based on seasonal ingredients. Recent variations included one with avocado and fried leeks and another with artichokes and mushrooms, co-owner and general manager Deborah Williamson said. The burger uses grass-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free Black Angus beef. It was featured in Departures Magazine last year on its list of ‘Top Burgers Around the World.’
The half pound beef burger is $15, and the others are $16 during daily happy hour from 5:30-6:30 and all night on Mondays.
The vegetable sides are always changing too, Williamson said, so there’s something for everyone.
At Lavender Lake in Gowanus, just beyond the canal, there’s a burger that redefines the standard “bar burger.”
This Gowanus gem has it all: excellent cocktails, a menu of East Coast draft beers, a spacious backyard, friendly bartenders and a burger with, well, everything.
The burger patty is embedded with bacon for a fully packed flavor experience. On top is a beer-battered onion ring, seasonal sauteed greens, white cheddar and house aioli on a brioche bun. It is heavenly; the greens melt in with the bacon flavor, and the crunch of the onion is a nice little treat on top. Any of the toppings (and the bacon) can be omitted at the customer’s request, general manager Analisa Baduria said. Tuesday nights are “neighborhood nights,” featuring the $15 burger and beer. It’s served with homemade chips and a nice spicy pickle.
None of these burgers will disappear from their respective menus anytime soon. A delicious patty and bun combo will always have a loyal following. So cozy up at one of these local haunts and enjoy a stellar burger. It just might make your day a little bit warmer.
667 5th Avenue
Prospect Bar and Grill
545 5th Avenue
605 Carlton Avenue
383 Carroll St.
Remember to eat in the Slope as much as possible, there are endless choices and one of them may become your new favorite go-to place.
See you in our Spring edition!