Joe Junior’s – The American Dream

I’m not sure about you, but the immediate item I can think of, if someone asked me – “what food is America is famous for?” I’d say it’s the hamburger without a shadow of a doubt. I’m sure you’ve read and heard countless debates as to who does the best, at the end of the day it’s just a matter of opinion. Who cares if you prefer Five Guys, Bleeker Burger, Patty & Bun, Honest Burgers or Haché for that matter (sorry not sorry for the London centric options), as there is superabundance out there to even satisfy the the most fastidious burger eater. I for one, prefer non-elaborate creations – simplicity is beauty, I’m a sucker a quality blend too, the protein to fat ratio is obviously important, as is the texture, the flavour and the juiciness. I heard great things about the burger at Joe Junior’s so here I am.

The interior is basic, even for a diner, and could probably do with a deep clean and a lick of paint. Don’t even get me started on the toilet. So, if you’re a stickler for hygiene, turn away now. 

Kellog’s multi-packs, made me chuckle!

Now onto the burger: The bun itself is nothing remarkable compared to what you can get in your fancier burger joints, who tend to use brioche (just in my experience). It’s a soft white thing, topped with sesame seeds and comes with viscous, salty American cheese that clings onto it. The real star is the patty itself, made from chuck, which is cooked on the griddle and made to order. The crust is a craggy, dark and exudes a lovely flavour. Juices burst at the seams when you bite into it, revealing all the moist pink beef. **Tip**: Always ask for it done medium rare with “no plancha” – this means that the burger won’t be pressed against the griddle with the spatula which always releases the precious juices. Now, we wouldn’t want that would we? 

It comes with a little pot of slaw and half a gherkin. Why don’t they serve a whole one? To be fair is was super salty so half was enough. 

Tj

The cheap bun and unremarkable cheese becomes one with the patty – the term “greater than the sum of its parts” is coined for times like this. The juices seep relentlessly into the bun. 

The verdict:

When did I go? November 2016
The damage: $5.50 for the cheeseburger
The good: Starting with the obvious, the pricing is unthinkably cheap for a burger of this quality, and it’s up there with some of the finest I’ve had. The crumbly, juicy burger with its maillard reaction gives it a very distinct flavour and brings out the beefiness. The simplicity is enchanting and it’s a cracker to eat.
The bad: Joe Junior’s is no postcard diner, it’s definitely no looker, but as they say never judge a book by it’s cover. Try to avoid the toilet if you can.
Rating: 4/5
Would I go again? Yes
Address: 167 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003, USA
Phone: +1 212-473-5150

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