Friday, February 4, 2011

Damn You (Walt) Whitmans

I really want to like Whitmans, and I actually kind of do. The problem is, despite the fact that "like" is the strongest positive reinforcement you can give on Facebook, in real life and in NYC, "like" simply isn't good enough any more (especially with so many great burger options).

For example, if I were in the area for lunch and craving a burger (a typical occurrence), I'd choose Brindle Room in an instant. When placed side by side with Whitman's dry-aged burger (pictured below), there's no comparison.

What's the best way to ruin a dry-aged burger? Add horseradish sauce, which completely masked the flavor of the dry-aged beef. I've never been much of a fan of cheddar on my burgers either. However, I do have to give them credit for using what looks to be Martin's "Big Marty" sesame seed rolls-- a personal favorite of mine.

Whitmans is a sliver of a spot in between the East Village and Alphabet City. Americana decor lines the walls, with illustrations of George Washington and Paul Revere, among other American heros, lining the tables and walls. Also noteworthy is the bathroom, which has a mirror sitting above the toilet that's exactly "dick-high," making me wonder about its potential purpose.

I've been to Whitmans twice. On my first visit, I was enticed by promises of a Juicy Lucy filled with pimento cheese. While I enjoyed the burger (the cook had managed to keep the meat around medium while completely melting the cheese), there simply wasn't enough cheese beyond a pathetically small ooze.

On my second visit, a tomato had been added. Yet the same problem remained. Too little cheese (I've had a much better Juicy Lucy at RUB).

Sides include french fries and the increasingly popular frickles (and crispy, "crack kale," which I haven't tried). The french fries were barely warm and nothing special. The frickles were solid. Unlike many I'd tried in the South (and elsewhere) they were thin sliced and lightly fried, giving the pickles a crunchy character. Not bad with the side of spicy mayo.

The Giant Frickle Shot.

Add Whitmans to the multitude of solid neighborhood burgers. Unfortunately, the potential draws-- a Juicy Lucy and dry-aged burger, don't match up with their peers. In any event, Whitmans is a good spot to sit back with a pint of Bluepoint Toasted Lager and throw down a burger.

406 East 9th Street (btwn 1st and Ave A)
New York, NY 10009

Whitmans on Urbanspoon


  1. I gotta try this Brindle Room burger.

  2. Im going to have to dis agree with everything you wrote in this article. I have eaten at all of the other spots u mentioned, and none of them compare to WHITMANS. I have been going there at least once a week since they opened and I think you may have just not appreciated their food for what it is. freaking deliciouussssss now im craving a burger ima go there tn. and they always have deals there, tn is peak organic night, 3 beers and one burger for 20 bucks. try getting that at the neighborhoods spots phhyyyyscchhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  3. I didn't say I didn't like Whitmans. It's a good neighborhood spot, but not worth a trip. Brindle Room's burger, however...

    That is a good deal though. I'd take advantage of it if I went back.

  4. Whitmans is the best I don't agree with this post at all. Much love to law and food tho. :)