Thursday, March 17, 2011

Zaitzeff: Last in the Alphabet and Last in My Heart

I first tried Zaitzeff in 2008 and didn't like it. Almost three years later, after starting a food blog and with a whole mess of NYC's finest burgers under my belt, a few weeks ago I found myself again walking by Zaitzeff's Lower Manhattan location around lunchtime. My curiosity (and masochism) got the better of me (as it tends to do).

A few minutes later I'd dropped almost $18 on a burger and fries.

Served on a Portugese Roll (sort of like an English Muffin without the bite), the burger is dominated by a thick, ice-cold tomato slice that I quickly tossed aside. Even still, the surprisingly flavorful and juicy grass-fed sirloin was overwhelmed by the roll and lettuce, with the caramelized onions barely making an impression. The burger had a much better sear this time around (last time I remember it being gray and mealy). The less said about the cheese, a Vermont white cheddar, the better. This type of cheese simply does not belong on a burger, I thought, as an unmelted corner detached itself and fell onto my plate.

Meanwhile, the $5 fries (half regular, half sweet potato) ranged in doneness from completely dried out to soft and undercooked. They were also desperately underseasoned.

I've learned my $18 lesson and won't be back to Zaitzeff (the downtown location at least, but I can't imagine the other two branches are much better). Still, I seem to be fighting against the general consensus, as friends have raved about Zaitzeff's burger. My response: screw you guys, I'm going to Brindle Room.

72 Nassau Street
NY, NY 10038
(212) 571-7275

Zaitzeff on Urbanspoon

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