New burger places seem to be popping up all around me on the Upper East Side. Yes, they’re usually a new outpost for an existing restaurant, but I’ll take it. More inexpensive, decent comfort food options!
GO Burger is owned by the BLT Hospitality Group, which owns all the various BLT restaurants around the city as well as a GO Burger truck and a GO Burger restaurant in Midtown. PS and I walked across Second Avenue to the Upper East Side location, with its garage-door storefont (rolled up, naturally, for business). They opened months ago, but until a couple of weeks ago I never got around to visiting. I was promised many interesting burgers and toppings, “spiked” milkshakes and other alcoholic beverages if I desired, and reasonable prices.
First order of business was drinks. GO Burger has a few decent beers on draft, so I chose the old reliable Sixpoint Brownstone, she a Dark ‘N’ Frozen milkshake — vanilla, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, and ginger beer added on the side. This was really big, and pretty tasty, I admit, but it honestly better be for $12.
(My beer was rather sloppily delivered by the server. I’m pretty good at not spilling beer.)
Hey, look! There’s fried pickles on the menu! Just like every other place in the city. But you never know when you’ll find that diamond in the rough. These pickles are heavily battered before heading to the fry basket, so while there are only around eight in an order, it’s a lot of food.
But alas, like more contenders for the title of Best Fried Pickle, these were mostly batter, and not enough pickle. The pickles are tangy, certainly, but there isn’t enough there. And they’re easy to pull from their doughy cocoon, leaving their empty casing behind to be dipped into the unmemorable sauce.
Then the burgers arrived. PS went the a la carte route, choosing the basic burger with bacon and a fried egg. The bun is toasted really well, the better to hold up to the eggy onslaught.
This arrived cooked properly (medium rare), and altogether the toppings were very good. The only problem? The meat. It tasted like it hadn’t been seasoned whatsoever. No salt, no pepper, no anything. Just plain, boring ground beef.
I’d ordered sweet potato fries on the side, which definitely were winners. I have nothing but positive thoughts on virtually every sweet potato fry I’ve found in the city (except maybe my own): crisp exterior, fluffy, hot interior, a good dose of salt, so much sweet, sweet potato flavor.
Back to the burgers. I hoped for better with my “UltiMELT”: a burger topped with caramelized onions and bacon, sandwiched between two “slender” rye-gruyere grilled cheese sandwiches. As you can see, those are indeed slender sandwiches. Regular bread would have been uncomfortably dry, I think, as did Go Burger apparently. They skimp on the cheese in the sandwiches, I suppose because of the gruyere on the hamburger itself.
As with PS’s burger, it was cooked to a perfect medium-rare, and the onions and cheese, being near perfect toppings themselves, made this a very tasty burger with the rye toast. And as with PS’s burger, there was no flavor in the meat. I understand if you have high-quality meat you want to showcase its flavor unadorned, but if the beef is bland, you do it no favors by not at least salting it a bit. For $14, I doubt I’ll return to this burger.
Incidentally, eventually due to the shape of the grilled cheeses, you’ll end up with two juice-soaked slender grilled cheeses with onion, sans meat. There’s nothing wrong with this.
I’m glad I went to GO Burger, and I’ll probably find myself there again. It’s got a few sides, like the jalapeno poppers, I’d like to try again, and those sweet potato fries are top shelf. And maybe the burgers just had an off night, right? If I get another bland burger, though, I’ll just return to one of the other dozen burger places in my neighborhood and not think twice about it. I want GO Burger to measure up, but I can’t abide beef failure.