Tuesdays with TT: Brindle Room

The day before the FBM Holiday Potluck, CT and I had a bunch of errands to run to prepare our place for the festivities, but planned on stopping somewhere for lunch. The burger at Brindle Room has been on our radar for a while now ever since Noah from Law and Food told me it was his favorite burger in NYC. With confirmation from Yvo here, here, and here, we had to check it out and that was a perfect day for it.

After walking in, the first thing we noticed is that the restaurant was tiny! I could almost touch both walls with my arms extended. I’m not sure if they have a regular lunch crowd, but we ended up being the only ones there while we ate.

The only apps were soup or salad, so we decided we really didn’t need anything else besides the burger. It came with fries and pickles, which was more than enough to satisfy our appetite.

Here is the plate in all its glory. The pickles were above the ketchup and quite good.

As you can the burger wasn’t very large; about the size of hockey puck. It comes with cheese and sauteed onions. Usually I would have asked for no onions, but decided to eat it as served for my best judgement.

I ordered my burger medium-rare, but as you can see it came out closer to rare. CT ordered hers medium and it came out closer to well done. So strange that both burgers ended up being under and over cooked, not both under or both over.

Regardless the both burgers were still juicy with the beef as the star. I think it was only lightly seasoned with salt and pepper with nothing added to ground beef mixture. It was a good burger. The best I have ever had or my new NYC favorite? No. Although it was very different from a Shake Shack burger, SS still wins.

However, the fries were excellent. I love that they left the skin on. That’s how I make fries at home (baked, not fried though). They were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside with just the right about of salt. I greedily plowed through my huge portion. Although I like Shake Shack’s crinkle cut fries, the ones at Brindle Room win hands down.

All in all, Brindle Room makes a good burger and great fries. Is it a must have burger? No. But if you are in the East Village and hankering for a burger, check it out.

The Brindle Room on Urbanspoon


  1. T.C. says

    I wanna go back for their fried chicken.
    Their burger was definitely juicy the last time I had and the kale salad was a delightful side.

  2. says

    I don’t know, I feel like you got a weird burger that wasn’t cooked to your specifications… because I would normally chalk this up to “you and I must have different tastes in burgers” but we both really like Shake Shack. I really think this is one of the better burgers I’ve had in the city so far, one of the best even. When cooked properly, there’s this insane crust on the outside, with such a good beef flavor underneath – like you said, hardly any addition of seasonings or salt, letting the meat speak for itself – it’s just awesome. Maybe we can go back sometime for a re-do? (I had to keep going back to make sure the first time wasn’t a fluke!)

    We definitely have different fry tastes though… I didn’t like their fries. Plus I totally dig their kale salad, haha.

  3. says

    Although I think it’s a good burger, I wasn’t blown away either. However, I did eat it after the fried chicken. I need to go back just for the burger. I’m in for a re do!

  4. says

    My experience was exactly like yours, as I ordered a medium-rare burger that came out basically rare/raw in the middle. I agree with you 100% that it’s a good, but not great, burger, and that the fries are excellent. It’s solid, but I love Shake Shack a whole lot more.

  5. says

    That’s barely rare! But it looks pretty tasty from here.

    It’s sad when the ketchup ramekin takes up nearly as much space in the picture as the burger, though.

  6. beth grossman says

    That burger was raw in the middle;you are a brave/foolish soul ; ecoli is so dangerous . I would have sent it back

  7. says

    To me (and I am _very_ serious about my burgers) this is _no where near the top tier_ of burgers I’ve had.

    1. No matter how much beef flavor there is, a burger REQUIRES a lot of salt, period. Anyone who says otherwise is comparatively inexperienced with beef burgers. A lightly salted burger (or unsalted) isn’t a very good one. It’s that simple. Can you imagine unsalty miso? Of course not.

    2. The “iron-ey” flavor/s from the addition of dry aged beef contribute off flavors if anything. Yeah it is “fancy”, but that does not mean it adds anything worthwhile. Truffle oil would be fancy, but I wouldn’t lard it on a burger. If I want dry aged beef I will order a steak, not a burger.

    3. Very good burgers are almost always loosely packed and coarsely ground — this is neither. It is far too tightly packed.

    4. By going straight from cold storage to the very hot flattop or pan as I believe they do, they are _unlikely to nail anyone’s_ desired level of doneness_. It is just physics. Crust is desirable but not at the expense of the proper level of doneness. The tight packing of the meat inhibits heat transfer. A coarser grind that is more loosely packed would yield better, more consistent cooking results.

    5. Deckle fat is fat. Some great burgers have _suet_ in them. Beyond the novetly of using deckle, it means little except an opportunity for foodies to feel special when they say the word “deckle”. Annoying. 🙂

    6. Shake Shack’s burger, “meating” 😉 most of the criteria I believe makes for a good burger, is far superior (to me) to the Brindle Room burger in most measurable ways; taste, grind, packing, execution etc.

    I feel like hype cas carried this burger way to far as it is and it is about time to just admit it ain’t _that_ good by any reasonable measure. No need to cleave to the idea that it is special because “so and so” said it was.

  8. says

    Have any of you been to _Paul’s_ ( http://www.yelp.com/biz/pauls-new-york )? It is a _burger’s burger_. _And_ it has the looseness of packing and coarseness of grind I was talking about. It isn’t my fav (I don’t bother with best of’s anymore — too old for that folly of a moving target) but it is a very solid specimen. Here is a cross-section pic that tells the story: http://x07.xanga.com/ff3e005700435278268347/z221655094.jpg . Look at that and then the Brindle room pic above. Not even close to being in the same league, IMO. Deckle fat _not required_. 😉

      • says

        It does not suck. 😉 That said (and I am _really_ not into overly salty foods), it can be a little mild. It benefits from a little shake of table salt. The venue (Paul’s — right off St. Marks — easy to get to) could not be less fussy — got a crazy surly waitress, checkered floor and the thick smell of tallow wafting in the air…def my kind of place. Recommended.

        • says

          I’ve actually been meaning to check them out for at least two years. I believe Beer Boor is the one who constantly raves about them to me, but it was low priority at the time. May be time to change that!

          • says

            Paul’s is quick and completely without pomp so it should be easy to fit in as it requires virtually no planning. Especially since you have been meaning to get there (and BB digs it as well), you _really_ should pop in. It is an anti-hipster (perhaps soo much so that it is kinda hip in its own way) place if ever there was one — the main reason I think it does not get the love that places like the Commodore (etc.) get — and the burgers are superior to the vast majority of these hipster and/or cheffy places. It is unadorned, honest food with zero pretense. I have a feeling that is something you can get on board with! 🙂

  9. says

    Just got a nasty tweet from the Brindle Room about my opinion…_as if_ I am not allowed to have one! 🙂

    Stay classy guys!

    _I am not trying to be mean spirited about their burger at all_ — I _genuinely_ thought it was mediocre at best (as did my companions) and mine was not cooked to order properly either (this is not an anomaly). I resent that if I am not “on the bandwagon” that somehow my opinion is invalid. Part of being a good business person is accepting legitimate criticism from customers — It is not always gonna be all roses.

    How many times must the folks from this blog go back to finally get this mythical great burger? Would you give someone you were dating this many chances to gain your favor? I think not. In a blind taste test I am very confident that most would not pick this burger. It is simply poorly constructed. Here is the killer burger from Craigie’s on Main (in the Boston area): http://aht.seriouseats.com/images/20120129-craigie-burger-primary.jpg — please note the (very) loose packing of the meat and the coarse grind — the hallmarks of a sound burger.

    Brindle Room, if you are reading this note how a truly great burger should look. 😀 Maybe you can get yours to where it matches the hype, but only if you find some humility first!

  10. says

    This is the last thing I will add (really ;), mostly in the service of being thoughtful and helpful — I have a hunch (though the tightness may very well be caused by something else) that because the Brindle Room is kinda cheffy that they internally salt their meat prior to cooking it. This makes a burger more dense and spongey like a sausage and not loose and tender like a good burger. Though it may seem like a good idea (season everything!), it isn’t.

    Kenji explains it sooo much better here: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/12/the-burger-lab-salting-ground-beef.html

    “So what’s the moral of the story? Unless you like your burgers with the resilient bouncy texture of a sausage, refrain from getting the meat anywhere near the salt until just before you cook it. In a way, this totally makes sense. Sausage meat is seasoned well before grinding in order to perform this very function: breaking down the meat proteins to form a tighter, more cohesive structure.”


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