I like burgers. It’s one of those little quirks about me: given the choice between burgers or pizza, I choose burgers every single time. (Fun fact: I ask people that question fairly frequently, and only once has someone responded “It depends what city I’m in” – because pizza is just not pizza everywhere!) My quest to find the perfect burger in NYC has gone on for quite a while, because everyone’s personal preferences are different, and mine fall squarely under: smaller burger patties, good bread, toppings that work together such that I don’t need to add anything, cooked properly slightly rarer than medium, with a good char.
So although friends have mentioned Paul’s to me in the past as their favorite burger, it was constantly passed over by me because their burgers are known to be on the large side, which puts it at an immediate disadvantage for me. But I finally decided to suck it up and met my buddy, Dean, for a burger post-workout. He worked out, I mean… I just took the subway there.
I can’t see chili cheese fries on a menu and not order it… Unfortunately, the fries were the steak sort, which isn’t my favorite. They weren’t super crisp, the only way I can enjoy steak fries, but they were no means improperly cooked – this just isn’t my style. The cheese and the chili were much more offensive – the chili tasted like the canned variety, and the cheese was a few slices of American cheese melted on top of the fries. I picked at this and ate most of the uncovered ones, and would not order this again.
Dean panicked when our extremely endearing server came over for the 3rd time to ask if we were ready, and ordered a random burger combination that had ham on it. I didn’t bother photographing it, but I know he enjoyed his burger – even as HUGE as it was.
I’m a burger purist – especially the first time I visit a place – so I opted for my very normal order of bacon burger with tomato. No cheese. I also added mayo to the burger; if the burger is properly cooked and juicy, the meat juices come out and mix with the tomato slices and mayo to create its own “ketchup”, no other sauces necessary. And yes, this is a huge burger – I initially thought I wouldn’t be able to finish it, but since I ate very few fries, I actually ate the whole thing (and those who’ve eaten large burgers with me know this is quite a feat).
As for the burger itself: cooked exactly to my specification of medium rare (sorry for the lack of cross section photo!), it was juicy, tasty, and a very good burger. It didn’t lack for seasoning, and while it was juicy, it didn’t explode down my hand, which is a pet peeve of mine – foods that drip into my sleeves. It was very tasty, and I would not resist another visit – incredibly reasonable prices as well. However, it’s not knocking any of my favorites off the top of the list, but that’s more a matter of personal preference, because it really was a very good burger.
Just not my favorite.
Note: our server was super nice, even though we took our sweet time ordering. A smattering of the pet names she used for us during our time there: kids, hon, young’ns, kiddies, sweety, maybe even children… I know there were quite a lot of references to us being very young, which made me laugh. She was great.
If you like burgers, I definitely recommend you check out Paul’s and soak in the old-school atmosphere inside. It’s a great little place in an awesome neighborhood.