Monday, June 4, 2012

J.G. Melon - New York, NY


You probably know this place from the Food Network show The Best Thing I Ever Ate (If not watch clip below!) where Bobby Flay describes J.G. Melon as having the burger he craves most when in NYC. So when I made my way back around the NY area I knew I had to give this burger a try and put it to the test. Fortunately, this place was right around the corner from my my girl Jennah where I was staying and we arrived early on a Thursday night so we got seated immediately.

J.G. Melon sits right in the heart of Manhattan's Upper East Side. It's mostly a bar with a small kitchen. The cheeseburgers are famous and if you look at the other tables around you, chances are many other patrons will be eating the exact same thing. Melons is known for having not the most friendly of staff and I can see that as true. The table next to us asked for a chair we weren't using for a friend that was meeting them, so I said "sure," but the waitress had a problem with it. She made them get up to wait a for a table with more chairs. I'm not sure why the place is so rigid with their rules and personalities, but I was here for their food. For an amazing burger I could put up with almost anybody.

Burger - Cheeseburger $9.25

The burger is what I describe as classic simplicity. The beef shines with no interference and the minimalism used is exactly what maximizes the enjoyment.

A plate is sat in front of you with a soft toasted white bun, a slice of melted American cheese that tops a modest sized patty, and some fresh pickles and thin sliced red onion on the side. There are no bells or whistles, but don't worry, nothing else is needed; not ketchup, not mayo, not mustard or any other condiment. I decided to pass on the raw onion and went just with the pickles. No. I couldn't bite into it right away. I had to play with my food first. The patty is nice and plump with that almost a meatball look. Juice can be seen bubbling through cracks in the hard griddle seared crust like natural water springs of beefiness. I understand my perspective on a burger is different than most. When most see this they see a regular cheeseburger. I see Picasso, Rembrandt, Michelangelo!

Now after all this it would be a letdown if the taste didn't measure up, but it does. The well salted beef is perfectly medium-rare with a rich warm pink center. When the beef hits your tongue it just seems to disolve. It is buttery good. The bun seems to flatten down around the patty, but stays intact without ripping away. The juciness remains in the patty. I gave it the squeeze test and you could see the red nectar ooze out, then back in. It was beautiful. The pickles are fresh, vinegary, with a nice snap to them. You could tell they have been making burgers like this for a very long time.

Side - Cottage Fries $4.75

I had to take a double-take at the fries. At first I thought they brought me fried pickles. They are sliced in the same manner as pickles done on a deli slicer given them those ridges pickles are famous for. They have a fresh taste, are salted well, and are crispier than I expected.

Conclusion: Definite perfection achieved. It's hard for me to really find a flaw here. When in NYC do yourself a favor and go experience the deliciousness of the cheeseburger at J.G. Melon. This is an all around winner in my book!

J.G. Melon on Urbanspoon

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