Corner Bistro, Manhattan – Love On a Sesame-Seed Bun
Corner Bistro, West Village – 331 W 4th St, New York NY 10014 (Find it!)
The second leg of the tour was a little better suited to my pursuit of cheeseburger perfection. Recommended by a good friend and faithful reader, Corner Bistro in Manhattan has been around since the 1820s and has become well known in the city for its tasty (and relatively cheap at $6.75) burgers. My expectations were high after reading several positive reviews online, though I tried to keep them tempered so as not to have another Bridgeview experience. The end result was one of the best dining experiences I have ever had, and Corner Bistro now sits atop my list of all-time favorite burgers.
Easy to miss, Corner Bistro is located on a corner in the West Village of Manhattan, one of dozens of restaurants to choose from in a posh neighborhood full of good-looking people with expensive tastes. From the outside it looks like any other olde tyme bar, updated only with a simple neon sign hanging above the main door. The brick walls, dark wood floors, and dim lighting add a sophisticated charm and I immediately felt as though I could hang out there all night. And I would have stayed all night just for the ambiance and company (read: beer) had I not already known of the magic taking place in the kitchen. After a drink at the bar, we were told our table was ready and made our way into the smallish dining room in the back. Sitting down, I realized there were no menus; just a tile board on the wall listing the nine items they offer (four of which are burgers). For us, six Bistro Burgers (bacon cheeseburgers) and a few sides of fries, followed by the most difficult wait of my life.
After about 10 minutes our burgers arrived. The simplicity of the presentation was a pleasant surprise. Sitting on a paper plate, the sandwich was stacked high on a sesame-seed bun that looked like it could have been from a grocery store. The 9oz patty was extremely thick and topped with American cheese and nicely curled bacon. I piled on the LTO, took the first bite, and saw stars. It’s actually hard to describe the greatness of this burger. The meat was cooked to a perfect medium-rare all the way through. It was firm and held together nicely, but had such a buttery texture and flavor that it began melting in my mouth (similar to 8oz – both burgers include sirloin as a main ingredient). No glitz or glamour here, just a well made and perfectly cooked burger. It took a few more luxurious bites to actually get all the components at once, and the combination of those flavors and textures left me short of breath. The bacon was crispy without being brittle. The lettuce, tomato, and onion were layered just right. The bun was a very simple seeded hamburger roll, but was the perfect compliment to everything inside it. It had a firm texture almost like the inside of a soft pretzel, but was small enough that it didn’t overshadow the meat. It held on until just before the last bite, which is good enough for me. After each mouthful, I stopped only long enough to express my utter infatuation with the Bistro Burger and already began planning my next trip to NYC. I inhaled the rest, only then realizing I had a platter of crispy, thin-sliced fries to finish as well. Thank you Corner Bistro.
Here’s the Beef: I have no beef with the Bistro Burger. It has set the bar against which all my future culinary adventures will be measured, and I am happy to pass this experience along to others. As a bonus Corner Bistro would be a great hangout spot even without the food. Though a little light on real estate, the unaffected atmosphere lends itself to a satisfying experience all around.