This week, Pete Wells gave us a double. He went to April Bloomfield‘s newest spot, Salvation Burger, and checked in on her first place, The Spotted Pig. Like most people, he was excited about Salvation Burger, but also skeptical. Salvation Taco is not that great. Most of the food is okay, but service is tough and the overall experience is generally lacking. Wells pointed out that it seems to be “run by people who don’t know what a taco is.” But, “Ms. Bloomfield definitely knows what a burger is.”
Her first venture in New York City, along with partner Ken Friedman is The Spotted Pig in the West Village. There, she charges $25 for a hamburger with roquefort cheese served alongside a pile of shoestring fries. People will wait for hours, and no one complains. Lines haven’t dwindled since 2004 when it opened. It’s just understood that if you want this glorious burger, you’ll have to wait. Though there are other delicious items on the menu, Wells notes that every time he’s been there recently, it’s the “burger [he] saw on almost every table.”
“At Salvation Burger, she zeros in on what the people want and dispenses with almost everything else. Three of the five main courses are burgers, and all five come on a bun. She also knocks out bar snacks…but nobody will accuse Ms. Bloomfield of padding the menu.”
The beef burger, which, let’s be honest, is what you’re there for, comes in the form of the Salvation Burger, and the Classic. The first is the more “highbrow” version, and it comes with cheese and mushrooms on a sesame seed bun. The second, Wells describes as “lowbrow.” “The two patties, pancaked to a blackening crunch on the griddle, sprawl beyond the borders of the bun, running with “special sauce” and yellow cheese that works as a second sauce.” Of this version, he says, “everything on this burger comes together in a single impression that bypasses analytical thinking and goes directly to raw, thumping want.”
Though they’re not the stars of the menu, the veggie burger and fish sandwich are good options for those who are inclined or limited. The hot dog, he says, is a “sleeper.” He also says he would come back for the Chili, “made with the shanks from the sides of beef that are broken down and aged in the kitchen, on their way to burgerhood.” Skip the oysters.
For dessert, the pies are okay, but the fried pies are excellent. They need something to hold them with though, because “they taste better when you eat them with your hands.” Though you’ll have to wait for a table, the whole experience doesn’t take as long as at The Spotted Pig.
The waits are long, and the hosts are unapologetic. Wells says that servers can “give the impression that they are going to get up to something at the end of their shift that’s more interesting than whatever [he’s] going to do.This can be charming except when they seem in a hurry to get there.”
He does admit that the food “can be wonderful.” The haddock chowder is a “creamy bowl of winter solace.” When they switched it out for “minted sweet pea soup with soft shredded ham hock, [he] cheered for spring.” The sheep’s milk gnudi, however, popular on almost every blog and with as many diners, “can be gummy and dense.”
Overall, one star for each.
[H/T New York Times]
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