Burger Joint (West Village)

I remember when Burger Joint in Le Parker Meridien (LPM) hotel was the best kept secret in town. I used to go there when I was in college. One of my friends was hip to all the next-best burger places in the city, and welcomed me to the wonderful (and then-hidden) world of Burger Joint. Nowadays, when you go to LPM for a burger, you’re destined to meet a long line of hungry patrons and a no-seating situation.

burger joint cheeseburger

cheeseburger

That’s why it’s so very important that Burger Joint has expanded to the West Village. Situated on 8th Street by Macdougal, Burger Joint is easy to miss. Don’t expect a street address or sign reading “Burger Joint” when you go. Just look for the signature burger that’s emblazoned in the front left window.

When I arrived, I almost asked someone if I had, in fact, walked into Burger Joint. But as soon as I saw the cardboard sign in the window displaying the Joint’s hours, I knew I had found the place. You see, at LPM Burger Joint, the menu is listed, in Sharpie, on a slab of cardboard. The no-frills atmosphere of the hotel version–which is a dive, and that’s being generous–is nearly replicated at the 8th Street location. Yet there’s something classy about the dim lighting and secret room and long, skinny booths at the new Burger Joint that elevates it, in a way. (The menu and instructions for how to order your burger are listed on cardboard, by the way.)

So, how was the burger? Divine, as usual. The LPM Burger Joint serves up one of my favorite burgers, and the 8th Street location is definitely among the top contenders for best burger in the city. I ordered mine with “the works”: ketchup, mayo, mustard, tomato, lettuce, sliced pickles, and onion. All this was on a perfectly rendered patty topped with cheese and laid artfully on a squishy bun. Okay, so maybe it’s not artfully done (as you can see in the picture), but the taste is tops–and that’s what’s important, right?

burger joint fries

french fries

And the fries are stellar. Served in a little brown bag, the shoestring french fries were perfectly salted–as in, not overly salted–and crisp. They were full of potato flavor and fantastic.

I love Burger Joint’s no bullshit approach. I like that they wrap the burgers in white butcher paper and hand them to you directly from the kitchen. I like that there are paper plates on the counter in case you need one for your ketchup and fries. I like the cardboard on the walls and windows and the long, empty bar near the entrance. And, most of all, I like that you can get a seat at this Burger Joint. Apparently, NYU students haven’t found it yet.

So, you must try the new Burger Joint. It’s conveniently located just a block or two from the West 4th Street subway station. Washington Square Park is but a few steps away, so even if the students catch on, you can always take your burger to the park.

Burger Joint

33 West 8th Street (by Macdougal)

West Village, NY

Take the A/B/C/D/E/F/M to West 4th Street. Exit by 8th Street and walk a block or two. 

Molly’s Cupcakes

I love cupcakes. There, I said it. If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you probably know that already, but I had to put it out there again.

Knowing I love cupcakes, someone once gave me a gift card for Molly’s Cupcakes that she couldn’t use. (She’s gluten-free and Molly’s offers nothing edible for her.)

molly's cupcakesLocated in the West Village down on Bleecker Street (by Carmine and Sixth Avenue), Molly’s Cupcakes brightens up the block with its bright yellow exterior and delicate sign with “Molly’s Cupcakes” emblazoned upon it. When you peer inside, you’ll notice a banquet up against the right wall with a number of tables and grade-school chairs in front of it. What will steal your attention are the swings, right smack in front of a coffee bar. I wasn’t so sure about the swings–can I really take a cupcake place seriously if it has swings indoors?–but the last time I went to Molly’s, I saw a number of people enjoying their cupcakes and coffees while merrily seated upon them. Swings work.

More important than the swings are Molly’s eponymous cupcakes. They’re incredible. Priced at a whopping $3.75 per serving, the cupcakes are dressed to impress. As My Dining Partner contended, the cupcakes involve a great deal of care and preparation, more so than those of Magnolia or Sugar Sweet Sunshine, making their high price point more palatable. Why so much care and preparation, you ask? If you get up close to the display case, you’ll notice an array of flavors, first of all. Molly’s is not about your standard vanilla/chocolate permutations. No, Molly’s is all about variety. Kahlua, Nutella, Peach, Red Velvet, and Cake Batter  are just a handful of the flavors you’ll find. And they’re beautiful. Hand-frosted and -decorated, Molly’s cupcakes are each filled with a corresponding substance (such as the frosting that’s on top of the cake) that delights the eater once he or she gets to the center of the cake. I know I was surprised the first time I bit into one, and even on my most recent visit, when I had forgotten about the prospect of filling, I found myself overwhelmed by the stuff in the middle.

kahlua and cake batter

kahlua and cake batter

So, how do they taste? In a word, delicious. Recently, we tried the Kahlua cupcake and the Cake Batter cupcake. The Kahlua cupcake is chocolate with Kahlua flavoring and a light chocolate-Kahlua-y frosting. In the center, the liquid filling tasted of Kahlua–a dream for any drinker. The Cake Batter cupcake was too big to finish (but I did anyway), and tasted of Funfetti with a rich buttercream frosting. Cake batter–that must have been injected post-oven–filled the middle and seeped out of the bottom of the cake. The real winner at Molly’s is the Peach cupcake. It’s a vanilla-peach cake topped with a white frosting and a wedge of peach perched on top. The peach was sweet and the frosting was creamy. It was fantastic.

If you’re tired of Magnolia’s hum-drum sugary offerings, you’ll want to try Molly’s. Mix up your cupcake consumption a bit with a giant, expensive, fun-filled (literally) cupcake from a cupcake shop that will steal your heart.

Molly’s Cupcakes

228 Bleecker Street (by Sixth Avenue)

West Village, New York

Take the A/C/E/F/M/B/D to West Fourth Street and walk south on Sixth Avenue.