Culture Spot
by Danielle McClure
Jul 20, 2010 | 476 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Well, the haute burger craze has finally hit Astoria and I am, admittedly, overwhelmed. Between Sweet Afton’s lip-smackin’ Pat La Frieda Afton burger topped with Irish cheddar and fried onions to Crave Shack’s outrageously sinful doughnut burger (served on, you guessed it, two toasted glazed doughnuts) to the cheap and greasy, late-night goodness of Petey’s, I’ve been having trouble keeping up with all the burger buzz in my ’hood. Bare Burger, yet another hot burger spot that opened a little over a year ago on 31st Street, takes an organic and exotic spin on the American classic— and I finally had the chance to go check it out.

Bare Burger is certainly not your average burger joint. The menu boasts grass-fed meats including elk, ostrich, lamb, bison, grilled chicken, turkey (Portobello mushrooms for the veggie-friendly) and, of course, quality Piedmontese beef. Plus, a nice selection of organic beers and wine, and one of the best milkshakes I’ve ever had.

Building your burger to suit your taste is what makes dining at Bare Burger so much fun. In addition to selecting your meat of choice, you can even choose your bun: brioche, 7-grain, whole-wheat wrap or (if you dare) a carb-free burger wrapped in crispy iceberg lettuce. You also get the option for add-on toppings (avocado or farm-fresh fried egg anyone?)

During my visit, on a very sweltering Sunday afternoon in the midst of World Cup fever, the place was packed but the wait staff was super attentive and incredibly informative - and when it comes to “exotic” meats, having a server that knows which cooking temperature is preferred is crucial. I was bummed that the bison and – surprisingly - ostrich burgers were all sold out, so I opted for a very tasty and lean elk patty (cooked medium rare) on sweet, chewy brioche topped with crispy applewood smoked bacon, aged cheddar, red onion and mayo.

I’m not a stranger to elk (thanks, in part, to my big game-hunting relatives back home) so I was delighted that my burger wasn’t overcooked. In fact, it melted in my mouth and it wasn’t over-seasoned, like I half-expected. When it comes to a burger: if the flavor of the meat really shines, you know that they know what they’re doing.

The panko-crusted onion rings (cooked in peanut oil) are light, crispy, barely greasy and served with the option of nine different dipping sauces. The curry ketchup was a tasty treat, as was the spicy chipotle mayo. The best and most surprising part of the meal was dessert. Who knew an organic milkshake could taste so good? The thick but not too sweet peanut butter chocolate shake was served (as it should be) right in the stainless steel mixing cup, and loaded with tiny chunks of milk chocolate and swirls of creamy PB. It made this chocoholic very, very happy.

Yes, there are also salads on the menu, but I don’t know why anyone would bother. If you want to feel a little “healthy” (or at the very least guilt-free) after gorging on delicious pub fare, then Bare Burger is it. In fact, it’s so good, and wildly popular, that a Manhattan outpost is currently underway in the West Village. Bare Burger has already staked its claim as the best burger in town and I can’t argue with that.

33-21 31st St.


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