Sorry for the delay. Busy weekend of doing nothing.
The sandwich: Bacon Cheeseburger from Double Windsor, 16th St. and Prospect Park West, Brooklyn.
The construction: Ground Pat LaFrieda beef with American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, cooked medium rare. The standard burger at Double Windsor comes with neither bacon nor cheese, but they’re both available as add-ons. They also offered cheddar and blue cheese.
Important background information: I pretty much always want a cheeseburger. Unless I’m absolutely stuffed to the point of feeling disgusting, there’s just no situation wherein someone might offer me a cheeseburger and I would reject it. If I were wearing a white suit in the car on my way to Puff Daddy’s White Party and you were like, “hey, I got you this Big Mac but they went a little crazy with the Special Sauce,” I’d probably still eat it and show up with a big grease stain on my pants and embarrass myself in front of Tila Tequila and Nick Cannon.
In my mind, there are four primary categories of burger: There’s the basic fast-food burger, the upscale fast-food burger, the pub burger, and the fancy burger. Though typically the upscale fast-food burger (a la Five Guys, Shake Shack) are better than the basic fast-food burger (McDonald’s, Wendy’s), there’s a great variance in quality of burgers in each category. The upscale fast-food and fancy burgers probably see the greatest variety of toppings on average, but sometimes a pub will surprise you with some Canadian bacon or something. Every category of burger has its place, and every category offers some great burgers.
Before she was my wife, my wife used to judge me for frequently ordering burgers at restaurants that weren’t specifically burger places. To me, though, the burger is the best standard by which to judge a restaurant. The floor for burgers is so high that if the burger is only OK, the place is probably just so-so and I didn’t want any of that other stuff anyway. If the burger’s outstanding, I’ll return and eye something else on the menu, only to ultimately just order a burger again because the burger was so good and how can you go wrong with a burger?
What it looks like (after some instagramming):
How it tastes: Excellent. The bacon cheeseburger at Double Windsor is about as good as you can reasonably hope for a pub-style burger to be.
The meat’s so juicy, burger-juice pours out of the back of the thing like a faucet while you’re eating it and covers your mixed-green salad with a delicious burger-juice dressing. And though it’s not a massive burger, the meat is thick enough to keep the portions correct; the beef in no way gets drowned out by the toppings.
The toppings are great too. I got American cheese because I was in the mood for the burgeriest burger, and American seems like the de facto burger cheese. I typically order cheddar, but partly because I know I might get judged ordering American cheese. Time to break those shackles: American cheese is delicious. It melts better than every other cheese (because of an emulsifying salt that prevents the oil from separating under heat), and it’s creamy and salty and cheesy and great. You’re not better than anyone; stop hating on American cheese and admit that some of this country’s mass-produced staples can be pretty damn delicious in the right use.
The bacon is bacon, and there’s a lot of it. It’s good, flavorful stuff, too. One slice was cooked a little less crispy than I might prefer, but that’s nitpicking. Plus, the other slice provided plenty of crunch for the sandwich. The bun tastes sweet and fresh and mostly holds the burger together — though it withered under the grease after a while.
Lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions: All good, all perfectly proportioned. One slice of lettuce for some crunch, one bun-sized piece of tomato for sweetness and moisture, a few small pickles and a small handful of diced onions for flavor.
I ate this burger immediately after playing nine innings of baseball under an unrelenting sun on the hottest day in weeks. It was exactly what I was looking for: A big, juicy, satisfying burger to eat during a spirited postgame brodown.
When I was done, I wanted another. So it goes.
What it’s worth: My primary gripe is the price. The burger alone costs $12, but since the cheese and bacon cost extra the whole thing costs over $16 with tax. Everything’s delicious so you’re paying for what you get, but that’s a lot for any burger.
The rating: 85 out of 100. Five dollars cheaper and we’d be talking about the Hall of Fame.