Burgers Ordered: Brad – The Iron Horse; Matt – The Black Jack; Frankie; Bacon cheeseburger; Kathryn – The Black & Bleu.
The Experience: The Burgermeisters have been trying to go to Black Iron Burger for a while. Many of the Little Meisters recommended it, the Burgermeisters take recommendations from their friends and readers much more seriously than bad reviews online. That in mind, some of the Little Meisters had accused the Burgermeisters of an anti-downtown bias. Nothing could be further from the truth. And so, the 16th Burger Adventure sees Matt and Brad make their way to Black Iron Burger, with Matt’s lady Frankie and her friend Kathryn in tow.
The Burgermeisters have started to notice that you can tell a lot about a burger joint based on the culture of the wait staff. Places like J.G. Melon and Dononvan’s Pub have older waitresses wearing tuxedo shirts, and those places attract an older crowd. Places like the Stumble Inn, Go Burger, Mother Burger and Genesis essentially have “bar girls” as waitresses. Those places put as much emphasis on the alcohol as the burger. Black Iron Burger has no dress code, and the wait staff is a product of the neighborhood. Our waitress wore a red flannel shirt, and the waiters/bartenders that came along throughout the night rocked serious, well kept mustaches. All of this very much straddled the East Village-Lower East Side line of appearance.
The Burgermeisters divvied up the specialty burgers as they always do, Kathryn being a good sport as a newbie and getting the last one available. An order of fries was ordered for the table. Everyone asked for a glass of the Black Iron Ale, which our waitress described as their take on a PBR. Nothing could have excited Matt more.
Everyone watched as the cook grilled up their burgers in an open kitchen. Kathryn immediately pointed out that Brad’s Iron Horse, which is a double burger, had leaner patties than the rest. He was mildly dejected. They noticed the intense amount of seasoning being mixed for these four burgers and wondered what they’d gotten themselves into.
The Burgermeisters were particularly taken by the wall of napkins and plastic cutlery next to their table. The wait staff obviously doesn’t like to be bothered by petty requests and have made cutting food and cleaning chins a DIY experience at Black Iron Burger.
Presentation: Matt missed a brilliant opportunity to snap a photo of all our burgers lined up next to each other on the bar. Everything came served on a silver platter, literally. Well probably not literally silver, but that’s how it looked. The saloon-like atmosphere extended to the meal with these metal plates (not to mention the insane restroom, more extravagant and period-inspired than anything else in the restaurant).
The fries were reminiscent in both appearance and taste to McDonald’s fries, except far less greasy (though no less salty). Each burger came equipped with the requisite pickle spear. Brad noticed it was a dark pickle and assumed correctly that it was kosher dill and delicious. The bun was nicely toasted and everyone’s meat was properly cooked medium rare.
Taste: Nobody tried to cut their burger in half and everyone likely regretted it at some point, because these were sloppy, juicy burgers. It’s a good thing the Burgermeisters had the biggest wall of napkins ever assembled at their disposal. Kathryn held her burger with her pinkies out, not because she’s pretentious, but because the burger was just that messy.
Everyone took one bite and then started housing their burgers. Matt said that all four must have been Slow-Down Burgers, but Brad, having eaten too quickly, squirmed on his stool and said he was a Readjust Burger, because he had to change his position to get more of it to fit in his stomach.
Of his Blackjack Burger, Matt said the chili and jalapeños gave his burger amazing spice, and that he needed a fork to clean the remnants of his burger off of his plate once the bun was gone. He said having the chili on top made him feel like he was eating two meals in one. He also said the bun was “the bomb.” Sigh.
Brad had no trouble, readjusting aside, getting his double pattied burger with horseradish cheddar and grilled onions down the hatch. He was initially hesitant to get the burger because he doesn’t love horseradish, but the cheese perfectly complimented the intense flavor of the patty, the sesame seed bespeckled bun and the perfectly grilled onions.
The Verdict: The Burgermeisters felt that this was a huge rebound from last week’s disappointing outing at J.G. Melon. Everyone left full but ready for more fun. They made their way to ACE Bar across the street for some skeeball and pool. After having a couple Black Iron Ales they kept the taste alive on their palates with PBRs. Frankie burped up a little of her bacon cheeseburger at the bar and said it tasted almost as good on the way up as it did on the way down. What a classy lady.
Black Iron Burger is located on 540 E 5th St near Avenue B.