Burgers Ordered: Matt – Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger; Steve – The Bleu Cheese Burger; Brad – The Bacon Cheeseburger.
The Experience: If they’re being completely honest, the Burgermeisters never really intended to go to Staten Island on a Burger Adventure. They were perfectly content hitting the other four boroughs in an effort to give New Yorkers an idea of where to get the best burgers.
All that changed when, while at a gathering with old friends, Matt was challenged by a Staten Island resident to come sample what has been oft called the best burger on the island. Never ones to back down from a challenge, the Burgermeisters decided that it was time for them to conquer the fifth borough, on the condition that there be tour guides in place to get them from the ferry to the restaurant.
And so after what turned out to be a rather painless trip by sea, Matt and Brad were picked up and escorted to Duffy’s by Tatyana and Steve. The drive wasn’t long, though the Burgermeisters soon realized this was the only time they’d had to travel to a Burger Adventure by three separate modes of transportation (subway, ferry and bus).
Duffy’s looks like any other Irish pub you might come across. Being that Staten Island, like all of the outer boroughs, is more suburban than Manhattan, the typical patron was considerably older than your average Burgermeister. But that isn’t to say that the Burgermeister crew included the only under-30s in the bar. Being a Friday night (did you think the Burgermeisters would make an overseas trip during the week?) there was a short wait, but the bar made that wait feel short, as did the good company. Once seated, the restaurant felt no less chaotic. The wait culture is casual and the wait staff will not hesitate to shout to one another to get what they want. The patrons didn’t hesitate to shout at each other either, obviously blowing off all of their steam from the week. This place is not for volume-sensitive burger lovers.
The Taste: Matt and Steve both ordered the French onion soup. Brad stole some of the mozzarella cheese that had dripped over the side of Matt’s bowl and thought it was delicious. Matt said that the soup itself was out of control good.
There were two specials on the menu, and in true Burgermeister fashion they were both ordered. Though Steve isn’t the biggest bleu cheese fan on the planet, he took one for the team and ordered the Bleu Cheese Burger, hoping it wouldn’t be too drenched in the eponymous topping. As this was Steve’s first Burger Adventure, he followed the Burgermeisters’ leads and ordered his meal medium rare. He was very happy with that decision. He said that the burger was juicy and was happy that the bleu cheese wasn’t terribly abundant because it was rather bland. As there was a ton of bacon being shared around the table (more on that later) Steve said he wished that some of that had come on his burger. He said that the English muffin that the bun was served on was a plus.
Matt was very jealous of the melted American cheese he saw elsewhere on the table. It’s his favorite cheese for a burger, but he wanted the Smokehouse BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger the way the menu spelled it out, with mozzarella cheese. He said that the bacon was really good, and that the BBQ sauce had a nice, bold smokehouse flavor. The patty was cooked the way he likes it, and molded thick the way he likes it as well. The waffle fries got Matt’s endorsement with his “da bomb” label. Matt went against the grain in saying that he didn’t like the English muffin as a bun for this burger. He felt that it was too small for it to support the patty and toppings. None the less, he thought it was a good burger overall.
Brad was incredibly pleased with the amount of cheese that topped his bacon cheeseburger, as it came on multiple layers of the burger. The bacon was very crispy, salty and delicious. The traditional fries were satisfactory and the pickles, though not quite as dill as Brad typically likes, were a welcome crunchy addition to the burger. What made this burger great for Brad wasn’t the way it was cooked (appropriately medium rare) or even the flavor of the patty (which was tasty but not mind-blowing), but rather the English muffin. Steve liked it, Matt didn’t, but Brad couldn’t stop talking about how much he felt that the flavor and texture of the muffin accentuated
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the final member of our motley Staten Island crew. Tatyana, though a gracious host and an enthusiastic and supportive tour guide on our outer borough excursion, is apparently not so fond of red meat. She ordered a meal that did indeed look decadent and delicious, but this wouldn’t be Burger Weekly if we let that go without pointing out that a deluxe grilled cheese…
Verdict: Is Duffy’s home to the best burger on Staten Island? Probably. We have no evidence to the contrary and it was a tastier burger than more than a few the Burgermeisters have eaten in Manhattan. For residents of Staten Island there is likely no better place to get your hamburger fix. The real question is whether or not it’s worth it for non-residents to get on the ferry for this burger. Your decision should be based entirely on whether or not you have someone that can get you from the ferry to the restaurant.
Duffy’s is located at 650 Forest Avenue between Bement Avenue and Oakland Avenue.