Burgers Ordered: Brad – Jamaican Jerk Burger; Matt – BBQ Burger.
The Experience: With NYC in the grips of a brutal heatwave the Burgermeisters were looking for a place to cool them down. Firehouse is a proud supporter of the FDNY, so there seemed no better place to go to get their burger fix for the week. The bar/restaurant is decked out with fireman themed flair, with no shortage of dalmatians.
Brad has spent many a night at the Firehouse and had always admired the burger selection. Firehouse’s sandwiches (burgers, veggie burgers, turkey burgers and chicken sandwiches) can all be dressed in one of six ways: Jerk, BBQ, Mexican, pizza, Bubba and Buffalo style. He thought that was pretty cool, but turned out to be great on paper but flawed in execution.
It must be noted that the waitress immediately informed the Burgermeisters that the bar was out of Goose Island, impressive considering restaurants they’d been to before the creation of the blog waited until food had already been ordered and waited on to tell them of its absense from the kitchen. Brad found it funny that both he and Matt ordered burgers, they took pictures of their food AND Brad wore his custom made Burger Weekly shirt for the first time, but the waitress didn’t pick up on the fact that her food was being critiqued.
Presentation: The burgers came quickly, cooked to order (medium rare, obviously) and accompanied by sexy fries, a pickle and slaw. The fries were quite delicious but the Burgermeisters wondered why something that makes you feel so unsexy are called sexy.
The buns came on the burger, a pet peeve for Matt and a problem for what turned out to be overdressed burgers. In fact Brad’s bun was so doused in jerk sause that the bottom half was untouchable and had to be cut in half.
Taste: Brad’s Jerk Burger had rich and flavorful toppings. The Jamaican jerk sauce was complimented very well by the mushrooms and mozzarella, but frankly he thought there was just too much of it. When the toppings overwhelm the burger you’ve failed the Burger Weekly challenge. And given that the burger, while properly cooked, wasn’t particularly flavorful, it was all too easy for the Jamaican-inspired combo of condiments to distract from the patty.
Matt felt largely the same way about his BBQ Burger. In fact he said they OD’d on the barbecue sauce. He liked the taste of the sauce and the cheese that topped the burger, but felt that the taste was unable to mask a burger no more special than one you’d find in a chain restaurant.
The burgers were sizable and the “sexy fries” were aplenty. Both Burgermeisters were full before they finished their hamburgers, but were still able to down every last fry. They decided that fries must go into a different stomach than everything else, because there’s always room for more fries.
The Verdict: Firehouse is a fun place to go for a drink, with nice waitstaff, a friendly manager and a chill atmosphere. However, on the burger scale it comes up short. Nothing separates the patty from any other run of the mill restaurant’s offering, and the toppings that try to mask this problem end up overcompensating and ruining the bun. Maybe one day the Burgermeisters will go back and see how the variety of sandwich styles taste on a chicken sandwich, but for now it’s safe to pass on this burger experience.
Firehouse is located at 522 Columbus Avenue at West 85th Street.