The Experience: I love bowling. I’m not good at it, but I love it. But with the closing of Lucky Strike near Union Square and the exorbitant prices of most bowling alleys in New York City, I don’t get to the lanes as often as I’d like. But when my buddy Mike, whose friendship is one of my fondest because I met him during a Burger Adventure, suggested that we get a group together and head down to Melody Lanes in Sunset Park because there’s a taco trunk permanently stationed out front, I was in.
But being me, I also had to know what the hamburger situation was at the Lanes, and indeed Melody’s website confirmed that there were burger options available. Melody Lanes is significantly cheaper than just about every bowling alley in Manhattan, and most in Brooklyn as well (even the infamous Gutter is more expensive). When I saw their snack bar, my hopes that my burger meal would be decent diminished. Nothing could be seen but a static fat of grease in the fryer, and the woman behind the counter had just burned her finger. After making sure she was okay, I asked for a cheeseburger and mozzarella sticks and was told to continue bowling until my name was called. I was skeptical.
Burger Ordered: Cheeseburger
The Taste: Things turned around when I went to pick up my food. Aesthetically it looked pretty decent, so I immediately snapped a picture. When I did so, the burned woman behind the counter perked up, as (unsurprisingly) obnoxious food photography isn’t particularly prevalent at Melody Lanes. She seemed flattered, so I was determined to find something I liked about the burger.
I didn’t have to look too hard. Yes, it was a typical low-grade snack bar burger. But it was definitely not terrible. It was topped with enough cheese to give its moderately seasoned patty some much-needed character. The real surprise was how soft and fresh the bun was. It made each bite a comforting experience. It came with a pickle wedge on the side, so I threw that bad boy inside my burger as a dill delight. I’d be lying if I said that the pitchers of beer my group shared didn’t positively influence my experience, as I didn’t even mind that some of the mozzarella sticks had burst in the fryer and lost their filling. But at the end of the day, are you really going to bowl and eat a burger without having a couple plastic cups of beer?
The Verdict: When you get a look at this place, you’ll know that gourmet burgers have to business here. But if you’re hungry and not in the mood for the taco truck outside, you won’t be unhappy with the hamburger. And make sure you tell the lady cooking your food that the guy who took a photo of her burger said hello.
Melody Lanes is located at 461 37th Street in Brooklyn, New York.