Man vs. Food

Burgers Ordered: Brad – BBQ Bison Burger; Matt & Amanda – M&M Burger; Ivy – The Mexican; Abby – The Artisanal; Erin – Greek Lamb Burger; Barrie, Lauren & Rebecca – The Rare Classic.

The Experience: The Burgermeisters were part of a staff appreciation dinner at work. As such they were joined by their coworkers and supervisor. The group decided to go to Rare so that the dinner could be documented on Burger Weekly, a topic of increasing popularity at work. Brad and Matt were thrilled to have so many guest Burgermeisters.

The east side installment of Rare doesn’t take reservations, but they did allow Brad to call ahead an hour to let them know the Burgermeisters were bringing a sizeable party. When the Burgermeisters arrived however (and to be fair, they were a little late), the place was packed and there was no room for them. The hostesses were very friendly and drinks were served during the hour that they waited.

After being seated the Burgermeisters immediately asked for two baskets of french fries (which come in cottage, sweet potato and french varieties all in one, along with a slew of dipping sauces) and a couple orders of frickles, recommended to them by their bosses daughter and the daughter of one of Rare’s owners.

The group was hungry and the fries were devoured quickly. Brad and Matt came to learn that though fries somehow go into a different stomach, that’s only true if they are eaten AFTER the burger. Lesson learned the hard way, as we will see later. The frickles were delicious, both in pickle and in batter. They came with a dill sauce that outclassed all of the sauces that came with the fry basket. As such Brad and Colin used the dill sauce for the fries and the frickles, forgoing all the inferior chipotle, bbq and mustard sauces that came standard.

You’ll notice Colin was mentioned but not listed in the “Burgers Ordered” section. That’s because Colin went rogue and decided not to be a guest Burgermeister at the last minute. He ordered a tuna sandwich, but as the Rare menu let us know…

Despite his status as a former Burgermeister, Colin’s Rare dining experience will not be documented. We have standards.

The bus boy prematurely took away the frickle plates, forcing Brad to make a last minute grab for the final frickle. This was not the last time this phenomenon occurred on this night.

Though it took quite a while for the burgers to be served, once they did everyone was chomping at the bit to become satiated.

Presentation: Every burger came with two delicious pickles. The Burgermeisters are really dying to know where Rare gets its pickles, since they’re pickle crazy. Even the word pickle is delicious… pickle.

Brad’s Bison Burger came cooked to order, gooey with BBQ sauce. It was messy as hell, and he warned that people ordering it shouldn’t wear a white shirt.

Matt’s M&M Burger seemed to come incredibly rare as it bled all over his plate. He was very excited, but as we’ll read later that excitement led to disappointment.

Amanda and Ivy cut their M&M and Mexican Burgers in half and split them with each other. This was a Burger Weekly first, though likely not the last time a split will occur.

Erin’s Lamb Burger came topped with feta and pesto and had a salad on the side. It was a very classy looking burger.

The fried eggs on Rebecca’s burger looked delicious and unique, but she too would be let down by her meal.

Taste: Brad really liked his BBQ Bison Burger. It was rich and lean. Each bite was a meal in itself. It tasted and felt like a manly burger. But Brad ran into problems about halfway through his burger. It turns out the Burgermeisters’ french fry theory (that you can eat as many fries as you want no matter how much burger you ate and not get full because there’s a secret stomach inside you designated for fries) only applies to fries eaten after the burger, not before it. The fries and frickles that Brad gorged himself on made it seeminly impossible to finish his burger. But Colin taunted him for stopping, and since Colin didn’t even order a real burger Brad felt he had to power through and prove that he is a true Burgermeister. Every bite was a fight. The rest of the table looked at Brad as though he were insane (and disgusting) but in the end he finished and continues to hold his head up high.

Matt was unpleased with his M&M Burger. As stated above, though it seemed to be bleeding onto his plate, once he took a bite he found it was cooked far too well done. The Burgermeisters were baffled by this phenomena. If any readers can explain how a burger can bleed but then be discovered to be well done after taking a bite, we’d sure appreciate the knowledge. Matt had no qualms about not finishing his burger, leaving the last few bites of the patty untouched and pulling off and eating the bacon and cheese. He was almost defiant in his refusal to eat the entire burger.

For her part, Amanda loved the M&M, so there are divergent opinions on the matter. Hers was cooked to perfection. Ivy liked what she ate of Amanda’s M&M as well. As for Ivy’s own Mexican Buger, she enjoyed the first bite but grew bored of the Mexican flavors after a while.

Rebecca barely touched her Rare Classic with a fried egg. We didn’t get much of an explanation for this except that she seemingly wanted it to arrive on her plate still mooing and instead it came rather well done. Another hunk of meat went largely undevoured.

We had a hard time getting a beat on Lauren and Abby’s opinions on the Classic and Artisinal, respectively, as there was a lot of non-Burger Weekly related conversation going on. Neither seemed overly thrilled, but that could be due to the way Abby’s job beats her down during the day and the fact that Lauren is pregnant. We’re still researching.

Erin said she loved the bun her Lamb Burger came on, but felt that the burger itself was overpowered by the pesto and feta. This is a classic problem in burger condimentry. She was also plagued by an overeager bus boy who took away her plate before she had a chance to eat her side salad. Erin is unforgiving and this spoiled her night.

The Verdict: The table was split, but leaned toward not being overjoyed with the meal. After a long work day and an hour-long wait to be seated the burgers just weren’t enough to satisfy everyone. Brad was satisfied, but that’s largely because he had a mini-episode of Man vs. Food at the table and kept himself entertained. Amanda also left happy, but the rest of the table definitely wanted more from Rare.

Rare is located at 303 Lexington Avenue between 37th and 38th Street.

Article by Brad Garoon

I run this burger joint.


  1. I’ve always enjoyed Rare, though the bus boy being obnoxious phenomenon isn’t limited to your visit. I think you got a bad night.

  2. This could be. Brad liked Rare before going there with Burger Weekly. But the Burgermeisters have to give the real-deal rundown about their experience going together.

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  4. Both locations of RARE Bar & Grill accept reservations now. For the Chelsea location you can reserve on Opentable and for the Lexington location you can reserve on Urbanspoon.

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