Tuesday, February 17, 2009

burger aficionado

if you've seen morgan spurlock's "Super-Size Me" you know one thing is true: fast food is the DEVIL. it's cheap, unhealthy and easily accessible; a ploy devised by mega-corporations to transform honest, hard-working americans into the fat, lazy slobs the rest of the world knows us to be. i couldn't agree more, but here's the thing -- fast food is awesome. we all know it's true, but no one likes to admit it.

fortunately, a new class of fast food restaurants is on the rise. DC-based, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and local new-comer, Petey's Burger, share a penchant for fresh ingredients and made-to-order service. they travel along separate trajectories towards the same point of impact; a "fast food" paradigm shift, where fast food facilities evolve into quick service restaurants.

43 W 55th Street; various locations
New York, NY 10019

according to their website, the five guys burger chain started in the DC-metro area circa 1986 and has since expanded to over 300 locations in over 25 states. i believe the first NYC outpost opened in 2008.

five reasons five guys is a one of a kind:
  • ONE - they boast that none of their locations are equipped with a freezer, a guarantee that only the freshest ingredients are used.
  • TWO - they only use idaho potatoes to make their french fries. a frequently updated sign on the wall provides the name of the town in idaho from where that day's batch of potatoes hail.
  • THREE - double burgers come STANDARD. that's right, if you want a single burger, you'll have to order a "little hamburger", like a bitch.
  • FOUR - ALL TOPPINGS FREE (save for cheese and bacon).


-- i prefer the cajun fries over the regular, they've got some tang to 'em. the portions are large, too large to be contained by that diminutive foam cup; a bevy of fries will inevitably find their way to the bottom of the brown paper bag in which they are served. the fries are thick-cut, and have a tendency to get soggy if not fresh out of the fryer - i prefer shoe-string variety for this very reason.


-- a double cheeseburger, to be exact. not the most diligently arranged burger i've ever had, but delicious nonetheless. two all-beef patties smothered by copious amounts of melted cheese and ample add-ons; framed by a lightly toasted sesame seed bun. NICE. the burger was out of sight, and if you consider yourself a burger aficionado, i strongly recommend you get your ass in gear and head over to five guys post haste.

: the meat was under seasoned and a bit too lean for my taste.

30-17 30th avenue
astoria, ny 11102

petey's burger is a recent addition to the food scene in astoria, queens. so far as i know, they operate out of one location, however, i gather they are an east coast knock-off of the popular west coast burger chain, in-n-out burger. astoria has been in dire need of a proper burger joint for some time now. does petey's fit the bill? i submit that it does.

FRIES-- bad ass shoes-string fries; crispy as hell, if not a bit too starchy. not as large of a portion as five guys, but still plenty generous. the fries were adequately seasoned, but they needed a little something extra. a dusting of cajun spice a la five guys would have been sweet, or better yet, i'd like to see petey's offer a selection of novel dipping sauces similar to NYC burger co.

BURGER-- again, a double cheese burger. you can tell just by looking at it, this is a well crafted sandwich. meticulously stacked with care and finess; alternating layers of vegetation, meat and cheese. the bun was fresh and the meat was juicy far beyond the likes of five guys. best of all, someone took the time to actually SEASON the meat! imagine that, properly seasoned beef from a fast food joint - or rather, quick service restaurant.

bite for bite, petey's has a better product than five guys, however, they have to broaden their scope and zazz it up with some bells and whistles. i don't know if FREE PEANUTS is the route to follow, but FREE TOPPINGS and unique dipping sauces certainly do hold promise.

FULL DISCLOSURE: petey's is a bit pricey for what they offer. just a bit.

everything in moderation, right?

© 2009 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable" - http://www.missioninsatiable.com/

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