As soon as I heard that April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig, The Breslin, John Dory, Tosca Cafe) was opening her dream burger place with Ken Friedman in New York, I was ready to walk over to the Midtown location right then. SALVATION BURGER is quite the love letter to the burger, featuring a grind from whole sides of beef they butcher in-house. What’s interesting is the mix can change depending on what cuts they are using, but what remains steady is that the patties are grilled over a wood fire, and the beef is from upstate.
The Salvation Burger ($25) is a beauteously thick and strapping and well-formed patty, cooked to a glorious mid-rare, juicy and savory and all the things you want from a burger. But I was bummed the initial topping of caramelized onions and Taleggio had been swapped out for smoked blue cheese and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, which I found too assertive. I would have loved it more just totally plain, to be honest.
Our table’s hands-down favorite was the Classic ($17), a glorious homage to the Big Mac, featuring two well-browned patties, housemade American cheese that melts all over, the ever-necessary “special sauce,” and pickles, on a housemade and glistening bun loaded with sesame seeds and brushed with aged beef tallow. It’s a good thing this burger is a 30-minute crosstown walk from me. It was one of the best burgers I’ve ever sunk my choppers into, that is for damned sure. There’s also fish on a bun, a veggie burger, and a house-smoked hot dog, which I am sure are all great too but I don’t know how I could pass up the Classic Burger ever again—we are soul mates.
The fries come out hot and salty but are an additional $7, ow, and starters like wood-roasted oysters ($13 for three), beef heart ($12), and bone marrow ($12) will all vie for your attention. The buttermilk dressing on the green salad ($11) made it the creamy salad I have been craving, but the toasted poppy seeds in there will be allllll up in your grill.
Our table was way into the butterscotch Scotch boozy milk shake ($14), and don’t miss the bottled Brooklyn cocktail ($22 for 200ml), which comes with a spherical ice cube you can pour your booze over. The wine list full of quality picks you can get by the glass, 500ml carafe, and liter. I know, so metric. And beer lovers, you can get pints and growlers.
The décor has some fun touches, like lampshades featuring illustrations of cuts of beef in different languages, and the booths (which is where you hope your group gets seated) feature a TV screen with a burning log on repeat. On my list for next time: the banana cream pie and boozy grasshopper milk shake.
The kitchen is open 12pm-4:30pm and 5:30pm-midnight, but the bar is open 12pm-2am. 230 E. 51st St. at 3rd Ave., New York, 646-277-2900.
The namesake Salvation Burger. All photos: © tablehopper.com.