By Food & Wine
The burger, America's quintessential comfort food, can now be enjoyed in an impossibly endless number of ways. There are round-the-clock burgers at 24-hour roadside joints and ephemeral late-night burgers sold out in mere minutes; burgers grilled in hundred-year-old cast-iron broilers and burgers steamed in state-of-the-art ovens; burgers crafted from Kobe beef imported from Japan and burgers made with Black Angus beef from just down the road. It's clearly a great time to love the burger. Here, Food & Wine names the best burgers in the U.S.
New York City: Minetta Tavern
Signature Burger: Black Label Burger (topped with caramelized onions).
Minetta Tavern's excellent burgers use a beef blend--dry-aged rib eye, skirt steak, brisket and short rib--from famed purveyor Pat LaFrieda, and buns from Balthazar Bakery.
Photo © Sylvia Paret.
Atlanta: Holeman & Finch
Signature Burger: Burger (two cheeseburgers on a house-made bun).
Star chef Linton Hopkins announces "burger time"--10 p.m.--with the ringing of two bull horns; that's when two dozen grass-fed beef burgers are up for grabs and consistently sold out within minutes. The burgers are also available on the Sunday brunch menu.
Photo © Jeff Moore.
Chicago: Custom House Tavern
Signature Burger: Custom House Burger (short rib and sirloin patty topped with aged Wisconsin cheddar cheese and shaved onion, served in a sourdough brioche bun).
The "Custom House Burger" comes with house-made steak sauce and hand-cut fries.
Photo © Tuan Bui.
Signature Burger: Cheeseburger.
Even superstar chef Thomas Keller is a fan of the West Coast chain--and with good reason. The cooked-to-order burgers are made with beef from Southwest ranches and served with hand-cut fries. For a messier, more indulgent experience, order your burger "Animal Style" for extra sauce and chopped grilled onions.
Photo © Jess Lander.
Miami: Michael's Genuine
Signature Burger: Black Angus Burger (served in a brioche bun).
An optional topping for star chef Michael Schwartz's Harris Ranch Black Angus beef burger: house-smoked bacon.
Photo courtesy of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink.
San Francisco: Zuni Café
Signature Burger: House-ground hamburger (served in a grilled rosemary focaccia).
Instead of traditional cucumber pickles, legendary chef-owner Judy Rodgers accents her burgers with thin-cut zucchini strips pickled in apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds and turmeric.
Photo © Bill Holmes.
Buffalo Gap, TX: Perini Ranch Steakhouse
Signature Burger: Ranch Burger (topped with mushrooms, onions, green chiles and choice of cheddar or provolone cheese).
Self-taught cowboy cook Tom Perini masters the art of open-flame cooking using mesquite coals at his hay barn turned steakhouse, smack in the middle of the state.
Photo courtesy of Perini Ranch Steakhouse.
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