Monday night. Time for a celebration, a celebration of Ben's birthday. And also, time for a burger.
What burger? The RUB Burger, available Monday nights only at RUB BBQ in Chelsea. I had heard good, no, great things about this burger and was very excited to try it. Mondays come and Mondays go and finally, I found a Monday night free for burger eating with a side of cause of celebration.
This burger, smashed into the griddle to produce a magnificently greasey crust and topped with grilled onions, American cheese, and lots of pickles (pickles that aren't just there as a token topping but serve a purpose in the grand flavor & texture scheme of the burger) on a wonderfully soft bun, is just magnificent. Dare I say perfect? Yes, I dare say it. One bite into the RUB Burger and I could tell it was the perfect execution of the chef's wishes for this burger.
Don't let the pictures deceive, this isn't a slider but a sizeable (yet thin, but that's the idea) burger. I gobbled mine up in maybe a minute and a half (pausing to take this second picture of all the juiciness oozing out of the backside of this wonderful thing) and said on the spot I'd eat three more. Perhaps this burger is only available once a week for the good of the world, for the good of my health? 24hrs later and I'm feeling absolutely fiendish about it.
Fellow diners, Chris and Jeff. Not pictured: Steve or the Birthday Boy. But he was in that top picture.
Also Great: Refills on rootbeer and onion straw (or strings?) as perfect (for what they are) as the burger. The perfection in everything I tasted leads me to believe that RUB's standard BBQ items must be of the highest quality and deliciousness, as well.
Oh, and because of a minor burger mix up we were given a batch of RUB's chocolate chip and bacon cookies. Can't see any bacon here, but it was in there.
In sum: RUB Burger=My favorite burger in the city right now. I've already made my appointment to go back next Monday, I'm pushing for too much of a good thing as quickly as I possibly can.
Addendum re: Smashed Burgers
I said that the RUB Burger was cooked smash style. Lots of great burgers are cooked this way, and by "this way" I mean: the meat is placed on the griddle in the form of large, loose meatball and then smashed down real hard and real flat on the griddle by the chef. But doesn't this defy two key burger conceptions: 1) That you should handle/press the meat as little as possible for fear of losing juices and 2) Aren't burgers best from the grill? The response: 1 & 2) Yes, but then the burger both develops a tasty (and in the case of the RUB burger, absolutely delicious) crust and gets to cook in its own juices. The results: wonderful.
Other fine burgers cooked after the manner of the smash:
The burgers at Culvers, I assume, from their thinness and crustiness (and it doesn't hurt that a huge pat of butter is added to the process).
The burger at Smash Burger, a little chain popping up in the west. For the product of a fast food system, I found my Smash Burger to be pretty good but not amazing. One major flaw was the bun, way too big, way too thick. More appropriate for a giant grilled patty. Some fine tuning and this would be a great place, but I don't know that chains are places where fine tuning takes place.
The burger at Bill's Bar and Burger in the Meatpacking District (and soon Rockefeller Center): This burger put me into a fit similar to the one I'm having over the RUB Burger when I first had it. One bite and I could only think: "See! This is what a burger should taste like!" And I still love this burger, I still want it again! But the RUB Burger is definitely greasier (a positive) and tastier, so how about I say Bill's is the burger in the city I'm most excited about on every day of the week except Monday?
Excellent Additional Reading: A Hamburger Today's Smashed burger of New York Rundown.