It seems that several neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn have recently been populated with a new burger restaurant style. Daisies in the West Village and Mighties in the Lower East Side’s Market Line are examples that both offer great versions of a classic cheeseburger.
The latest burger wave started last year in Brooklyn, in places like Cozy Royale and Burgie’s, where the beef toads shrank from behemoth bistro size to a smaller, extensively seared, butcher-driven standard. Operators with an eye for franchising made burgers the focus of their quick casual menus and concentrated further on smart branding. There were multi-patty versions for those who demanded more meat, and vegetarian substitutes made by Impossible Meat and others.
Months later, the trend swept into downtown Manhattan neighborhoods with revenge as four new locations quickly opened up: Morgenstern’s, Bronson’s Burgers, 7th Street Burger and Smashed, all turning wonderfully greasy burgers oozing cheese at prices ranging from $ 6 to $ 12. From there, 7th Street is the best, though the most imitated Shake Shack model. It had an even more frugal menu than Shake Shacks, while elegantly evoking the working classes of the past, like a crumpled black-and-white photo of a place your grandfather might have visited.
Now, two more burger joggers have appeared in the center in a similar style. Daisies Better Burgers opened just three weeks ago in a narrow space on Hudson Street near 10th Street, in a storefront that has been like a revolving door for restaurants for the past decade – most recently a place that offers brunch all day all week . The cream-colored facade, which is open to the street, has a bright red awning that makes it shine brightly on the block, and strong white tables cluster on the sidewalk in front.
Ordering is done from a counter at the back and you can see the kitchen fill the space behind. The counters consider the sustainability and ethical procurement of the ingredients, and the site actually has a page showing vendors naming Niman Ranch as the source of its beef. Three burgers are available, the classic (hamburger, $ 11; cheeseburger, $ 12), a baconburger ($ 13) and “fancy b” ($ 15), which offers an upgrade of truffle mayo and gruyere, instead of American cheese.
I tried the classic cheeseburger on two separate occasions, and the first time it was a little dry and overcooked, but the second time it was amazing, cooked medium rare and sizzling with pink juices. On a shiny brioche bun, Daisies’ burgers are topped with plenty of lettuce, including lettuce, tomato, sweet pickles and red onions, perhaps in an attempt to make them even more virtuous. The effect is not bad – especially if you are a fan of the old California garden burger style. However, if the pie is not cooked to perfection, the mild-tasting beef pulls back into the background during the vegetal attack.
Another aspect of this burger should be mentioned: in addition to plain mayo, it comes smeared with something called Daisies relish. Upon thorough examination, it turns out to be a kind of tomato compote, perhaps thought of as a substitute for ketchup. It’s not bad, but you do not want it on your fries. Incidentally, these french fries ($ 4.50) are yellowish, sprinkled with herbs and on the mushy side, though they come festively wrapped in tissue in an enamel glass, as if it were a beautiful bistro. A fried cauliflower ($ 7) is better, which seems to bloom in the Middle East.
Although the beef from Daisies is mild and unconscious, the meat on the Mighties (note the similar streamlined lack of apostrophe in the branding) is intensely flavorful and not just as a result of its careful wounds. This new burger counter, an offshoot of the nearby Ends Meat butcher, bravely moved last month to Market Line, the pandemically challenged dish under Essex Market.
The shallow kitchen is the place for insane activity, and the menu that uses what is listed as “grass-fed beef” offers only two burgers as well as french fries and a hot dog plus a high-end dry-aged burger ($ 22) on Fridays. The two-patty Mighties burger ($ 16) is the thing to get. It comes on a strongly sesame-seeded bun that is thankfully not a brioche, with nothing but raw onions, American cheese and a sauce that flakes with a mustard note, though it no doubt contains many other ingredients. The meat is not only intensely flavored, but has also been aggressively salted, causing the flavor to explode.
French fries are also good-skin-on, firm and full of flavor. The cheeseburger ($ 13), which also sports salad, tomato, pickles and the same sauce along with American cheese, was not that good. The farmers at market level are stacked high distracted from one of the sweetest tasting burgers I have ever tried. Incidentally, the sausage ($ 7) topped with frizzy onions and shallots is also worth ordering.
So I would recommend the regular cheeseburgers at Daisies and the Mighties burger at Mighties, though I would skip the fries for the former in favor of the fried cauliflower side and go with the excellent fries on the latter. Still, both burgers ask for comparison with the one at 7th Street Burger, which is better in my opinion.