The Quest For The World's Best Burger

Our lone Englishman is hunting for the world's best burger. And he's not going to let a loudmouth lobster fiend nor the hardest waitress in Manhattan stop him from finding it.
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Our lone Englishman is hunting for the world's best burger. And he's not going to let a loudmouth lobster fiend nor the hardest waitress in Manhattan stop him from finding it.

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Too Close

I’m on a life long quest for the world’s best burger. My current ranked number one is Corner Bistro’s, Bistro Burger in the West Village. However, my search continues for a better burger. But, problem is, I mean, it’s a burger. There can’t be much difference between them can there? I might as well be looking for the world’s best pencil. Least that would slow down the weight gain. However, it has become an obsession of mine to locate and then eat the best burger. Surely of all places in the world this is the right place. New York City.

I meet the girlfriend for dinner at Fish, a seafood place we go to, which apparently does a top burger. We are both 26 years old and already have the dining habits of geriatrics. So when the server comes the girlfriend turns to me and says: “Shall we get what we always get?”

The waitress smirks. Starts writing down. I stop her and order the burger instead.

It’s a small place. A bar and then a line of tables for two opposite. We are packed in. There is probably about 5 inches between each table. I always find this difficult. I’m convinced the people next to us are listening in to our conversation. Also, I can barely concentrate on my own conversation as I’m always listening in to the people next to us. I can’t help it. I refuse to help it.

After a while a new couple come and sit down to my left. The man on my side. The girl on my girlfriend’s side. They are not a couple. They are drunk.

Oddly, as soon as they sit down the guy starts to strike up one of them “If we both are single in 20 years we will marry each other.” agreements with the girl. He is a great deal more into it than she is. After a while, she finally concedes and he seems pretty smug about his Plan B. Which I suspect may actually well be his Plan A.

My mum claims you should never talk about Money, Religion or Politics at the dinner table and I defy anyone to listen to a clear moron drawl over the words “Over 200 thousand dollars a year.” and not instantly agree.

He orders lobster, it arrives and now all bibbed up gets louder. Louder and louder. Forks and glasses fly off the table. Language gets coarser. 5 inches away and I’m annoyed. My girlfriend is starting to get annoyed. Not at them but at me. My pretend interest in the photos of her friend’s newborn is less and less convincing.

Then things go bad.

The guy starts waxing lyrical about his favourite subject. Money. My mum claims you should never talk about Money, Religion or Politics at the dinner table and I defy anyone to listen to a clear moron drawl over the words “Over 200 thousand dollars a year.” and not instantly agree.

He continues as he breaks off a lobster claw.

“I’ve got it all. This guy knows it.”

He points at me with his lobster claw. A speck hits my arm.

Worse though, he is talking about me.

The less drunk member sends over a cursory glance. I pretend to be engrossed in my girlfriend’s photos.

Sadly, the guy continues.

“He’s probably jealous of me too. He hasn’t got this. He’s got to be jealous.”

He points to his full head of hair.

This has gone too far now. The guy is practically sat at my table ridiculing me. What do I do?

I break. I turn to him and say. “I’m really not mate.”

Silence. My girlfriend is dumbfounded. I’m pretty dumfounded. Why did I get involved? This isn’t like me. I’ve broken the pretend invisible wall between tables. You should never do that.

His never to be wife turns to me. She puts her hand on my arm and says: “I’m really sorry.”

Sorry. Like it’s an illness. As if I’m dying.

The guy remains silent until we leave. He looks confused. Baffled I guess that someone sat inches away from him might hear the utter drivel emanating from his lobster-specked gob.

To be fair though, he did have a lovely head of hair.

The burger was ok. (7/10)

The Quest

A stomach I trust has told me I trust that ‘Paul’s Da Burger Joint’ is the place to go in my hunt. It’s on 2nd Avenue in the East Village, so we take a walk. I promise I’ll treat the girlfriend. We walk in. It looks like a long abandoned TGI Fridays now taking over by squatters. The waitress looks up. She gives me the V Sign. Up yours.

“Two?” She barks.

We nod.

She’s scary. Her eyes and her nose are facing opposite directions. Could take the both of us in a fight. We sit down and peruse the menu. It all looks good. Burgers.

I take a look around the place. Normal tat on the wall, passive aggressive written signs about paying in cash… Oh no. I look at the big fella sat at the counter chomping on a massive burger. His back is facing us. His shirt doesn’t reach his jeans. There’s a gap. There’s a chasm of arse. Big white flesh. I can’t even escape it, even if I turn my head the other way. There are mirrors on both sides. An endless reflected bottom. I hope the girlfriend doesn’t see. She’ll go mental.

The hardest waitress in Manhattan steams over. Flicks over the notepad.

“What we having babies?” She says

Babies?

She’s happy when she has finished the burger though. Genuine pride on her face. And ketchup.

We both order. 1/2 a pound of beef, extra cheese and bacon isn’t enough. I fancy a milkshake. The US is doing terrible things to my once rake like figure. I legitimise it by believing it’s cultural to over eat. It’s cultural to over fill sandwiches’ at home. I can blame this country all I want but it’s my greed isn’t it?

“What milkshakes do you have?” I ask.

“Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla and Michael Jackson.” She says. Her mad face breaks into a smile on the last option.

Oh dear. Michael Jackson. Don’t ask. Don’t ask. Get Vanilla.

“What’s Michael Jackson?” The girlfriend asks.

“Black and white.” says the waitress.

“Black and white?” I say.

“Yep.” She grins.

“Ok. We’ll get that.” I say.

She brings the drinks and burgers.

Despite that fact I was drinking a milkshake that managed to be both racist and mocking of the dead it was delightful.

I put away the burger in record time. Decent. Yer know. Just another burger. My search doesn’t end here. The girlfriend keeps ploughing away.

“Tom?” She says.

Oh no. She’s clocked it.

“That ass. Look.” She says.

“I know.” I say.

“You didn’t tell me?” She says.

“Why would I tell you?” I say.

“Tom, seriously? Is that a health and safety violation? Oh no, you can even see it in the mirror” She says.

“Finish your burger.” I say.

She does. As she ploughs on I catch her regular peeks at the man’s arse crack. She’s happy when she has finished the burger though. Genuine pride on her face. And ketchup.

Top burger (8/10)

The journey continues...

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