It’s hard for me to get excited about fast-food burgers: Despite the recent proliferation of upscale purveyors, they all taste the same to me whether they’re all-natural, all-Angus, all grass-fed, etc. Once you take a thin disk of meat, griddle it until no trace of pink remains and stuff it on a bun with lettuce, tomato, cheese and sauce, the taste of the beef is all but impossible to discern.
So, I tend to judge burger joints by the fries and the malteds. That’s why I’ve always liked Cheeburger Cheeburger (Farmingdale and Great Neck) and Bobby’s Burger Palace (Lake Grove, Roosevelt Field), both of which score highly in both non-burger categories. Shake Shack (Garden City) has fantastic malteds, and soon it is supposed to switch from previously frozen fries to fresh, hand-cut ones. I like the fries at Bareburger (Great Neck), but they don’t offer malteds there, only shakes. My entreaties (“Can’t you just stop by the supermarket and buy a jar of Carnation Malted Milk Powder?”) have thus far been ignored.
A recent visit to BurgerFi in Woodbury (there’s also one in Oceanside) proved a disappointment on all fronts. The burger was particularly bland, and a bit tough, too. The fries looked good, but were short of flavor. The malted tasted artificial and I could not detect in it the distinctive tang of malt powder.
My friend and I wondered about the derivation of the name BurgerFi. Was it an allusion to the U.S. Marine Corps’ motto Semper Fi? (We’re always faithful to the burger?) Or a signal that we’d always find a strong wireless signal? Nope.
“Even with its glorious history,” according to BurgerFi’s website, “it was not until recently that we began to experience a Burgerfication of the Nation.” Hmm. So it seems the "fi'' is short for burgerfication. Would not have guessed that.