Hamburgers no longer are the same old grind.
From toppings as unusual as peanut butter and corned beef to burgers made with elk and ostrich, Long Island is a proving ground for experiments and extremes.
The origins of the hamburger continue to be debated, usually at a high pitch and with more than one beverage fueling the argument.
Did an American decide to stick a ground-beef steak between two slices of bread? Did Germans, whose frikadelle also is known as a Hamburg steak? Does it go back to ancient Rome, the Mongol empire, or Delmonico’s in the 19th century?
There was a lot of mincing going on before a castle in white and arches in gold started dotting the national landscape. And it has led to some novel concoctions, truly hamburgers gone wild.
Newsday ate its way across burgerland, riding the newest wave of hamburgers, answering the late Clara Peller’s immortal question: “Where’s the beef?”
Here it is —- and then some: 10 burgers with something to declare, along with alternatives.
Belmont Steaks at New York Burger Bar
Belmont Steaks at New York Burger Bar (4225 Merrick Rd., Massapequa): A new entry at New York Burger Bar in Massapequa, the Belmont Steaks burger justifies its ingredients: dry-aged beef blend with Cheddar, onion rings and horseradish aioli, presented on a pretzel bun. A winner, at $17.95. Alternatives: Place goes to the Fire Island burger, riding with Cheddar, chili and avocado, at $16.95; show, to Hamptons BBQ, with applewood-smoked bacon, barbecue sauce, onion straws and pickles, at $14.95. More info: 516-799-9199, nyburgerbar.com
Village Elk Burger at Burger Village
Village Elk Burger at Burger Village (Multiple locations): Neither the village nor the eatery is Jackson Hole. At Burger Village in Hicksville (216 Broadway Mall) and Great Neck (66 Middle Neck Rd.) , the elk burger arrives lean, tender, a lot like beef, and not gamey. “All-natural, antibiotic and hormone free.” Recommended toppings are pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, sauteed mushrooms, jalapenos and “signature sauce” that suggests ranch. Total: $13.89. An alternative: the Village ostrich burger — also like beef and very lean. Have it medium-rare with blue cheese, sauteed onions and mushrooms, bacon, lettuce, signature sauce. Total: $19.42. More info: burgervillageny.com
Vertigo Burger at Elevation Burger
Vertigo Burger at Elevation Burger (437 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Plainview): You’d have to be as obsessed at James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece to confront this 10-patty tower at Elevation Burger. Add cheese, bacon and a couple of other toppings, and your burger rises about a foot, held together by two vertical skewers. Come hungry or with the softball team. Cost: $31.50 before toppings. An alternative: the guacamole-ranch burger, very L.A., for $10.75. More info: 516-433-8070, elevationburger.com
BBQ Mac & Cheese Burger at Babylon Burger Bar
BBQ Mac & Cheese Burger at Babylon Burger Bar (1 W. Main St., Babylon): Babylon Burger Bar delivers a thick, satisfying burger on a challah bun, to which is added bacon, cheese sauce and enough macaroni and cheese to suggest a lava flow. $16.95. It makes the house poutines seem modest and the giant Bavarian pretzel a snack. An alternative: 3 Lil Pigs — the house blend “infused” with bacon, topped with candied bacon, crisp pork belly, barbecue sauce and a solitary, crunchy onion ring, $16.95. More info: 631-620-3362, babylonburgerbar.com
Brooklyn Bridge at Burgerology
Brooklyn Bridge at Burgerology (Multiple locations): Burgerology’s ode to New York City’s bridge of bridges crowns the “signature blend” burger with corned beef, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing on a pretzel bun. Your own span may broaden along the way. $15.95. An alternative: the Edison burger, finished with a sunny-side-up egg, bacon jam and maple aioli, which sounds like a hangover remedy but is a tribute to inventor Thomas, who apparently loved his eggs this way. $15.95. Locations in Rockville Centre (226 Merrick Rd.) and Huntington (308 Main St.). More info: burgerologyrvc.com
Pub Triple Double at Smashburger
Pub Triple Double at Smashburger (Multiple locations): This updates Smashburger’s popular Triple Double Burger. The limited-time-only creation is made with two beef patties, three slices of cheese, grilled onions and mustard on a pretzel bun. Flavorful and about $4. An alternative: the Triple Double itself, of course, with two patties, three cheese slices, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickle, ketchup and Smash sauce, which brings together mayonnaise, mustard, pickles and lemon juice. About $6. Locations in Lindenhurst, East Northport, Hicksville, Wantagh, New Hyde Park and Port Washington. More info: smashburger.com
"Impossible" Burger at Bareburger
"Impossible" Burger at Bareburger (Multiple locations): This remarkable burger is all plant-based. It took five years to develop. There’s wheat in it and potato. The key ingredient is heme, described as a “building block of life on Earth, including plants.” It’s also “uniquely abundant” in meat. The mock-meat burger tastes terrific, looks the part and even has juices flowing. Toppings include: American cheese, caramelized onions, dill pickles, special sauce, And it’s kosher. Tasted at Bareburger in Plainview, the Impossible Burger is becoming increasingly available. $13.95. An alternative for heavy-user carnivores: the Paul Bunyan, made with bison, blue cheese, bacon, bourbon-pear jam, caramelized onions. $14.95. Locations in Plainview, Great Neck, Rockville Centre and Port Washington. More info: bareburger.com
"Beyond" Burger at BurgerFi
"Beyond" Burger at BurgerFi (Multiple locations): Another very respectable burger for vegetarians. It’s plant-based and juicy, too. The main protein in the Beyond Burger at locations in Woodbury (8063 Jericho Tpke.) and Commack (6234 Jericho Tpke.) is from peas. Beets contribute the beefy hue and the appearance of juices that would run from a traditional hamburger. Tasted at BurgerFi in Woodbury, $9.47. An alternative for meat-eaters: the CEO, a blend of Wagyu and brisket, candied bacon, tomato jam, truffle aioli and Swiss cheese, $7.97. More info: burgerfi.com
Bruno Burger at Amity Ales Brewpub & Eatery
Bruno Burger at Amity Ales Brewpub & Eatery (192 Broadway, Amityville): Named neither for the late wrestler Sammartino nor singer-songwriter Mars, this burger celebrates an owner of Amity Ales Brewpub & Eatery in Amityville. The beefy burger is served bun open to expose the bacon, Cheddar cheese and, most important, the unmistakable coda of molten peanut butter on top. Not as out-there or unpalatable as it sounds. You’ve had beef satay with peanut sauce, right? $15. An alternative: Amity’s namesake burger stuffed with Cheddar jack, bacon and jalapenos. $15. More info: 631-464-4646, amityales.com
Kitchen Sink at Vauxhall
Kitchen Sink at Vauxhall (26 Clinton Ave., Huntington): With a title to evoke the ice cream extravaganza remembered from Jahn’s vintage shops, Vauxhall gastropub in Huntington sends out a juicy burger festooned with bacon, pepper jack cheese, short rib, macaroni and cheese, and crumbled barbecue chips on a brioche bun. It’s a high-rise that’s held together with a steak knife plunged down the middle. Cost: $18. An alternative: the Evil Sal burger electrified with spicy ghost pepper marmalade, for $16. More info: 631-425-0222, vauxhallhuntington.com