Few gustatory pleasures compare to sinking your teeth into a juicy patty of grilled ground meat tucked inside a bun. Maybe there is cheese melted on top. Maybe the chef has put a fried egg on top. Or nothing. Whether tricked out or naked, the burger is an essential on the dining scene. While we’ve eaten thousands over the years, here are our 10 latest favorites, ranked.
10. Shake Shack
Shake Shack, Multiple locations: At this updated take on a classic Midwestern roadside burger stand, the juicy Smoke Shack burger is topped with cheese, Niman Ranch bacon, chopped cherry peppers and Shack Sauce and a mildly spicy pinkish mayo-based sauce, all served on a Martin's potato bun that's buttered and toasted.
BBD's, Rocky Point: Although owner Ralph Perrazzo's12-ounce wood and charcoal-grilled burgers have won many awards, we find more satisfaction in the smaller, griddle-cooked quarter-pound burgers topped with lettuce, tomato, pickles, griddled onions and the house mayonnaise-based pink sauce. Served with fries or a salad.
8. Brixx & Barley
Brixx & Barley, Long Beach: The beefy, juicy, expertly grilled burgers are a big attraction here. The Brixx burger is a real firecracker, featuring fried onion wisps, jalapeno and Cheddar. It's plated with very good hand-cut fries. More extravagant is the grilled cheese cheeseburger, a grilled patty with bacon, tomato and grilled onions tucked between two thin grilled cheese sandwiches. Served with fries or tater tots and slaw.
7. New York Burger Bar
New York Burger Bar, Massapequa: At this burger-centric spot, the simple Cheddar burger comes off the grill crusty, juicy and done precisely to order. A modern classic, the "Juicy Lucy" comes stuffed with American cheese, topped with grilled red onion, tomato, pickle and a pink mayonnaise-based sauce. Served with fries or slaw.
6. Bobby's Burger Palace
Bobby's Burger Palace, Garden City: At Iron Chef Bobby Flay's burger chain, a standout is the L.A. burger, topped with avocado relish, Cheddar, watercress and tomato. The meat is seared on both sides on a flat-top grill, then steamed. The result is plump and juicy, done to request. Flay's fine hand-cut fries cost extra. (Other location in Lake Grove).
5. Old Fields
Old FIelds, Port Jefferson: The burger served at these gastropubs ooze beefy mineral-rich juices. For an all-out debauch, try the "Davey Gravey," that same burger sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Comes with choice of fries or another side. (Other location in Greenlawn).
Relish, Kings Park: The delectable cheeseburger at Relish is made with freshly ground chuck, seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper, and served on a buttered and grill-toasted potato bun. Served with fries and another side.
3. Still Partners
Still Partners, Sea Cliff: This busy bar with a vibrant music scene offers the well-seasoned Cooney burger, commanding attention with its depth of mineral-rich flavor. Comes on a toasted English muffin with fries on the side.
2. PeraBell Food Bar
PeraBell Food Bar, Riverhead: Not to be missed is PeraBell's exceptional "chophouse" burger -- thick, smoky, crusty, beefy and juicy. It's served on a bun that's just the right size, making for easy eating. Served with pickle and coleslaw. (Other location in Patchogue).
1. Ceriello 541 Club
Ceriello 541 Club, Williston Park: Done precisely to order, the plump 6-ounce burgers here are made with all prime beef, a blend of brisket, sirloin, short ribs and chuck. Once on the griddle, they're salted and covered with a lid; the steam speeds the cooking process, but it comes off to let the burgers develop a nice crusty char. The finished burger is served on a perfectly proportioned Martin's potato roll.