Good Stuff, Shake Shack, Bobby Flay & Capital Grille In the Mix at NYC’s Burger Bash
Tomorrow we’re going to be Bashin’ it up once again, but this time, instead of heading to South Beach, we’re taking the train north for a night full of beef, booze and a whole hell of a lot of burgers at the Blue Moon Burger Bash in New York City.
Set at Basketball City Pier 36 in the Lower East Side, the annual bonanza of beefy delight takes place Friday night and is just one of the many events during the Food Network’s four-day long New York Wine & Food Festival (but the only one we really care about). Like the SoBe affair we attended back in February, Rachel Ray is the host here too, but this go ’round is presented by NYC’s meat master Pat LaFrieda. And unlike in Miami, just about all the burger slingers in this Bash are from the New York area. The lone outlier? None other than Washington, D.C.’s own Spike Mendelsohn.
But while Spike’s Good Stuff Eatery is the only D.C.-native restaurant in the Bash, three other burgers with District representation are in the mix: Shake Shack, Bobby’s Burger Palace and The Capital Grille.
With D.M.V. locations in both D.C. and Tysons Corner, The Capital Grille will be making its Burger Bash debut Friday, but from the sound of their entry, they’re coming to the scene with some style. Serving a version of their “Plates” menu burger, the Grille is hooking up a Wagyu slider topped with quail egg, Havarti and crisp onions served on a brioche bun with a side serving of crispy white cheddar and chive tater tots. Not bad, Capital Grille. Not bad at all.
Crew favorite Shake Shack, which will expand to three D.C. locations next year, will be serving their newest burger, the SmokeShack. Just added to the permanent menu earlier this summer, the SmokeShack is a souped-up Shack Burger which adds Applewood-smoked bacon and cherry pepper relish to their already ridiculously good cheeseburger. We first danced with this thing at SoBe and we’re stoked it’s on the Bash menu again. And exclusive to the NYC Burger Bash is Shake Shack’s Bourbon Pumpkin Pie Oh My– a bourbon frozen custard blended with pieces of NYC baked pumpkin pie.
Now, while Spike says he isn’t intimated going up against all the New York chefs at the Bash, he admits there’s a level of convenience they have that he does not. When deciding on a burger and a side (which he’s keeping secret until the event), he had to choose something that can be completely prepped in D.C. and then transferred up to NYC by car. During the SoBe Bash, he was able to use a prep kitchen and students from Florida International University to help with the setup. This time, he has to use all his own people from D.C. and bring all the food up, ready-to-go, on Friday. But hey, this dude’s a Top Chef alum –he knows all about cooking challenges. We think he’ll do just fine.
As for the final D.C. participant, well, we would love to tell you what 2010 Bash winner Bobby Flay and his Burger Palace is bringing to the table, but we never heard back from him or his people. If we had to guess, he’s probably too busy Throwin’ Down or Iron Cheffin’ it up to bother with our small-time asses, but we’ve got our money on his tried-and-true Buffalo Blue Burger (hot sauce, blue cheese dressing and potato chips) making an appearance– it’s what he hooked up at SoBe.
Since our faces will be meeting almost all of the 31 Burger Bash beefwiches for the first time, and seeing as how averaging over 10 burgers an hour will be a mighty hard task to complete*, we solicited advice on which ones to target first. Shake Shack’s Edwin Bragg is pumped for North End Grill chef Floyd Cardoz’ burger and Spike tells us that he’s most excited to try the burger from Ai Fiori. (“PJ Calapa better have one ready for me!” says Mendelsohn). Other Bash participants that made our short list include the Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien, Bill’s Bar & Burger, LT Burger and defending People’s Choice champ B&B Winepub.
Good Lord, we’ve gotta whole lotta eating to do.
*but don’t think for a second we won’t try