The Burgerati was formed as a nice way for the gentlemen of the Georgetown Preparatory School’s ’04 Graduating Class that lived in NYC to get together at a nice place. We were young and still cutting our teeth in the city, so the burger as an economic option was very much part of the play. Although considering our first burger was one of the most expensive in the city– the Black Label Burger from Minetta Tavern– perhaps I’m romanticizing. But we all loved burgers and graduated from the same high school. So it was with great pride that we feasted on fellow graduate David Chang’s Momofuku Ma Peche burger.
The reviews were stellar, as multiple Burgerati members were heard vaulting it into their top 5. It led with a delectably smooth eating meat accompanied by bacon and onion jam, topped with aged cheddar and served alongside kimchi pickled veggies and medium-cut fries. But it was the bun that stole the show for me. A sesame potato masterpiece that was crisped to perfection along the edges and held everything together perfectly.
The building that houses three Chang concepts under one roof is the boutique Chambers Hotel, built in 2001. In order to enter Ma Peche from the Street, you must walk through milk bar before walking downstairs to a dining room with double height ceiling, soft lighting, and walls adorned in long pale drapes. Located behind milk bar on the first floor is Fuku+, which is a great spot to grab a cocktail (Momofuku is the type of place the messes around when it comes to cocktails, see: Booker and Dax) and an extension of their fast casual fried chicken sandwich joint Fuku. You can also enjoy the MP Burger at Fuku+, and they have experimented with specials like this Juicy Lucy in the past.
Over at Chang’s most polorizing concept Nishi, Korean and general asian cooking with Italian influences. His lunch and happy hour only rendition using the impossible burger– vegan meat that bleeds!– has turned what was rumored to be a loosely crowed lunch, into long waits from foodies dying to see what its all about. And my bet is that it lasts.
I walked in 30 minutes after lunch service opened and it was a full house. Every place setting had an impossible burger on it. I sat at the bar solo, and the bartender asked me straight up if I wanted the burger. It was a plain potato roll this time (is he buying them from Martin’s? I wouldn’t be mad) and served room temp (not grilled). Pickles under the patty with a very Shake Shack-esque special sauce, fresh lettuce and tomato atop. The impossible burger is a thing of beauty… its impossible to tell you aren’t eating the real thing. I was confused and delighted while devouring the decoy burg, and I immediately wanted another one once finished. Saam sauce is recommended for the side of fries it comes with that hit as a knockoff on McDonalds (hold the fast food depression), all for $12; I got mine w cheese for a dollar extra, and there was also a vegan bun option. Behold the future: