In leaving NYC, one aspect of life I was looking forward to was the affordability of this area so it is ironic to me that what I find myself missing this week is that NYC delicacy known as the $16 burger. (OK, it starts out at $13 or $14, but you have to get cheese on it!)

I had been a vegetarian on and off for the better part of my life, my Dad cooked mostly chicken and seafood at home and tons and tons of fresh pasta (more on this later). We also had a large salad at every single meal. So, I have never been a huge burger (red meat) eater and when I ate burgers at friend’s cookouts, they often would upset my stomach.
Over the past few years, back in NYC, the hamburger (much like other humble American foods recently, for example – fried chicken, etc) experienced a high end makeover and has been elevated to pricey entree on menus throughout the city. This trend delighted me, a casual burger eater, willing to invest in more of a burger experience, shall we say.
A regular burger eater may snif at this but for me, forking over almost $20 bucks for a burger was an investment not only in tastiness, but quality. When eating beef, this is a pretty big concern for me. I like my burgers rare.
“So rare that you may feel afraid to serve it to me” is about how rare I prefer them.
I felt confident that when ordering a burger at Prime Meats or say Henry Public two neighborhood spots, that not only will they know how to treat the meat, but that what I was paying more for was quality.
In other words, the beef did not come from Sysco.
Last Monday, I suggested to my husband that my vital energy was low (blame my acupuncturist for that excuse) and I needed a hamburger. We quickly ran through our neighborhood options for a place I could order a delicious rare burger and feel ok about it and we came up dry. As I don’t cook meat at home, I just made a pizza instead but my desire for a truly well made burger still lingered all week.
It may seem I am putting on airs, I mean who wants to fork over an Andrew Jackson for something they can get for around $5-$10 bucks at almost any restaurant they walk into- but I have never become ill or disappointed with any of my “high-end burger” experiences.
So if Richmond is willing I have a twenty waiting in my wallet…


5 responses to “WHERE IS MY $16 BURGER? (OR- I MISS PRIME MEATS!)

  1. millies has a good burger! balliceaux has a good burger, smaller & delicious, w/ yummy cheese!

    i bet perly’s has a good burger!

    [the best burger in town was at the main street grill, garlicky good meat goodness]

    i am also mostly veg. + fish, visiting venice i indulged in some prosciutto pizza, which led to bacon, which led to a burger or bbq here or there.. is yuummmy…

  2. I love 821’s and Dot’s Back Inn’s burgers with equal passion. However, I am a well done (now medium well since I get tired of the ridicule) kind of person.

  3. If you are looking for a high end burger eaten appropriately at rare, Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel does one really well. If you are recently relocated here you should check the place out anyway and the restaurant has really good food. Upscale but not uncomfortably so. You can eat in the lounge area which is still more casual and kind of swank. Check it out.

    Also, though a chain and a random addition to the list, Fuddruckers on Broad St. makes a really good straight-up freshly ground burger cooked to order (they too do rare). Not made with prime aged beef but, even to a discerning palate, very tasty none the less.

    Lastly, if you have a friend who is a member of The Country Club of Virginia go to Ollie’s. No sad club food there. You have to be a member or accompanied by one but the burgers there are divine. Trust me. If you don’t have a friend who is a member we are, perhaps we could arrange a epicuriean rendezvous? I think we could use an excuse to indulge

  4. Thanks for the tips, I will have to look into this Ollie’s and see if I can infiltrate it!

  5. 821 makes the best bacon cheeseburger. dunno about that 16 dollar status, but the burger is hand formed at least. get it with onion rings. nom.

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