Despite what some may say, going to Luger’s is not like going to the opera. Everyone thinks you need to plan months in advance and drop major coin on a limited number of options. Not true. Here's the secret: The Luger Burger. You can go to Luger’s any weekday afternoon, sit at the bar, and get out (stuffed) for under $20. And that’s not by scarfing rolls and sipping a soda-pop. I'm talking cheeseburger, fries, and a beer. It’s the opera equivalent of a Verdi matinee in the Family Circle section at the Met, but I’ll save that for another post. All you need to know is that you can do it, it’s easy, and it’s one of the best burgers out there.
To start, the beef comes from the trimmings of their world-class porterhouse, ground and blended with prime chuck, and then packed into generous 1/2 lb patties. I ordered mine medium because they’re so thick, and I prefer my burger pink, not bleeding and of the consistency of wet toilet paper (bad image, sorry). The outside is perfectly broiled with a light caramelized crusting and then crowned with a molten pad of yellow American cheese. There’s a thick slice of raw white onion on the plate (take it), and you can either top with the classic Heinz 57 or Peter Luger’s Steak Sauce. Don't get cute though; you don’t need to gussy up this war horse—if you try, likely you'll be belittled by the waitstaff (more than usual). The sesame seed bun provides the perfect amount of absorption. Toss in a handful of grease-saturated steak fries and you’ve got yourself a classic all-American burger.
The Luger Burger: The Pickin' Burgers Index
Price: 3 ($11.00 with cheese and fries).
Convenience: 2 (If this wasn’t an objective metric, it would score a 1 because you can only get the burger during lunch (11:45 am - 4:00 pm) and one of the two locations is in Great Neck, N.Y. which is only convenient if you’re one of the 9,538 people that live in Great Neck, N.Y.).
Taste: 9.9 (Luger’s is a place for purists, not foodies. The trimmings of their world famous meat get ground daily into burger fuel and fashioned into generous, robust ½lb. patties that bleed more like a steak than a burger: prime, fatty and full of flavor. Fortunately, you can soak it all up with the sesame seed bun and fries).
Total: 14.9 (out of 20).
The Pickin' Burgers Index explained:
Taste is ranked on a 10-point scale, and is entirely subjective, entirely at each individual reviewer's discretion.
Price and Convenience are objective measurements on a 5-point scale. For Price, a "5" is given to burgers costing less than $2.50, a "4" to burgers costing $2.50 to $10, with a point drop for each subsequent $5 price increase (a "3" for $10-$15, a "2" for $15-$20, etc., to a "1" for $20+).
For Convenience, a "5" is awarded to burgers served at over 1000 locations, a "4" to burgers served at 100-1000 locations in more than 30 states, a "3" to burgers served at 10-100 locations in more than one state, a "2" to burgers served at more than one location in a city or region, and a "1" to burgers served at one location.