Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Original DB Burger

DB Bistro Moderne once held the record for the world’s most expensive burger.  The DB Royale Double Truffle burger, available during black truffle season (December-March), consisted of a burger patty, red wine-braised short ribs, foie gras, a mix of root vegetables, preserved black truffle—and more black truffles on top (hence the “double truffle.”)  It was $120-$130.  A single truffle version was about $50.

I remember when this burger was all the rage in the media.  Food fit for celebrities, it became a celebrity in its own right.  I think I saw it on one of those “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”  TV shows.  Although I’m sure that if you really want this burger something could be worked out, the menu mainstay these days is “The Original DB Burger,” which according to the menu, still involves at least some black truffles.  At $32, it’s pricey but no longer astronomical—in the range of my much-loved Central lobster burger ($30), and the Black Label burger at Minetta Tavern ($29, to be tackled in a few weeks, stay tuned.)

I’ve actually eaten at DB Bistro Moderne before.  I wasn’t very hungry, so I just had the tomato tatin, but I remember it being lovely.  In fact, this time it was hard to turn down the really delicious fancy offerings here, most of which were around the same price as the burger.

But I had to get the burger.  It was time.

The restaurant serves the burger split in half, so that you can see (and photograph) the artistry right away.  I asked for the pommes soufflés on the side instead of French fries, but they were out.  Not that it mattered in the end.  Next to that burger, they could have served me a bucket full of carrots and I wouldn’t have noticed.

So how was it?  It was meaty.  Delicious, juicy burger meat, short ribs, foie gras…it was like an umami explosion.  The parmesan bun and perfectly ripe tomato (heirloom?  Beefsteak?) were also nice touches.

If you know me, I always save room for dessert.  However, in the middle of this masterpiece, I just said “screw it” and polished off the whole plate.  Maybe it’s because we were heading to Shakespeare in the Park afterwards and we didn’t actually have time for dessert.  But I would do it again.

As for the most expensive burger in the world?  It looks like there’s one that’s $5,000.  
But since the chef couldn’t even pile on enough truffles and foie gras to make it worth that much, he had to throw in a bottle of really expensive wine.

db Bistro Moderne
55 West 44th Street
New York, NY 10036
(212) 391-2400

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