There aren't too many places in the City that have a burger that can stand against the namesake "Salvation Burger" from Salvation Burger. Think steak-on-a-bun, like Peter Luger and Minetta Tavern... this burger belongs on that elite list.
After winning 2 separate Michelin stars at two previous restaurants (The Spotted Pig and The Breslin) primarily for the burgers offered at each, James Beard winning chef April Bloomfield decided to open a new joint in Midtown dedicated to the burger, and it does not disappoint.
Bloomfield selected her cattle ranch and slaughterhouse personally upstate, uses only locally sourced ingredients, has a few butchers diligently crafting patties in the basement, all in the name of having complete control over the whole burger and its contents. The meat on the burger is expertly cut and ground in-house, with a high fat ratio that is tough to get right from distributor or store bought meat.
The burger patty was about the diameter of a hockey puck, and about 50% thicker. We had 6 people in our party, and ordered 6 Salvation Burgers, all medium rare. Each burger came out of the kitchen identical: hot and fresh, cooked perfectly to medium-rare, each topped with the same crispy onions and perfectly toasted sesame bun, top and bottom. The flavor of the meat shined through, seasoned minimally with salt, pepper, and maybe a few other undistinguishable elements, yet focused solely on bringing out the natural flavor of the meat.
Bloomfield cooks all of the burgers over a wood-fired grill. That is unheard of for a restaurant of this size that is pumping out this many burgers. The wood-fired grill added a tiny bit of smokiness that complimented well with the onions.
Aside from the burgers, the McDonald's inspired thin shoestring fries were spot on, and the shakes -- OMFG the shakes -- were amazing. I highly recommend the Toasted Marshmallow shake which captures the taste of the campfire classic in a cup lined with caramel sauce and thick vanilla ice cream.
The waitstaff was well trained, helpful, and knowledgeable about the menu, despite only being open for 2 weeks at the time of our visit.
Almost everything was perfect, but there were a couple of minor bad spots during our outing. The host lost our name in the iPad app they used to track tables. When we went back 2 hours after dropping in our name to check on the reservation, they looked it up and it was nowhere to be found. Salvation Burger did end up hooking us up with a table immediately for the trouble, but if we had never come back to check and just waited for the text, we would have been waiting a long, long time.
The menu is pricey, with the Salvation Burger weighing in at a whopping $25. I think it was worth it, being in the upper echelon of burgers in the City, but damn good burgers can be found for much less in the City elsewhere.
The ambiance of the place (at least at night) is a little dark for my taste, more night-clubby than fancy burger joint. Pop some candles in there or something, people want to see each other, as well as Instagram this amazing burger.
Overall, I give Salvation Burger 4.5 stars out of 5. I hope you get another Michelin Star Chef Bloomfield, you definitely deserve it on this one.
Salvation Burger: ★★★★½
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