Know what I’m bored of? DuMont Burger. Yes, their macaroni and cheese is rapturous, but I find the burger overrated despite the amount of praise it garners from every corner of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Instead, I much prefer the burger at Manhattan Inn, a sultry, wooded bar and dinner spot just past McCarren Park. It’s owned by Brooke Baxter and Rolyn Hu, who are also the co-owners and creative minds behind beloved venue Glasslands Gallery. If you live in the area, chances are you’ve gotten drunk at Manhattan Inn a few times. However, you should realize that eating there is just as good, especially when you order this insanely delicious, umami-oriented gut bomb. Seriously, this thing is last-meal material, it’s that amazing.
The burger is the creation of skilled executive chef Vitorio Arviv, formerly of Cornelius in Prospect Heights. It comes on a substantial brioche bun and is topped with a seared tomato slice, alfalfa sprouts, aged cheddar, and – get ready for the best part – braised bacon. The braising of the two thick slabs of meat makes them sublimely tender and draws out their savory saltiness, making them taste more like gourmet pork belly than an element of your typical breakfast sandwich.
The patty itself is equally as juicy and succulent as the bacon, with just the right consistency to hold itself together on the bun and fall apart in your mouth, soaking the brioche in its juices in the process. It tastes like a Pat LaFrieda blend of meat, but I have no idea where they source their ingredients in actuality…I just know that I’m into it. It’s also served with house-made pickles and taro chips with spicy mayo. If you’re anything like me, you’ll heap both onto the burger instead of eating them on their own.
Despite how truly great the burger is, it isn’t even the best thing about Manhattan Inn. Top honors go to the ambiance, which comes courtesy of the repurposed school desks, mossy chandelier, booths perfect for conspiratorial huddling, and, of course, the enormous piano. The latter is often helmed by Joe McGinty, founder of the Loser’s Lounge, who has worked with the Psychedelic Furs and the Ramones, among many, many other bands and performers. During their piano karaoke night, I’ve seen many a member of bands I’m fond of sidle up next to him for some impromptu vocal accompaniment.
Go to Manhattan Inn for the sickest meal you’ll have for a while, but stay to get wasted in a place a little more refined than usual. Just remember to wipe the burger grease off your chin, heathen. It’s at 632 Manhattan Avenue between Nassau and Norman in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.