Joe Junior All Beef Burger Restaurant Coffee Shop
Stuyvesantown, New York, NY
Review by Diana, Wraith6
There are times when nothing but a burger will do. But you're not talking about those fast-food things which aren't burgers so much as they are buns with a grease slick between them. Or if not a greasy thing, not is it a piece of cardboard left out in the rain.
No, you want a burger which is something from your fantasy imagination, but not the type of thing that you see on cartoons, however. We are now older and wiser and more realistic about our hungers. We don't want something miniscule, but neither do we want something so large that we have to either ask for a doggy bag or leave most of what we paid for behind. "Dagwoods" are the stuff of fantasy and bragging rights, but if you ever told anyone you'd eaten one, they'd likely think, "No wonder you're so tubby!"
The burger of our dreams is slightly wider than the bun, and short enough to fit into our mouths without causing discomfort, embarrassment, or the innards of the burger to shoot out and make a mess on our clothing. The bun is toasted, and it's served with a pickle that is not too sour, or too mild, with just enough crunch to feel "healthy." There should be a little cup of cole slaw, again with a bit of crunch and enough dressing to make a nice burger topping if you're that way inclined. And finally, there should be a pile of fries which are not cut so small that they get unpalatable as they cool, and have enough substance that you get to enjoy the potato within, rather than the too-thin sticks being a medium for frying oil consumption.
This place looked promising they have the word "burger" right in their name! For completeness, we ordered a beef bacon cheeseburger with a slice of American cheese, and a turkey burger with nothing on it. Both were ordered "deluxe" which means with tomato, lettuce, onion, fries, cole slaw.
The things did not come out pronto, which is a good sign. They look at least 10 minutes maybe 15, which is about how long one expects the cook to need to get to it, cook the patty fresh, and plate up. There were not too many fries (a good thing), and all the required "sides" were on the plate, too. They didn't screw up the order or try to force the naked turkeyburger eater to order more stuff. It's like they understood the need for a "pure" burger experience, and they let us have it.
The burgers were tasty and cooked as requested (though there is no choice for turkeyburgers they are always well-done, but this was was still moist). There was a bit of char, but not overcooked, just enough to add that quasi-grilled flavor. The toasted buns were crispy on the surface but allowed themselves to be squashed down if preferred. And there was not too much lettuce or tomato, and the latter was sliced properly so it wasn't too thick or clunky in a sandwich.
Accompanied by soft drinks, this was the ideal lunches of our youths! Well, they would have been if we'd been eating at a Woolworth's lunch counter maybe. But this place did have that dowdy 1970s look that some grandmother's would have loved. It reminded us of stained pine-paneling in the basement and Wonderama on TV. We liked the wavy walls and acrylic chandeliers, though we wondered what sort of time in history would have thought such things were "classy." Maybe they were aiming for "cheesy" all along?
This place is almost a classic coffee shop, but the food is better and the mirrors are divided up along wavy walls. The place is clean, too. And the bathroom is small, but serviceable, and marked with an "Employees Only" sign, but that's probably due to a churlish manager from days of yore.
The service was very good. It was quick and attentive without being overbearing, and though they consolidated the half-filled ketchup bottles in plain view of the customers, things were clean and they never made you feel like you were a pain, like many diner servers might. They didn't try to be familiar or clever or talented, they were simply excellent conveyors of our orders, which is the definition of perfect service.
We liked this place a lot, and the tab came to just over $12 for two of us, with drinks and coffee. We were too full to try desserts, but we felt lucky enough to have found the ideal burger joint, and didn't feel that we should press our luck more than that!
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