PROFILED: Midtown Lunch’er “Josh Ozersky” & Book Giveaway

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. Today it’s a bonafied New York food celebrity- Josh Ozersky, editor of NY Magazine’s online food blog “Grub St.”   One of the members of the “Fat Pack” that the NY Times profiled in March, Josh is a personal hero- and his new book “ The Hamburger- A History” is a must read for any like-minded eaters.  As always, we’ll give away a few copies at the end of the profile…

Name: Josh Ozersky


Food Editor / Online, New York Magazine

Favorite Kind of Food: Meat

Least Favorite Kind of Food:

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: The lamb kebabs at Taam Tov (47th btw. 5+6th); the lamb burger at Anthos (52nd btw. 5+6th); the $28 lunch at Jean Georges (60th & Central Park West); lasagna at Insieme (7th Ave. at 51st); grilled cheese and bacon at Prime Burger (51st btw. Mad+5th); the giant hot dog at Brooklyn Diner (43rd btw. Bway+6th & 57th btw. Bway+7th); the hamburger at Ruby Tuesday’s (7th Ave. btw. 41+42nd).

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch (if any)? Most recently, the haggis cart

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Spiritual advisor to the Amish operators of the Dutch Eating Place in the Reading Terminal Marketin Philadelphia; junior pitmaster at Big Bob Gibson’s bbq in Decatur, AL; security guard at Dirty Martin’s Kum-Back burgers in Austin Texas; Grub Street blogger in Chinatown.

And of course, since we’re promoting the book- I’ve got to ask. What are your thoughts on the Midtown burger landscape? Too big, too misshappen, too rococo: Midtown is scarred by atomic mutants that resemble hamburgers only as much as a chrome-rimmed escalade does a 1972
coupe de ville. Which is to say, they are generally grotesque and vulgar things, even at their best.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers?: What hamburgers, of traditional size and shape, don’t I know about in Midtown?

Wow that is quite the indictment of the Midtown burger.  And here I was thinking we were doing alright… anyway, on to your question: Best hidden hamburger in Midtown?  We all must go on the assumption that you know about all the big ones (and even some of the lesser known ones, like the Blarney Stone on 3rd Ave & 44th- which is one of my favorites). But, I think I’ve got a truly hidden gem (plus your chance to win a copy of Josh’s book) after the jump…

So maybe it’s not really a hamburger as much as a ”Japanese Slider” from Cafe Zaiya (on 41st btw. Mad+5th).  They take one of those Japanese teriyaki meatball kind of things that you get in Bento boxes, top it with a slice of cheese, shredded cabbage (and a little lettuce), and toss it in a bun.  Sure, it’s pre packaged, and usually is not hot and can be a little dry sometimes- but the taste is pretty delicious, and for under $4, it really can’t be beat.  (Plus you can add a rice ball and dessert from their amazing bakery, and your lunch will probably still end up being less than a burger at the Burger Joint).

Post your favorite burger in Midtown (well known or hidden) in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered to win a copy of Josh’s book “The Hamburger: A History” , in stores now.

And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, or you’d like to nominate somebody in your office, email me at


  • I like to take my girl for meat on a bun at Zen Burger

  • How come DocChuck hasn’t come on and declared his (and his wife’s) revulsion over midtown burgers, Mr Cutlet personally, and blogging in general? I mean come on, the daily dose of hate and inanity from McBagel just doesn’t isn’t enough by itself anymore….

  • NYCFG (12:27pm) – I know you gotta get your obligatory plug in, but with your Brooklyn Diner burger rec, you missed the Profiled MLuncher’s comments on midtown burgers:

    “Too big, too misshappen, too rococo: Midtown is scarred by atomic mutants that resemble hamburgers only as much as a chrome-rimmed escalade does a 1972
    coupe de ville. Which is to say, they are generally grotesque and vulgar things, even at their best.”

    And his query:

    “What hamburgers, ***of traditional size and shape,*** don’t I know about in Midtown?”

    The BD burger is huge and misshapen, and not a classic ‘burger’ that the Profilee was asking about.

  • Bob – I agree with you. Blarney’s burgers are not quite the same as they once were. But the onion rings are great and the joint is still the best place to see violent drunks.

  • I heard a rumor once that Hurley’s served a pretty good burger. Never confirmed, however.

    And a second for the Brooklyn Diner burger, which is two meals in one. Of traditional size and shape, Joint will do (but no bacon displeases me greatly).

  • Three burger spots – Smith and Wollensky Grill. A bit over the $10 mark but worth it. Order the creamed spinach to throw atop the burger. Real treat. Also the burger at PJ Clark’s is simple and excellent. Also check out the burger at Beer Bar (near Grand Central). Comes with bacon and onion strings and I think BBQ sauce – has been a while. Haven’t tried some of the newer chains but these locations are all very solid.

    Out of bounds – BLT Burger – the original. Great mix of four different beef cuts. Sauce is great. Blue 9 is still at the top of my list.

    Did someone mention a veggie burger??? What is this world coming to???

  • my fave midtown burger is at PJ Clarke’s- and to be more specific, you have go w/the bacon cheeseburger (american cheese, no frou-frou substitutes, mmykay?). it is mighty expensive (around $10), but great when it’s just a few blocks from work and your boss is covering lunch.

  • ISLAND BURGER! Just because you can concoct a different burger for every day of the year. (My heart really is set on Shake Shack as always, which I will be visiting this Friday, but it’s not Midtown as we have all been told 100x… wait perhaps Island isn’t either… hmmm)

  • My vote is for DelFrisco’s. It is stunningly delicious. $15 though, but you didn’t specify a price limit! However, it is monstrosity, so Grub Streeter won’t like it. :)

    Lately, everyone at work seems to be ordering the bison burger at Ted’s Montana. It is delicious, and much cheaper, but also huge.

    For uniqueness, try Dervish for a Turkish hamburger of sorts. In Midtown lunch price range too!

  • I thought neanderthals left new york? This guy is a loser.

  • Jimbo’s Burger Palace, 1st ave around 54th St. Actually, it may be called Jimbo’s Burger Place and my remembering as Palace is just a serendipitious mental typo. Nonetheless, its awesome. Its just a greasy little lunchcounter that happens to make a fine and cheap burger.

  • I’ve never had a really great burger in Midtown so I put my vote in for Burger Joint.

  • Have you tried the Blackjack burger at Patrick Conway’s near grand central?

  • I have lately really gotten into the burger at Public House, on 41st bet Lex and 3rd. If you eat it at the bar it is $10 (at table $12), comes with fries and choice of 2 toppings. I stick to a cheese and bacon or the fried onions. The fried onions are those onion straw thingees that probably have a proper name but I call them onion straw thingees. Ya know, breaded and deep fried.

  • Capital Grille has a great burger and it’s one of the cheapest items on the lunch menu, I think around $11.95. Cheese and sauteed onions are mixed in with the meat. Not sure if it qualifies as a midtown lunch given that the restaurant is at 42nd b/t 3rd and Lex, but it is a good burger!

  • I can hardly believe how many different Midtown burger recommendations we’ve got here. This could be the most useful comment thread in the history of the internets!

  • seriously out of bounds, but while I was in LA this weekend I made my vegetarian exception for: In N Out! Deeelish. Sorry to tease, folks. If it makes anyone feel any better we had terrible timing and showed up at the In N Out in the Glendale Galleria just as school was getting out.

  • Out of bounds vote for Fanelli’s on Mercer. Man I miss living downtown…

  • Gotta go with Blaggard’s Pub on 35th and 7th. DO NOT get a cheeseburger, but the regular burger is definitely as fatty and juicy as a burger should be, and it’s bigger than Burger Joint/Shake Shack/Five Guys/etc…Plus, grab a Guinness and watch the game…great burger experience.

  • JPMIDTOWN – if the burger us good, why wouldn’t you get a cheeseburger? How can adding melted cheese to flame broiled ground beef make anything WORSE?

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