Beacon’s Burger and Pizza Deal Beats Out the Rest
If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site. Every week, our Happy Hour Correspondent “Mamacita” will post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.
In my eternal pursuit of the lofty and elusive goal of finding the finest midtown burger and beer happy hour I have encountered many highs and lows. From the juicy goodness of Muldoons to the blackened hockey pucks of Coppersmith’s. I have tasted both the joy of victory and the agony of defeat. I’ve considered price comparisons and budgetary restrictions. The cheaper the better, the bigger the better, and the cheapskate’s fallback: quantity over quality for that is the ML way. Foods that lift you up above the mediocre and pedestrian, meals that make your coworkers jealous, and in my case, drinks that make your coworkers want to stay in Midtown after office hours.
Ladies and gentlemen there is now a new contender in the ring.
Beacon (on 55th btw. 5+6th) isn’t Blarney Stone. Beacon isn’t a dive bar, hell it isn’t even a tourist trap like Heartland Brewery. This is a ‘corporate card’ high-end restaurant with two levels, white table cloth dinning, and upscale cuisine. Hell, I was nervous when I first walked in, enough to make me wonder what I was doing in here, but the hostesses are very gracious and nice and I took a seat at the bar.
Beacon’s bar special is $19.95 for a burger with fries or a wild mushroom pizza and either choice includes two “well” cocktails, draft beers, or house wines. The special runs from 12 to 9pm so this might be the best liquid lunch or late dinner option I’ve seen recently.
I opted for a rum and Coke and took a look at the menu. I was surprised to see that the Beacon burger is usually $19.95, the pizza $17.95, on it’s own if you sit at the bar. Considering draft beer at regular price is $5-6, house wine at $9-11, and cocktails at $10-11 you can see why I was already impressed by the discount.
Around 6pm the free baskets of house made spicy potato chips come out. I have to say they were like crack for your mouth. The salty, peppery, piquant flavor was addictive. They also have a panini press behind the bar and offer free small grilled cheese paninis with Amish cheddar cheese.
I ordered the burger medium rare and with Roquefort cheese. The burger came with an onion brioche bun, a side a golden thin cut fries and some lightly grilled red onions, tomato and butter pickles on a leaf of butter lettuce. Instead of plain ol’ Heinz 57, the chef’s blend of smokey tomato ketchup was on the side.
The burger might be the best I’ve had in a long time, far and above any pub without a doubt. It’s no wonder NY Magazine called this one of the best burgers in NYC. The meat is incredibly juicy, the bun flawlessly held the patty and unlike some other burgers I never once thought of adding any condiments or toppings. It was perfect just like it was: meat, cheese and grilled bun.
The pizza is substantial and can make for a filling dinner or it can be shared as an appetizer if you don’t mind fighting over the last piece and you will because this is worth it. The oblong thin crispy crust is topped with Parmesan, mozzarella, (perhaps another cheese?) red onions, basil and wild mushrooms and had fragrance that was truly mouth-watering. It is really an excellent Napoli style pizza and even writing about it now makes me want to go back out and get another.
Sometimes the splurge is worth it and in this case, the splurge knocks out the cheaper specials by a long shot. I often think that, “Man I should do this again,” but it’s not every time that I do. With Beacon I know I’ll be back and because the special is so sharable this cries out for a group trip. Just make sure you come on the early side as there are only about 9 stools at the bar so after that it’s standing room only. You can order the food to go and have your drink at the bar while you wait so even if the bar seats are full there’s no excuse not to take advantage of this incredible burger and pizza.
Beacon, 25 W. 56th St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-332-0500