Flatiron Lunch: Mikey’s Burger makes every week burger week – for now
Every Friday our man UltraClay goes south of the ML boundaries in search of a delicious lunch. Sometimes it’s Murray Hill south or the Flatiron District, sometimes Gramercy and everything in between- but we just like to call it Flatiron Lunch.
Last week, I ended up at Defonte’s because I was looking for Baorrito and couldn’t find it. It had been several months and I wanted to finally give the basil beef burrito a try. Turns out, much like various other parts of the ‘Bao’ empire, it disappeared with no warning and became something else.
Now, it’s Mikey’s Burger, the second location of a shop down in the Lower East Side – at least it was there, who knows? It might be a Vietnamese schnitzel shop by now. Actually, that’d be interesting…
In any case, it being burger week, I could hardly walk away without giving a try, so I went back to check it out.
I hardly recognized the space when I walked in. It doesn’t look like Baorrito at all. They went all retro diner style and put up a long counter in the back alongside the kitchen. You can sit and watch as the burgers are griddled up to order while you wait.
The menu looks like a traditional burger joint until you get a closer look at some of the special burgers. The Mikey’s ($5.50) is topped with corned beef hash, the BLT ($6.50) has Chinese bacon and kewpie mayo, then there are the lamb ($6.50) and duck ($9) burgers which all look interesting.
I decided to stick with the basic cheeseburger to see what it was all about before going into the more creative options. My first thought was “Where’s the rest of it?”
I don’t know why I didn’t expect a Shake Shack sized burger, but that’s what I got. I wish there had been some sort of mention on the menu that the patties are about 4-5oz. If I’d known, I’d have been totally fine with it, but with no warning, I was a little disappointed. Still, it was very good.
It’s a by the numbers ‘west coast-style’ burger – small, juicy patty, fresh, ripe veggie toppings and cheese that more or less coats the meat on a chewy potato roll. You can’t argue with success. It’s a tasty formula.
Mikey’s doesn’t settle with following the trend, though. There are other flavors thrown in for good measure. The chili ketchup on the side is both sweet and tangy, with a very minimal spice to it. The burger doesn’t really need it, but it does work well.
The thing I keep coming back to is that it’s not a huge burger. Next time I’d get a double like I would at Shake Shack or Five Guys (or In N Out, where I get the 3×3).
Since the burger didn’t fill me up, I decided to take the opportunity to explore the menu a little bit. I ordered the Chili Cheese dog, made with a Vienna All Beef link. Vienna dogs are common in Chicago, but I’ve never tried them and haven’t seen them in New York before. I was intrigued.
Really, look at that cheese and chili. It’s a thing of beauty. I loved it. Next time I’m at Mikey’s I may need to get an order of the chili on it’s own ($4) – or maybe some chili cheese fries ($6.75).
So, the chili was great. The problem was with the dog. Maybe it requires a Chicagoan’s tastes, but the flavor was just a little weird to me. It’s certainly not like a Sabrett or a Hebrew National. It has a distinct flavor that I’m sure many might find pleasing but just doesn’t do it for me.
I accompanied all this with a Vietnamese coffee milkshake. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but the coffee in Vietnam sort of fascinated me. It’s intensely strong and served with sweet condensed milk. I could never get past a couple sips, but the idea of putting that in a milkshake is brilliant.
The shake was super thick and I traded my straw for a spoon pretty quickly. The strong flavors of the coffee work much better for me when mixed with ice cream than on their own. Since it was so thick, drinking/eating it was slow going enough that it last the entire meal.
I definitely want to make my way back to Mikey’s to try the duck and lamb burgers. Given how quickly these places turn around, I’m going to have to get back there soon, before it’s turned into some other crazy Bao concoction.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- You can never have enough West Coast style burgers.
- I’m from Chicago and I love Vienna Beef.
- The chili is great.
- The variety of burgers available makes every week burger week – at least as long as they’re open.
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- You call this a hot dog?
- I wish I’d known the burger was so small
- Why can’t these guys keep a place open for more than a couple months?
Mikey’s Burger, 241 3rd Ave. at 20th Street. 212.533.3335