Our First Taste of Simit Sarayi’s Simit Burger


As a general rule, I don’t eat from chain restaurants in this country. Even on a road trip, I’ll drive miles out of my way to find something cheap, local, and without a recognizable logo. But when a foreign chain comes to these shores, I’m more than interested to try it out.


Simit Sarayi, which opened a few weeks back on Fifth Avenue, is one such chain. It hails from Turkey and specializes in simits and other Turkish pastries. On my two visits, I noticed most people were drinking hot Turkish tea with their pastries and many were even speaking (what sounded like) Turkish.

But I guess I just couldn’t ply myself away from the influence of American fast food because the sandwich that interested me the most was their simit burger. I finally got to taste it, but it wasn’t easy.


My first visit was a total disaster. Granted, I was pressed for time and didn’t have patience to deal with crowds. And it was still their first few weeks open. But I got in one line and then learned for hot food, you had to go wait in another line. And then when I asked about the burger and what it came with, the cashier didn’t have many answers. She did tell me it would take about 15 minutes to cook. After 25 minutes, I check in with the staff and they had lost my ticket. I couldn’t wait any longer and had to get my money back.


I returned a week later and things worked much more smoothly. Either I had figured out their system, they had gotten their act together, or it was just a slower day. The burger did take about 15 minutes as expected and I was impressed with the presentation.


It was served on a simit which is an interesting presentation for a burger. I always thought a burger on a bagel would be rather strange. It looked great – dark and caramelized – but there were a few technical difficulties.


First off, it was drowning in BBQ sauce. It was very messy and took away from the flavor of the meat. Also, the cheese was put on too late because it didn’t even begin to melt a little.


That being said, the buttery, juicy flavor of the burger was right on. The caramelized onions topping the patty was a nice touch and the simit bun was a pleasant change from a traditional bun. And the peppery fries were pretty tasty too.


At under $10, the price is right and it’s tasty and filling enough. But burgers are obviously not what Simit Sarayi does best, so I’m eager to return here to try some more baked goods and a few other simit sandwiches.

Simit Sarayi, 435 Fifth Avenue (btw 39th and 38th St), (646) 922-8724


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