Original City Burger Better Than Black Label? Combo Comes Down By $1


Earlier this week I had an email exchange about the new changes at City Burger(on 39th just East of B’way) with Josh “Mr. Cutlets” Ozersky. Not only is he editor of The Feedbag, but he is also the self appointed president of the Pat LaFrieda fan club:

Josh: “You better get on down to City Burger… Went there with a few other people the other day. It is SICK! Really, really good now.”

Me: “I don’t know.  [The black label burger] is a little pricey for my cheap-ass blood… but yeah, I’ll probably break down and try it this week.  Have the regular burgers changed at all?”

Josh: “Listen to this! I like the regular burgers BETTER than the black label. They’re top-three burgers in town right now.  They got rid of the grills and brought in griddles…started warming the buns… oh man I wish I had one now.”

That is a bold statement… top 3 burgers in the city?!?!  (Not even just Midtown?) The truth has been narrowed down to 2 possibilities.  1)  City Burger has significantly improved their burger.  Or 2) The Abitino Brothers (who own City Burger) have some serious dirt on our good friend Mr. Cutlets.

Only one way to find out which is true…

Regular City Burger w/ the Works

I admit I am no burger expert, but the regular City Burger has definitely improved with the change from the grille to the griddle. What used to be a hard hockey puck is now greasier, way juicier, and as a result much more flavorful. And most importantly, it was cooked perfectly (a big issue when they first opened.)


They’ve also heard the cries of the Midtown Lunch mob, and reduced the price of a burger/fries/soda combo from $10.55 to $9.55. It’s still a little overpriced for my taste, especially because I think the burger is now a little thinner, but I still applaud their effort. I also will admit that it is comparably priced to Good Burger and the Burger Joint at the Parker Meridien… but that doesn’t make me any happier to pay $10 for a burger, fries, and a soda.

What about the new Black Label Burger, you ask? It’s completely against everything I believe in to pay $11 for a take out burger for lunch, but after Danny’s description last week, and some of the other posts I had read, I couldn’t help myself. I think it was the term “funky” that piqued my curiosity the most…

It doesn’t really look any different…

And funky it was… not in a weird way, but in that you-know-you-are-definitely-eating-some-serious-beef kind of way. To put it another way, it has a very pleasing, very strong beef flavor that makes your mouth water as you eat it. Really, really enjoyable. Worth the $11+ for lunch? Fuck no. (What can I say? I’m a cheap ass through and through.) It also doesn’t help that it is a small burger that doesn’t fill you up, and after spending all that money, you still have to pay extra for cheese. That being said, I agree with Danny and the commenters who said it is worth trying once.

And with the regular City Burger vastly improved, and half the price, it’s tough to disagree with Cutlets. Top 3 burgers in the city? That may be going to too far… but certainly a worthy (albeit slightly overpriced) Midtown Lunch.

City Burger, 1410 Broadway (on 39th Street just East of B’way), 212 997-7770


  • Tried it last night – Super Meh! I give it a 2 out of 10. No flavor and hard as a hockey puck. Huge disappointment! The cook was pressing down hard on the burger – the juices and flavor must of just been obliterated.

    $14 for a cheese burger is a definite rip-off!! Would not go back if the burger was free. Carnegie John’s has a bigger, juicier burger for about a third the price.

  • I just had the LaFrieda Black Label burger. What a terrible thing to do with such a great piece of meat! You’ve got a very flavorful juicy piece of meat, shape and press it into a hockey puck and press the hell out of it. A great burger should never be pressed down. The density was all wrong. This burger’s got potential. But you have to know how to handle it. And at over $10 for a burger, it’s totally not worth it.

    However, the onion rings were delicious.

  • Boo, did they actually “press it?”like smash it into the grill or was it just overcooked and dry?

  • It wasn’t overcooked and dry. I ordered it medium rare. And actually they cooked it rare as opposed to medium rare. It was completely raw in the middle. And the burger wasn’t pressed when it was on the grill. But it was pressed PRIOR to cooking, rendering the meat quite dense. If you’re going to use top grade beef, at least they should treat it properly. The texture of this burger was more of a meatloaf as opposed to a juicy burger. I can now understand why people have referred to the burger as a hockey puck.

  • Mamacita, thinking about this a bit more, to further elaborate what I mean by the burger is a hockey puck … you can actually throw this burger (if cooked medium) around like a frisbee and it will hold its shape. A properly made and cooked burger should break apart.

Leave a Reply

You must log in or register to post a comment.