Paul's (Da Burger Joint), Aug. 26, 2005
131 2nd Ave
After another evening at Lunasa, a group of ten of Danna's coworkers and us headed over to Paul's to fill up the rest of our stomachs that wasn't consumed with beer.
I ordered a bacon, cheddar, fried onion burger with onion rings on the side and I proceeded to finish the thing off with nary a problem while others sitting around me, not even opting for the deluxe (fries or o.rings, lettuce and tomato) could barely finish the burger.
The burger really is that big.
Due to the limited space availability, the guys sat at the counter and the girls sat together after being able to combine some loose, empty chairs/tables.
Paul's burger is inexplicably good. I don't understand why. They don't season the meat, at least not that I can see. Big bags of meat, which I have to imagine is seasoned in the back (but there is no back to this hole in a wall), are opened and hand "molded" (I'm being generous) and smashed onto a steamy grill. They are then covered by tin cans that were clearly originally made to hold an ice cream sundae or something similar.
And in no other place that I know of do the cooks wear Kurt Rambis style goggles to cook the burgers/shield themselves from jumping grease. Paul himself is behind the counter, mimicking his loyal patrons, making fun of them in other ways and in general acting like a bit of a smug jerk...but never in too malicious a way.
I just don't understand why the burgers are so good. Perhaps there's a high fat content in the meat. That would make sense. In any event, this burger definitely ranks in my top 5 in NYC. It's the perfect burger for post-drinking, although Corner Bistro is a close second. The good thing about Paul's is that turnover is quick and he gets his burgers out to you very fast...unlike Corner Bistro which has lines at 11 at night that rival the Shake Shack's at 12pm on a Saturday afternoon.