314 Bedford Ave.
I'll definitely be studying the folks who own DuMont, DuMont Burger and Dressler. The path they've taken to create a trio of restaurants, to the eyes of someone not involved in the process, seems to have been a logical and well-thought out plan. I'm sure not everything went as smoothly as they'd have liked, but the results, from what I can tell, are very promising for a future food services entrepreneur like myself.
DuMont, the first of the trio, has a terrific location in Williamsburg- right on the Lorimer stop of the L Train. We've walked by it many times either on our way to get our haircut by Vanessa (when we used to go to her) or on my way to Barcade or to see a friend's band in the area. For some reason, I've never made it in to eat...yet.
So when Danna went to the movies with a girlfriend, I had a chance to check out DuMont Burger located on Bedford Ave. - a handful of blocks from the L Train's Bedford stop - as a part of my quest to determine which burger reigns in NYC.
The tiny room (maybe 300 sq. feet, excluding the kitchen) was packed solid at 7pm on a Wednesday...but there was one stool open on the far right (windowside) of the bar. I sat down and within seconds was met by the busy bartender. I took a quick look at the menu and ordered a gruyere cheeseburger, medium rare. I usually stick to cheddar or American cheese, but since they offered gruyere, I went for it. In the end, the cheese wouldn't matter. The meatyness of the burger took over and erased any memory of the cheese that crowned it. I chose a Fisherman's Ale for the beer, an excellent choice I'd familiarized myself with at previous visits to Barcade.
As a whole, the burger was really solid. Just the right size (I wasn't bowled over afterwards like I sometimes am after eating a Molly's burger), the temperature was spot on and the flavor of beef and a bit of saltiness was just right. The tomato, onions and lettuce were superfluous. However both the fries and the onion rings (I ordered onion rings, they gave me fries accidentally and immediately rushed out an order of rings for me) were great accompaniments. If eating with a friend, I'd recommend getting both and splitting.
What impressed me the most was not food related. The bartender was remarkably friendly and attentive without being in your face. Even the guy that brought out the onion rings was polite, unrushed and generally friendly (he had no reason to be).
The space itself is tight but comfortable, low-key/cheaply put together but pleasant and unfussy. I loved it.
Was the burger the best in New York? Definitely not, but it was very good and worth checking out just to go to this near-perfect local hangout. On the way back to the subway, I recommend stopping off at Bedford Cheese Shop and picking up one of the many Rolf Beeler cheeses they have in stock and then head over to the pizza place around the corner from the subway and bring some real pizza back to the ever-so-lacking (for truly good pizza) borough of Manhattan.