BurgerBusiness’s tradition—and our niche—has been to evaluate restaurant awards by how many of the winners serve a good burger. By that measure GQ magazine’s Alan Richman’s list of the 10 Best New Restaurants in America hits .200. That’s good enough if you want to play for the Cubs, but for the big time, that’s unfortunate. Richman’s list leans heavily to Italian fare, and San Francisco’s Flour & Water, for example, isn’t inclined to use its Italian 900-degree Valoriani pizza oven to cook burgers.
But let’s have a round of applause for Jared Wentworth and Christopher Israel, chef-owners of Chicago’s Longman & Eagle and Portland, Ore’s Grüner, respectively. These two GQ selections understand that a fine burger has a place in fine dining. At Longman & Eagle, the lunch menu features a Slagel Family Farms Burger with aged Windmer’s Cheddar, Neuske’s bacon on brioche with beef-fat fries for $12. Grüner’s vision is a grilled hamburger on a potato bun with smoky bacon, fontina or Cheddar, pickled onions, bread & butter pickles, aïoli and arugula, served with smashed potatoes for $11.
The other eight restaurants on Richman’s list, with links to their menus:
◘ Lincoln, New York City
◘ Flour & Water, San Francisco
◘ The Kitchen at Brooklyn Fare, New York City
◘ The Tasting Kitchen, Venice, Calif.
◘ The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle
◘ Uchiko, Austin, Texas
◘ Menton, Boston
◘ Commis, Oakland, Calif.