When my family gets together, you can always count on two things: it will be loud, and there will be plenty of booze. Where we gather may change, but those elements are always the same. And thank goodness for that.
This weekend, the place was Corner Bistro, and the family was me, my brother, my sister-in-law, my aunt and uncle, and my cousin and his wife. A mere fraction of our normal numbers, but a pretty great group to spend time with nonetheless. After a sobering two hours at a matinee performance of Pinter's The Homecoming (starring one of my all-time favorite New York actors, Raul Esparza, yum) and a drink or two in Midtown, we made our way down to Jane and West 4th for burgers and beers.
Corner Bistro is a no-frills kind of joint - the menu is mounted on the wall and has just 10 items. You won't find salads, dessert, or onion rings here, but you will find what many claim is the city's best burger. You can get it plain (always my choice), with cheese, or with cheese and bacon (the "bistro burger) - all served with pickles, lettuce, tomato and white onion. Fries come separately, with cheese or without. Condiments are an afterthought at Corner Bistro - just ketchup and mustard on the table along with the salt and pepper.
So, despite being delivered on salad-sized paper plates, the burgers are the focus, the reason people pack the bar four and five rows deep. Piping hot, always medium-rare, and full of meaty flavor, they're a great way to start (or end) a night of drinking.
Are they the best burgers in the city? I'd say they're a strong contender, but my money is still on The Spotted Pig's burger, with its shoestring fries and chargrilled bun.
But, of course, the only real way to answer that question is to go taste them for yourself. What are you waiting for?
331 W. 4th Street
Corner of Jane and West 4th