Last month, the space next door to JJ’s Asian Fusion became a Burger Bistro, the company’s fourth location in the city. The original is in Bay Ridge, with a sophomore effort in Park Slope, a third on the Upper East Side, and now our own outpost here in Astoria, sharing the same 31st Avenue restaurant corridor as Milkflower, Pachanga Patterson, Il Bambino, Enthaice, Zenon, Point Brazil, Brick Café, and Café Boulis—just to name a few in that 10-block stretch.
While the company achieved status as the #2 burger in the city from Zagat, this location is also just a couple blocks from the Astoria based giant, Bareburger—which, if lines and wait times mean anything at all, is currently making one of the most popular patties in town. Both Bareburger and the Burger Bistro feature a “build your own” selection of toppings, offering everything from tuna and kobe beef (at Burger Bistro) to ostrich and bison (at Bareburger).
Because we were anxious to see how this newcomer holds up to the competition, we stopped by after they’d been open a week, just to test things out. Truth be told, we have already returned more than once.
While the burger is certainly one to drool over, I mostly loved that it could be served on toasted garlic bread–reminding me of my old college burger joint that sold GCB’s (garlic cheese burgers). Other bread options, however, include potato, wheat, or brioche rolls, as well as sliders or lettuce wraps.
There are several side dishes to choose from, as well, from various tater tots to homemade chips, and fried onions to split pea salad. The buffalo tots were kinda sorta outrageous. Crispy tater tots lightly tossed in a creamy buffalo sauce, then topped with diced celery and crumbled blue cheese.
Other side choices include deep-fried corn on the cob, fried artichoke hearts, and a few salad options, including one with Portobello mushrooms, pears and goat cheese.
The ice cream sandwich was probably one of the best I have ever tasted, with two sugar crystal-coated chocolate sugar cookies, sandwiching a cold, firm scoop of fresh peppermint ice cream. They also have versions with snicker doodles and cinnamon ice cream, or oatmeal raisin with buttercream ice cream.
At lunch, you can order a cheeseburger with one topping and a side order for $10 —and they offer other specials throughout the week.
Funky burger toppings range from buffalo shrimp to pickled jalapeños, onion frizzles, wasabi mayo, and portobello mushrooms… just to name a few.
The selection of toppings, meat, breads, cheese, and sides is extremely generous, yet still fits on one page. In fact, the menu is a dry erase board where you actually mark your choices before turning it in to the server. And thank goodness it is dry erase. Leave yourself plenty of time to play with the choices to create a burger and side combination that is just what you want. The cooks execute everything perfectly–you just have to tell them what to do!
37-03 31st Ave., Astoria
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