Island Burgers and Shakes: Gluttony at its finest

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65 varieties of flame-grilled burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches (called churascos). Sixty five! And that’s not counting your own creations. The possibilities are limitless, but once you decide on what you want, I went with a Tijuana ($9.25, pictured below), with bacon, jack, guacamole, and sauteed onions, you’re in for a heart-stopping treat. Island Burgers loses points for not serving fries, but they have a reason why and they offer 2 other potatoey snack options instead. Read on for amazing photos and the inside information.

The “no fries” issue is one that’s addressed on the back of Island Burgers’ menu. Lack of funds initially prevented the existence of a deep fryer, but as time went on and funds increased, there wasn’t even room for a fryer or an expansion. Instead Island Burgers offers Dirty Potato Chips and “Real Big Baked Potatoes”. I haven’t tried either, instead I grabbed some fries from Ted’s Montana Grill, near my office.

The Tijuana burger is a beast.

  • The flame grilled burger arrived warm despite delivery from 9th Avenue to 6th Avenue.
  • Jack Cheese arrived melty but not spicy. I like to see some jalapenos in my jack cheese.
  • Bacon was crisp but portion was lacking. I counted two big strips. I need at least three or four on a burger like this to give the bacon the flavor presence it deserves.
  • The guacamole was creamy and fresh. The cilantro didn’t overpower the burger as one might imagine.
  • The sauteed onions, which tasted like they’d been sprinkled with Cajun seasoning, weren’t crispy at all and soggied up the top bun almost halfway through. I could do without these if they’re not going to be crispy.

The beef wasn’t very flavorful on its own, but it possessed a nice outer char and it was loosely packed, fatty, and cooked to order.

Conclusion

  • Since the burger was so loosely packed, the nice outer char was essential. It was tasty and really held the entire thing together.
  • The best method of attack was cutting it in half.
  • The bun was fluffy but not airy, it had some well-needed structure which helped absorb the moisture of the onions, guacamole, and burger patty.
  • The no fries was an annoyance because I had to coordinate the timing of getting fries from somewhere else and the arrival of my burger delivery. Maybe next time I’ll just try a classic baked potato ($5) with bacon, butter, sour cream, cheddar, and chives.
  • I’ve heard good things about their namesake shakes but at $4.75 each, I was hesitant to get it by delivery. If I have the chance to eat at Island Burgers, I’ll definitely check it out.

Island Burgers & Shakes

766 9th Avenue b/t 51st & 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 307-7934 (7943)
Hours: 12PM to 10:30PM Saturday through Thursday, Friday until 11:00PM
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18 Responses to “Island Burgers and Shakes: Gluttony at its finest”

  1. senor perez Says:

    me gusta mexico y tijuana pero prefiero culiacan!

  2. AG Says:

    Glad you tried out Island Burgers. I used to go there pretty frequently when I spent more time in the area. Though the lack of fries is a dissappointment the shakes are worth it. Black and white all the way. My only problem with their burgers is that they just fall apart. Too much stuff generally on bread that can’t handle all the weight or wet ingredients. They do serve great chicken sandwiches also. I also agree with you on the burger and it lacking some flavor. They rely more on the toppings then actually caring to season the meat, that is unless you get one with cajun spice (it’s real hot if I remember correctly).

  3. food guy #1 fan Says:

    Great post! i want to start my own blog just like yours. here’s my review of island burger. tell me what you think!

    So I went to Island burger and let me tell you, it was so ISLANDY!!!! I got the tijauna buger and it was so tiajunay! The onions were oniony, bun was bunny and the bacon was bacony!!! the beef was loosely packed(like me) but it was very beefy!

  4. senor perez Says:

    Buenas tardes amiga! esta burger de tijuana hace muy delicioso y es mi favorito tener despues de juego besbol al estadia de Shea, pero, come se dice ‘potatoey’ en espanol? no tenemos una palabra qua significa la misma definicion. por favor explicame la definicion de esta palabra senor.

  5. POV-HOV Says:

    So I went to Island burger and let me tell you, it was so ISLANDY!!!!
    I got the tijuana buger and it was so tiajunay! The onions were
    oniony, bun was bunny and the bacon was bacony!!! the beef was loosely
    packed(like me) but it was very beefy!

  6. casey Says:

    AG is right, as far as….the burger buns do fall apart with so many ingredients piled on top…..that’s why i’m a black and blue fan….not to much but just enough…….

  7. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    AG & Casey,

    Well said.

  8. DocChuck Says:

    Dearest NYC Food Guy:

    Once again I am compelled to give you some advice (I am a PhD, if that interests you): SOME OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY DOES YOU NO FAVOR.

    The final photo in your collection on “Island Burgers,” so-called, is distinctly offputting. Not as bad as the pasta that looks like squirming larvae, but UNAPPETIZING to say the least.

    I enjoy your blog and would post here even if I were allowed to post on other food blogs, but I would hate to see it COMPROMISED by your ill-advised posting of stomach-turning photographs.

    My wife feels the same way, of course.

    I am sure you understand that attention from a man of MY ken raises the quality of your blog simply by signing my name to a post. That said, I am concerned that the others you allow to post here are degrading your good name thanks to their COARSE and VILE musings.

  9. nasty-lookin pics Says:

    i actually don’t have that big of a problem with the nasty-lookin pics. i want to see what i’ll actually be eating, and these pics show just that. who wants to see pics of burgers that they’ve spent 5 hours gluing the seeds onto the bun so that it looks absolutely perfect? that’s what they do on burger king/micky Ds commercials, and if u ever took a bite of one of those burgers you’d probably die!

  10. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Doc Chuck,

    Thanks for the concern. There’s always going to be some haters. I can live with it. Regardless, I have to agree with the poster who commented after you. I’m really just trying to show people exactly what it is they’re going to get, for better or worse. I pride myself on showing people exactly what they’re going to receive.

  11. Pammeh Says:

    Just have to put my two cents in: first off, that the “haters” are more deserving of the eye-rolling one levels at prepubescent teenagers than real shock/anger

    and two, that I agree. It’s one thing to admire food photographers–and some bloggers are AMAZING photographers, but you do have a different thing going here on your site, and I like it. It’s very real and trustworthy. šŸ™‚ I’ve been a long time in-the-shadows reader. Keep it up!

  12. Timothy Allen Says:

    I think the photos AND the writing are good. I enjoy this site! šŸ™‚

    Ok, the pasta does look a little bit like “squirming larvae”… LOL

    But that’s not NYCFG’s fault. He didn’t create the shapes.

  13. Bill Says:

    Gotta go with the food guy on this one. Taking a pictures of the food in its natural state gives the viewer the insight into what they can expect on a typical visit. I loves me some food porn and sometimes it works out that way, but sometimes it doesn’t. I do stage my food sometimes for clarity and lighting purposes. If the flash washes out the image or it’s too blurry, it really doesn’t inform anyone, does it?

    Seriously dude, the baked potatoes are killer there and about the size of a Nerf football! I actually don’t miss the fries. the only thing I would recommend with them, especially with delivery, is that the toast whatever bread choice you get. the toppings can really sog up the bread. Either way, they are a fork and knife affair all the way!

  14. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    Bill,

    Thank you. Represent. I don’t know about the toasted bun though, if it’s not delivered promptly you get rubber bread.

  15. Entertainer Says:

    I did the Tijuana churascos. All I can say was they put what appeared to be a whole breast of chicken smothered with all that goodness. All that on a sourdough, you will not be let down.

  16. The NYC Food Guy Says:

    @Entertainer

    Island Burger is no joke. Have you had the baked potatoes?

  17. Entertainer Says:

    I’ve had it. Even the basic one is done well. I make a point not to have a shake cause I can’t finish the meal. Without the shake is a struggle.

  18. Doug Says:

    it’s a niche burger. not a purist’s burger joint; you can do far better with the classic burger, bun, ketchup, cheese, some-combo-of-lettuce/onion/tomato/pickles.

    that said, it’s a great meal. the au poivre burger is an awesome dish, and in the running for least-healthy NYC burger. this although it’s inedible by hand.

    and the shakes are right on the money. too bad there’s no liquor license, though šŸ˜¦

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