After all of my veggie-filled meals, it’s time for some meat!
I don’t ditch my vegetables often, but when I do, it’s usually for a burger. There’s something about a juicy burger that’s just so satisfying. Perhaps it’s all the filling protein…and fat. (Has anyone else heard that when some vegetarians crave meat, it’s usually for burgers?) In any case, it’s one of my favorite veg-out foods, especially when paired with fries and soda. Mmm…
A recent late night at work certainly called for vegging out, so I turned to one of NYC’s most prominent restaurateurs, Danny Meyer, for some help. Meyer is the brains behind one of my favorite food spots in the city, Shake Shack, the outdoor burger and shake stand in Madison Square Park (which has an indoor location on the Upper West Side). But since it was too chilly for an outdoor dinner, I ventured to his nearby Gramercy BBQ joint, Blue Smoke. They actually have a ton of veg options, so no worries if your meat-loving friends drag you here.
What’s in it for you: Hickory smoked vegetable burger, toasted ravioli with roasted tomato sauce, macaroni & cheese
What’s in it for them: Do I even need to say?
Though my heart belongs to Shake Shack’s Shack Burger, Blue Smoke’s cheeseburger was extremely tasty. But really, it was the spicy cheese fries that took this meal from excellent to out-of this-world.
Well, that and the dessert:
I first tried the sticky toffee pudding and banana cream pie along with their chocolate cupcake (which I don’t recommend) at an event at Blue Smoke a couple of months ago. I was blown away then and I was blown away again. I loved them equally, so I just had to order both. I can’t say enough good things about these desserts, except…go try them now!
To top things off, the service was awesome. My burger first came cooked rare (which I would never do…bloody meat – no thanks!), but I mentioned it to my waiter and after he apologized profusely, the manager brought me the medium well-cooked burger I originally ordered. They put both of my burgers on the house! Now you can see why I was so ready to order two desserts :)
The place is almost always bustling and seems to be a popular happy hour spot. If you’re in the mood for something more chill, check out their live jazz music, which plays seven nights a week with two sets each night in their downstairs area. Cover for the jazz is a bit pricey at $25, but it must be worth it judging by the long lines.
And if your meat-loving friends are looking for more carnivore action, Blue Smoke will be participating in The 7th Annual Big Apple Barbecue Party on June 13 and 14. The event brings the best in BBQ and live music to Madison Square Park. Entry is free (sweet for vegetarians!) and $8 per plate if you’re eating (ha-ha!).
Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard
116 E. 27th Street
6 to 28th Street