by Julie Besonen, 02/15/2012
Smoky Johnson Burger. Photo: Kate Telfeyan
50 Carmine St., 212-929-5050, West Village, Manhattan
The Smoky Johnson presents a pickle: this monster burger from Zak Pelaccio's Fatty 'Cue is only available at brunch and after midnight from Thursday to Saturday. The thick, smoky patty is a house-ground Brandt beef blend, draped with aged Gouda and spiked with mustard aioli and bread-and-butter pickles. Brandt is an eco-friendly, family-owned ranch in California, the only beef producer in the country to have received the Master Chefs' Institute Seal of Excellence, making the burger's $12 price tag incredibly reasonable. You don't really need the house-smoked bacon (an extra $3), but, then again, isn't everything better with bacon? It's fun going after midnight, when the dark den feels clandestine and you can match your burger with a well-crafted cocktail.