Last week, Burger Garage, a new burger restaurant in Long Island City, finally opened up for lunch. Before that, they’d been serving only dinners as they prepared to serve the significantly larger lunch crowd. Let’s face it. The area close to Court Square hasn’t been a huge hot bed of restaurants – but this seems to be changing little by little. The restaurant has a retro feel to it – it makes me think of the restaurant growing up we’d go to which was 50′s themed, and my girlfriends and I would wear our poodle skirts, too infatuated with an era we didn’t know to find it cheesy. Perhaps it’s that which has caused retro-diners, or that feel, to be one of the exceptions to my food-over-catchy-set-up rule. From the moment I walked in, I knew that this was a place I’d be back to based on feel alone.
I actually usually prefer turkey burgers, so for my first visit I went with their turkey burger with swiss cheese. For sides, they actually offer several. There are the standard hand cut Idaho potato fries, which are thicker cut french fries. They also offer sweet potato fries (these are so what I’m having next time) as well as fried onion strings. For $3, they also offer a combo side – half fries + half fried onion strings – for the diner who wants a little of all of the above. I really liked that they would allow you to do either the Idaho potato fries or the sweet potato fries in the combo deal. I had to get the onion strings for my first visit – I could not resist.
Verdict? The burger was tasty, though from watching them come out before they were packaged up for the customer, it looks like the beef is probably the way to go here. I like with the traditional beef burger, you have the option of a smaller-sized single, versus the obviously larger double. Witht he turkey, it looked to be slightly larger than the single-sized burger. The meat though was nicely cooked – not overcooked as to be dry. Very moist and flavorful – I could even make out seasoning throughout the burger. I like my burgers a little more chargrilled than this, but I was very pleased. Excellent quality from the meat to the cheese to the bread to the toppings. No step was overlooked.
The onion strings were good, although they were so thin, that the more that you ate, they almost got lost in all of the breading. Not that crunchy fried goodness isn’t enjoyable, but I found myself wishing for a bit more onion in the mix. It was also a big portion size for one person (not that I let many go to waste – I felt more guilty throwing them out than in giving them a home). I’m really looking forward to trying the sweet potato fries next go ’round. As well as their extensive dessert menu. Their list of ice cream shakes includes vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana, coffee, black & white or there’s also another fabulous option, their ice cream root beer float. They also have dessert specials. I’m not even sure where to start…
There are some unique touches about Burger Garage which I really liked. They have fabulous fresh brewed iced tea, which I enjoyed. One being that unlike most casual burger spots, they offer gluten free buns. There’s a slight surcharge, but kudos to them to adding this into their standard list of items to stock. They even offer wheat buns. So many options! I also really liked that they offer Abita Root Beer on tap. That’s definitely a first. Looking forward to going back and watching this one continue to settle in. I see the restaurant as becoming a dependable staple in the neighborhood restaurant scene (thank goodness!). Welcome oh welcome!
Burger Garage – 25-36 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City – 718.392.0424