Sweet Jane


Tavern on Jane | 31 8th Ave. (on Jane St.) | 212.644.2700 | tavernonjane.com | | | |

SERENDIPTY IS A ODD THING. As I have been attempting to complete my postable-with-photos list of my favorite NYC burgers, I found myself last week down at the venerable Corner Bistro, down in the West Village. SInce then, I was educated by two trustworthy friends that I should also try another pub burger, directly across the the street at a place called Tavern on Jane.

This week, a former TIME Magazine co-worker and good friend, Cindy—one of those recommenders who as well happened to spend an earlier lifetime living in that neighborhood who I used to work at TIME Magazine years ago when we were infants) offered to introduce to this burger by joining me at Tavern on Jane for lunch. I got there a few minutes early to capture it’s quaint visual charms—the un-ironic old-school shingled eaves and potted windows fully sprout with fresh spring flowers—on SD memory card.


Tavern On Jane

Tavern On Jane


Cindy arrived quickly thereafter and we sauntered in to the kind of pub/tavern atmosphere that most of the present city “hipsters” and “foodies” are a little too-late-to-the-party to appreciate; a long bar that accomodates the hopes, dreams, and oft-times, miseries of its drinkers, and some charity of tables that seem to host far less tourists or scene-followers that its kitty-corner counterpoint.


Tavern On Jane

Tavern On Jane


Usually, an advantage of the rare times I am joined for PHUDE outing is that I can order a greater variety of menu items. Cindy and I, however, were both here for the burger, so to mix things up, we decided to split a lunch-sized order of their batter-fried fish sandwich, that came on a bun with tartar sauce and a side of fries.


Fried Fish Sandwich

Fried Fish Sandwich


Expecting the sandwich to be just an incidental part of the menu, Cindy and I were both duly impressed. I nice fish & chips style batter boasted both a crispy exterior and an airy interior, hugging the flaky white fish admirably. This sandwich, we agreed, should share a large portion of the attention and recognition that the burger presently enjoys. And so onto the burger we went, both of us ordering one with American and grilled onions; Cindy ordered hers well, I ordered min medium rare.


Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger

Cheeseburger


All told, the burger, to me, had its highlights and its flaws. First, and most importantly, the burger did have great flavor, as did the sharper-than-expected American cheese. The meat patty, gas-grilled, had great crumble, was properly lightly salted, and held a sturdy exterior without the lack of the now (again) more popular method of flat-top grilling. The pickles were very crispy without being overly sweet, as the tomato and lettuce were also fresh and firm, and the skin-on fries held up pretty well until they started to lose heat and get a little limp.

That being said, a burger will lose much of its natural juices to an open grill, so that meat was dryer than I prefer, and Cindy commented on the hint of gas smell and taste. Other downfalls of the burgers were minimal, but couldn’t be ignored. We both had hoped the onions had been more grilled; they got lost between the crisp brightness of sliced raw onion and the aromatic caramelization of onions grilled for a longer period of time on a flat-top. Even without the the beef’s unfortunately lacking moisture, Cindy’s bottom bun disintegrated before she was halfway done through her well-done burger. My bun held up okay, but, like Cindy’s, was larger in circumference than the patty itself, so I had plenty of it leftover after eating all the meat.

Overall, I do like the place very much. It’s another rare throwback in a city that is block-by-block and zone-by-zone losing its historical charm. And I do look very much forward to being able to return soon, even if, as Cindy agreed, it might be more for the fish sandwich, which exceeded our expectations, than the burger, which did not.

And although, on this rare occasion when I can fit into my ever-changing schedule the luxury of having a great friend join me for a meal, we couldn’t share a greater variety of items of Tavern on Jane’s menu, the highlight itself was catching up with a dear friend I hadn’t been able to hang out with in 5 years. So, the burger wasn’t top-notch, lunch with Cindy was, even being patient enough to let me take one last photo of a beautiful flower right outside the restaurant…!


Tavern on Jane

Bun Apple Tea!

KACnyc


Tavern on Jane on Urbanspoon


Tavern on Jane | 31 8th Ave. (on Jane St.) | 212.644.2700 | tavernonjane.com | | | |



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