Chametz-Free NYC, Day 5: Burger - Bun + Fries = Good Idea

Editor's note: For eight days I'll be keeping a diary on eating well in New York while staying kosher for Passover. The goal: never feel hungry or desperate enough to touch matzo unless I want to. For the rules I'll be keeping, see here. All remarks and recommendations are personal and not intended as religious/cultural commentary.

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[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

For all my griping about keeping kosher for Passover, I really love it. A week away from most forms of starch leaves me feeling pretty good. My snacks are healthier when I'm forced to step back from the Cheetohs. And a shift towards vegetables in my meals is something I should do more often.

But there are a couple food groups that make me shake my fist at the sky when I realize I can't eat them. Whiskey, for one. And another: burgers. When that craving strikes, it strikes hard, and no amount of smoked eggplant can keep me from a fat, juicy mound of ground beef on a bun.

But there's that bun. I don't think a great bun is necessary for a good burger, but no-bun burgers veer into the realm of carbophobic eating that I try to avoid at all costs.

So these days I just take the burger right out of its bun and plop it on my fries. Call it the poor man's steak frites.

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The Breslin's burger doesn't need a bun when it has those fries. [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

The Breslin's lamb burger is probably my ideal candidate for the kind of eating: Both the burger and the thrice-fried fries are top notch. The bun is not adhered to the meat with melted cheese. And frankly the bun's the least interesting part of the package.

Don't underestimate the importance of good fries here. You're basically making a hot fries salad, where potatoes are your lettuce and the burger patty is your poached egg and dressing in one. You want crisp fries that stay that way—soft crinkle fries from Shake Shack, enjoy them though I do, have no place in a fryburger—since they'll be soaking up plenty of burger juices.

Another vote in favor of the fryburger: it hits home how good beef doesn't need any condiments. Ketchup's verboten under my Passover rules (corn syrup), and mayo would feel out of place on this food pile. Fatty burger juices are all you need.

I'm still working on a way to get whiskey into the Passover thing, but I think this burger problem is well taken care of.

More Chametz-Free New York

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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