High and Low: Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien
As a Broke-Ass who, as my father has often put it, has “champagne taste on a beer budget” it has often been my belief that some cosmic error was made which placed this young woman in the financial situation that was meant to be mine, and placed me in one that requires the distasteful task of “making it on my own”.
My enthusiastic enjoyment of the physical manifestations of wealth have caused me to develop an appetite for luxury and in my mind, staying at a nice hotel (i.e. above 3 stars) even just for one night is one of the most luxurious things one can do. On occasion I am able to make it happen, usually through the magic of Hotwire.com. If I were a true rich person I would check into a hotel every single time I got sick with a cold, had a fight with my boyfriend or just wanted to read books watch TV in bed or write with peace and quiet.
For the occasion of my and my boyfriend’s 5-year anniversary this past January we decided to have a mini-vacation and for the low low price of $120, I was able to book a room at Le Parker Meridien. Upon our arrival the guy at the reception desk told us about their famous brunch place (Norma’s) and their Burger Place Burger Joint. “People come from all over the country to have those burgers” he said.
I was doubtful of that, since I’d never even heard of the place, but the next day my boyfriend and I went down there for lunch. The space was kind of kitschy; wood paneled walls with record albums, concert poster and other youthful memorabilia were designed to make this little corner of an otherwise fancy hotel seem like a dive spot from the late 60s. I am always skeptical of places with manufactured charm and there was something a little annoying about it, like watching a bunch of New England prep school kids drink PBR while listening to Illmatic. After a somewhat extravagant dinner at Lupa the night before, the $5 price point appealed to me and I order us a couple of burgers and some fries.
Biting into that burger was one of the times when I felt truly sorry for vegetarians who may be “healthier” or more “karmically aligned with the universe” but will never, ever in all their Portobello-mushroom-and-eggplant-eating days taste anything close to this good. It was an absolutely perfect burger from where I stand; a little bit crispy on the outside, warm and moist on the inside topped with crisp lettuce, juicy tomato and crunchy, tangy red onion. I was in heaven and have come there since then, drunkenly, for more.
The fries were good too.
Le Parker Meridien Hotel
119 W. 56th St., New York, NY 10019
nr. Sixth Ave.