James Review: James serves a solid fancy pants burger
After seeing Adam go get a fancy pants burger in Midtown, I longed for a fancy pants burger too. Luckily, a new restaurant called James opened up around my part of town. The original plan was to try something ‘real’ on the menu but I always love a good burger. Sometimes at a restaurant, I feel weird going for the burger when it is a full-fledged restaurant. It makes me wonder if the burger is enough to help me feel the pulse of the restaurant. After all, you do not travel to China to order lasagna… because you cannot find that in China; hardly anyone makes those kind of noodles and cheese ain’t that big over there. Luckily for me, there was a burger at James!
To start the meal, I actually wanted to order sweetbreads. That was until the server told me there was a special. It was zucchini blossoms! Stuffed with crab! After she said the “stuffed with crab” it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Light bulbs usually do not talk but this one spoke to me and it said, “just do it.” Maybe it was less of a light bulb and more of a Michael Jordan figure. In any case, the stuffed zucchini blossom was delightful. The blossoms were coated with corn meal and then fried. It sat on top of a salsa of corn, tomatoes, and more crab! Mmmm… yummy. The salsa was spicy and was great pairing to the crispy texture of the fried blossoms. All in all, a very nice summery dish
After that, the burger came with some fries. You can see from the picture that the cheese comes melted on top of the patty. The burger came with a buttered and toasted brioche bun. On the side there were a few leaves of lettuce and two slices of tomatoes. I used to eat burgers with all the trimmings but after I started reading Nick and Beef Aficionado, I have been converted into a purist of sorts – just beef and bun please. Well, sort of. I cut up the burger in half and one half I ate plain, and the other half was half a slice of tomato and one leaf of lettuce.
So I was sitting there munching on the lettuce and extra tomatoes because I am a gratification delayer. Is there a real term for that? Maybe some of you do this too… so you get a plate of food and you eat the least tasty part first. In this case, I ate two leaves of lettuce and 1.5 slices of tomato before even starting on the burger. Yea… I am weird, stop judging me! It was weird because the server came by to ask me how I like my burger, and at that moment my fingers were stuffing lettuce into my mouth… this made my reply sound like, “mmmoookay mmmooood” She seemed satisfied with my answer.
The burger was cooked to temperature (medium-rare) and as you can see from the cross-section shot, they did a really good job. The bun to patty ratio was kind of odd because the bun was flat and wide, while the patty was shorter in width, but taller than the top and bottom bun combined. Despite this, you can easily finish the burger with no strain on your jaw bone. Meat was loosely packed and the juices flowed freely with each bite. The only issue I had was that it definitely needed some more salt.
With the $14 dollar burger, you also get a little bowl full of shoe string fries. These were middle of the road fries that were crispy enough and salted properly. Really, how do you screw up fries? I enjoyed these but did not have room to finish them all. Shocking, right?
The truth is that I kind of need to watch what I eat this summer. Why? You see, there is this Asian basketball tournament in Chinatown every summer. Yea, try to brace yourself, short people trying to play basketball… very odd, I know. And I guess gaining 10 pounds since the start of the blog does not help my health… cannot gain 10 pounds every 9 months! Anyway, so last summer this team called The Villians beat us. What a name, right? This year, I am thinking maybe it would be a good idea to get into shape, and then asking my teammates if we could call ourselves The Incredibles. Because you know, that is how they roll, they beat the Villians. The only negative to the name would be like when I talk to people who hear about this tournament… “Hey Danny, what is your team called?” “The Incredibles!” “Stop lying to yourself.”
See? Problems. Have a Happy 4th everyone!