Fanelli's is one of the timeless NY watering holes that you hope will always be around. Located in bustling Soho Fanelli's gritty, grimy decor provides a welcome relief from the bright plastic sheen that has covered the neighborhood in its ascension to trendiness. The room does not look like it has changed much in since it opened in 1847. The menu is equally spartan, sandwiches, pizza and salads. No risotto or truffle oil or foam here, just good quality pub fare and a very decent hamburger.
The burger is a large, plump flame grilled patty of finely minced beef. Cooked beautifully rare the meat was succulent, juicy and flavorful although I prefer the exterior more charred. The bun surprised me. I tend to prefer generic white buns and really abhor those stiff, unyielding sourdough or Foccaccio buns that seem to be gaining currency as of late. I expected the oversized onion roll here to be difficult to eat but this is not the case. The bun is super soft and perfectly wraps itself around the burger, soaking up the juice and copious amounts of cheese. The standard onion, lettuce and tomatoes are all fresh and provided good accompaniments to the main event.