I must admit that I am quite familiar with the burger at Houston’s, having eaten there quite often in the past. I stopped going because of a complete inability by the kitchen to not over cook the meat, be it Prime Rib or a burger. I also suspect that the patty lost a little weight over the course of time, getting a little too skinny for the bun, and making it even easier to over cook. But, at its best I remember it being a good burger and so I decided to venture back.
Houston's is a national chain, not quite a Smith and Wollensky but decidedly more up market than a TGIF’s or a Bennigans, with food and prices that reflect this. I visited the location of 27th Street and Park Ave, the décor is modern, darkly lit with a cluby feel.
The burger comes dressed with mayo, mustard, and an incomprehensible and unnecessary dab of BBQ sauce, as well as shredded lettuce, onion, pickle and tomato. The bun is oversized, and has the most sesame seeds I have seen on such a thing. The patty itself is quite thick and flavorful, with a slight hint of au povre style seasoning. The cheddar was nicely melted. The burger was actually cooked perfectly rare, the outside well browned and bulging slightly, betraying it’s rare inner stateBut it is still too thin for the bun, and if it was cooked medium it would loose further thickness. There was also too much mustard on it which obscured what might have been a pleasing balance between the condiments and burger.
The Houston's burger comes close to getting it right but falls just short. Too bad because it is a very pleasant room to dine in and other menu items, the prime rib for example when not over cooked, are quite good but I don't recommend the burger.
Houston's NY Life Bldg. 378 Park Ave. S. (27th St.) Manhattan, NY 10016