In his memoir Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant Daniel Tammet reveals that he sees numbers as colors and that 9 appears blue to him. Upon reading this I imagined that perhaps the founders of Blue 9 Burger where alluding to Tammet when they named their little burger spot on 3rd Avenue in the East Village. Certainly at their best the burgers are pure genius - inspired by the venerable California chain In-N-Out Burger, they use fresh, never frozen beef formed into thin patties and served on a pillow soft white rolls, American cheese oozing off the burger in a delectable manner.
I find the plain cheeseburger perfect but you can add lettuce, tomato and onion plus Thousand Island or Mango Chili sauce. They have recently added Medieval style, which mimics Animal style at the In-N-Out chain, where the patty is cooked in mustard and served with grilled onions, pickles and extra lettuce and sauce.
But like a human autistic savant Blue 9 Burger manages to function in a slightly impaired state, a lot of the time. I once waited there for 25 minutes in a completely empty restaurant for a rare burger that showed up so charred that they must have been cooking it before I got there. Special orders are so routinely ignored that I once asked the manager why they even bothered taking them. He meekly shrugged and pressed a $5 coupon into my hand. At best the staff is disinterested, often they are down right hostile. The food is so inconsistent that where the burgers not so potentially great I would dismiss it out of hand. The place is also kind of grimy and run down, even with the new coat of paint they slapped on last year.
In addition to the new paint job a new sign was hung that explained where the name Blue 9 came from, it turns out it had nothing to do with Daniel Tammet but rather something more mundane, it was the name of some team the founders where on in business school. So a potentially great hamburger, as good as Shake Shack in its own way, on the right day, but very hit and miss.
Blue 9 Burger
An “East Coast version of In-N-Out Burger”, this East Village patty purveyo...
Read Full Zagat Review and Add Yours!
92 Third Ave.
(bet. 12th & 13th Sts.)