“I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones,” from Song of Myself, Walt Whitman.
Walt’s new namesake restaurant on 9th Street just east of 1st Avenue is still getting its bearings before the dining room opens downstairs where they will be sourcing fresh, local foods. Grass-fed beef, pickles cured in Brooklyn, pork, etc. Until then, the draw is the upstairs burger counter, which Whitmans’ chef, Chris Edwards, and owners have given some immediate cache with a Juicy Lucy.
Cross-section of Whitmans’ Juicy Lucy.
The rounded burger patty consists of two seamlessly-formed 3oz beef patties. If you didn’t know what you were ordering, there would be little indication of what to expect next. The first bite spews molten lava-like cheese all over your face. Gotta love it. Whitmans eschews the traditional American or Cheddar Juicy Lucy core for a Southern curveball: liquid pimento cheese!
There’s another change-up: the pickles are spicy, not sweet. But that spiciness is nicely offset by a bloody, gooey, inside-out cheeseburger that has been cooked perfectly medium rare. At $8.00, plus $3.00 more for fries (long, woody, well-salted, and sensational), it’s a neighborly-priced meal.
Whitmans plans to offer a more substantial burger at a higher price point when the downstairs opens, and a Chicken Sandwich with Fennel Slaw and Coffee BBQ sauce will be joining the menu starting next week. Even with just three menu items, it’s a nice addition to the East Village.