Go Burger Truck: First Eat

Traditional food trucks are grassroots arrangements — a retiree, a pot of chili and a steam tray of hot dogs. Go Burger's parent is a hospitality company known to non-New Yorkers as the BLT Steak chain. But does corporate backing mean a better truck burger is at hand? Let's find out.

The truck was parked here in Manhattan on 51st between Madison and Park Avenues right by a little business plaza. It's a tall, business-oriented block, but it was still pretty nice and out of the way of all the midtown tourists. It was just before two when I got there, but there was still a regular flow of businesspeople at the counter.

Go Burger's five-ounce Black Angus beef burgers comprise a melange of sirloin, short rib, chuck and brisket selected for a rounder, beefy burger flavor than straight chuck might provide. At a buck an ounce for the single patty, they're better enjoyed in twos — a double is $8.00 — as a single, 10-ounce compound slab. Either way, they're not whacha call cheap eats.

Naturally, a combination of grilled, ground butchers' cuts and prime fat requires a pillowy bun for an accompaniment. In its best form, a burger bun absorbs and recasts the patty's (or patties') copious juices as a separate, savory entity, acting as a neutral foil and delivery device for all the glorious beef bits and burger slime. Go Burger's buns fail in this regard, but only because there wasn't much juice to speak of. If a big, seeded, brioche-like bun is your thing, then Go Burger gets the job done, but for such a small patty the bun was just too much.

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The burger was just ordinary? I was hoping for gloriousness, but the patty just left me sad. The meat was of great quality, with a good flavor, but it was overcooked and a little dry. The cheeseburger of the lady next to me was also a let down, with nothing but an under-cooked slice of American to justify the extra dollar in price.

Despite the specificity of the name, Go Burger has hot dogs too. Its Kobe beef (the American kind, not the Japanese kind) hot dog comes with spicy German mustard and pickled jalapenos, or crumbled smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and caramelized onions. I got the Kobe dog and it was fantastic. It had a noticeable but not aggressive snap, a quality bun, and a perfect dog-to-bun ratio. The mustard and the jalapenos were a nice touch for the super meaty hot dog.

Truck burgers are often sub-par, snack-bar affairs, mainly due to the limitations of mobile grilling equipment. Go Burgers' wares also miss that home-cooked flavor, but I doubt it was because of any equipment. It didn't taste institutional, it was just overdone. Cooked right it would've been fine, as it was, it was a disappointment. The lawyer-types around me concurred with the burger and hot dog verdicts and added that the shakes were really good. Not Shake Shack good, but good. I would conclude with the judgement that Go Burger came close to brilliance, but didn't quite make it, except that this man, Dainja 730, a professional wrestler from Queens Bridge, works as a cook there as his day job. The man loves to cook, and I like to believe that he made my delicious Kobe dog. All in all, a 7/10 for the food, and a 10/10 for the professional wrestler/cook staff.

Loving Jalopnik's Street Meat Week? Check out Truck Yeah, where gourmet food, art, music, and design trucks convene at the Crown Victoria Bar in Williamsburg to celebrate mobile culture in NYC. Truck Yeah is produced by Art Cart NYC, Etta Place and Gawker Artists and sponsored by Jalopnik. October 2, 12-6pm | 60 S 2nd St @ Wythe