Like many New Yorkers, I have a long and warm association with Corner Bistro. My “first time” was in March of 2001, when I was staying in the West Village with a family friend, visiting for an audition. (A story I know half of New Yorkers my age share in common;)
Tired from the flight, but running on adrenaline, I pulled my luggage out of the airport van, and headed directly to Corner Bistro, where my dad and our friend were seated in the back. It was everything an old school burger joint sets out to be – inviting, familial, and delicious.
Since then Corner Bistro’s reputation has grown, like so many NYC mainstays, and with it so have the crowds. These days, be prepared to wait for a half-hour outside the door, and another half hour in line for a table if you show up any time close to the evening Thursday through Sunday.The wait’s not that bad. And you can nurse a McSorely’s dark lager, or two, or three, while you wait.
There are many spots vying for “best burger in NYC,” but Corner Bistro gets my vote for both sentimental and gastronomical reasons. The Bistro Burger is everything a pub burger is supposed to be, and – thank God – nothing more. Great cuts of beef ground up, cooked on a traditional griddle into a thicker-than-average patty, with a toasted brioche bun, American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion. Like a great pizza pie in Naples, consisting only of crust and marinara sauce made from fresh tomatoes and basil, the Bistro Burger doesn’t need to be fancy – the beauty is in the simplicity.
They also nail the vibe.
Like many New York institutions, there’s history in the room, and the tables, floors, walls, and countertops all show it. But unlike some other joints, Corner Bistro exudes class, like a actor aging gracefully.
Tucked away on Jane Street, Corner Bistro is convenient from most any transportation hub. L train to 8th Ave, A/C/E, 1/2/3 to 14th, etc, and adjacent to the stately West Village, which has undergone every stage a neighborhood can undergo and come out the other side the better for it. Grab a burger and a pint, then stroll the streets of the West Village, at pretty much any hour.
I’m told the Bistro has a new location in Long Island City, which I’ve passed by a few times but have not tried. Is the LIC location as good as the original? Leave a comment!