Blog Archive

About Me

My Photo
No Bull Burger Purist - Born and raised in NJ, the heart of the tri-state area and home to the oldest (and best) burger joints in the country. I don't need all the frilly toppings, happy servers or trendy decor, just a good burger...

The Crew

The Crew

Monday, November 30, 2015

Emeril's "Burgers and More" Restaurant - The burger was "meh" at best.

Burgers and More by Emeril
Sands Casino
77 Sands Blvd, Bethlehem, PA 18015
(484) 777-7777

The Build-your-own Prime Burger

Ground chuck burger patty, Cheddar cheese, griddled and raw onions, basil-garlic mayo, onion-poppy seed bun.


For me, Emeril has always been much more of a showman than a chef. And his burger joint at the Sands Casino in PA pretty much firms up my assumption. In true Emeril fashion, the ambiance of the place was attractive, (albeit cold) but alluring - also in true Emeril fashion. Between the colorful facade, the "Emeril" brand and the fact that my wife and I were ravenous, we fell for the bait, hook, line and sinker.

For those of you who don't enjoy long-ish reviews (Anthony) I'll give you the opportunity for a quick exit: The burger was "meh" at best.

For those of you who don't mind my ramblings, pray continue...

Whether it was a mistake or not, I ordered a "build-your-own" burger. And yes, it was a mistake, I should have ordered the special which was their Steakhouse burger. 

I ended up ordering the burger with white Cheddar instead of American cheese and added raw onion to the list of toppings. The onion-poppy bun was fresh and did a great job of absorbing the burgers juices. The basil-garlic mayo was also tasty, not overdone. The griddled onions however, were mush, way overdone and the burger itself was done medium-well as opposed to our request for medium-rare. Although it did remain juicy, it lacked flavor. 

And the "kicked up" coleslaw was a major disappointment; it was limp, and seemingly well past it's prime.

I expected a much better burger from such a strong brand.

Emeril's burger gets a measly 7.8\10 on the BC rating scale. Dude really? And you put your face as well as your name on this place?

Ego ?

I should have ordered this one....

Friday, November 20, 2015

*3rd & Final Review of Habit Burger in Fairlawn, NJ

Where:The Habit Burger Grill
3101 Promenade Blvd
Fair Lawn, NJ

What:Duble Charburger

Build:Mayonnaise, pickle, tomato, lettuce, and caramelized onions on a toasted bun.

This is my third and final review of Habit Burger in Fairlawn, NJ. After a 2nd trip that was slightly off, I'm happy to say the folks at Habit have come into their own and are pumping out quality burgers.

My Double Charburger was great – fresh, hot, and the presentation had my mouth watering.(See photos.)

If you haven't tried Habit Burger yet, you need to. There is a freshness about all of the toppings and bun that you just don't find everywhere, and it's the first thing I notice when I unwrap my burger.
These burgers score high on my rating scale, but if I had one gripe it would be the “doneness” of the burgers. I wish they wouldn't cook them so thoroughly. They would be over-the-top if only cooked to a medium or even medium well...
Just sayin'.

This trip to Habit yields an 8.1 out of 10 on the BC rating scale. The burger patty resisted my bite a bit too much. I prefer a more loosely packed burger patty.

Many thanks to Jeff Salas and crew for running a clean, well-run restaurant that pumps out some great tasting burgers...

This is the first time I've ever seen a corporate glamour shot that doesn't do the real thing justice...

Monday, November 16, 2015

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes - "The burger got better with every bite"...

Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes
Old Tappan, NJ (Store #248)
216 Old Tappan Rd, Ste. 1C, 
07675  Bi State Plaza

The Double Cheeseburger Mooyah Style (minus Tomato)

Double patty burger with pickles, onions, iceberg lettuce, and American cheese on a house baked white bread roll topped with Mooyah sauce.


I couldn't resist the temptation to try a burger at MooYah. I've been meaning to get there for a while because it seemed like a no-nonsense burger joint adamantly built to push out as many burgers as possible. Love it.

After I ordered my burger and small soda, I was given a number stand for my table and off I went. After snapping a few pics I noticed that the lead cook came around the counter with my burger and delivered it to me in person with a smile, and if I'm not mistaken, an air of pride.

I thanked him and as he turned away, I turned to my burger. That's when I heard the angels singing. This was the rare occasion when I didn't have to taste the burger to know it was special. As I raised it to my mouth, I smelled the crispy brown edges of the patties along with the rich smell of butter coming from under the toasted bun. After the first bite I thought, "Holy S**t!!" This is the first time since visiting Bucu Burgers in Paramus that I uttered those words without even realizing it. I was in a trance, a rendered animal fat trance.

The burger got better with every bite. It was spectacular; I was speechless. MooYah bakes their hamburger rolls every morning, and it shows – the freshness of the bun was amazing especially toasted with butter. Wow. The fat rendering from the meat was spot on, it reminded me very much of a cross between Shake Shack and Smashburger, (I’m leaning closer to SS). For me, MooYah is fairly strong competition for SS and the other top burger contenders. 

Our burgers were delivered blazing hot off the flat grill with a nice brown leather sear on them. The house-baked rolls were cotton-soft. Please be forewarned, holding the burger up to your mouth creates a waterfall of juices. 

Check out the photos and go try one out... you will not be disappointed. 

One con that haunts me is that somewhere around halfway through the burger, it lost a bit of it's meat flavor. Not sure how else to describe it, but overall, it was a darn good burger and I highly recommend ordering the Double Cheeseburger if you want to experience what I've just written about. 

The single patty burger on the other hand, is a larger patty than either of the 2 on the double and it made for a very good looking single burger. I'll definitely be sampling it the next time I visit. 

MooYah slides easily into home with a 9.5\10.

And a shout out goes to Jose the grill man! You're doing an awesome job there Popi!!!

*P.S. - The Mooyah sauce - I tasted a mustard base in their signature MooYah Sauce; it was very good though, not overpowering, and there is a definite 5-Guys vibe when you walk into Mooyah as their fries are displayed similarly in cardboard cases. I've never been a very big fan of fries, but my son said they were very good.

My Boss accompanied us at lunch and he ordered the vanilla shake which he rated above Shake Shack's. (It looked awesome).

I tried the hot dog (see photos) which may have been reviewable when it was hot, but it was served to me ice cold... major bummer. But this is a burger joint and I had no business ordering the hot dog. The menu photo is what sucked me in - kudos to Mooyah's photographer.

I'd love to see one of these franchises open in Wayne...   Either way, I'll be back soon.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The 76 House Does it Again...

I've provided a brief history of the restaurant below the photos in case you are interested in "the tavern that opened it's doors before America became a country"...

The '76 House
110 Main St, Tappan, NY 10983
(845) 359-5476

#1 The "Thanksgiving" Turkey Baguette

#2 Home-Smoked Brisket Sandwich

Build #1 
Roasted turkey breast, chestnut stuffing and a dollop of cranberry aioli on an artisan cranberry and pecan baguette. 

Build #2
Home-smoked brisket served open-faced over Texas toast, topped with melted Gouda cheese and crispy fried onions.


The vintage '76 House is steeped in American history. Its 18th century structure, creaky wood plank floors, and rumors of the ghost of a Revolutionary War criminal all add to the '76 House charm. It can be said that structures like the '76 House define autumn in New York State.

This is a great time of year to visit the restaurant, with the quaint surrounding neighborhood trees changing colors amid the crisp cool air, and it’s just a few miles from Sleepy Hollow, home to the Headless Horseman. 

A bowl of their onion soup smothered in melted cheese accompanied by a light snowfall are the makings for a truly comforting meal.

On to the food...

The Thanksgiving Turkey Baguette is a sandwich that you don't come by often. Its simple, rustic ingredients are nothing less than a full Thanksgiving dinner that you can hold in your hands. With its fresh ingredients and incredible bread, this sandwich is one of my all-time favorites. (Check the close-up photos below).

The Home-Smoked Brisket Sandwich had awesome curb appeal, but the sauce fell short for me. Although the meat was smoked to near perfection and tender, the sauce was non-sweet vinegar-based (eastern North Carolina-type BBQ sauce), with a thin consistency and a very strong acidity to it, which actually prevented me from fully tasting the flavor of the meat. The other elements of the sandwich: frizzled onions, Gouda cheese and Texas toast, were very good and although I would have liked to have seen more melted Gouda to counteract the acidity of the sauce, I don't think a handful of cheese would have helped. Again, the ingredients of this open-faced sandwich are all perfectly matched, but the volume of the sauce needs to be turned down, way down.

On my next trip, I'll be reviewing their specialty burger, "The '76 Tavern Burger" which is a full 1/2 pound black Angus beauty smothered with caramelized onions, mushrooms, bacon and bordelaise and Swiss cheeses. 
It's such a beast, it comes with a steak knife and fork.

The "Thanksgiving" Turkey Baguette

Home-Smoked Brisket Sandwich

Today's outing was so interesting I've attached a brief history of The '76 House below. But this blog is first and foremost about burgers and the pursuit of finding better ones, and since this review does not include a burger, I'll leave it up to you, the reader, to decide if you have a few extra minutes to read on the background of such a cool historic tavern.

2013: My first review of The '76 House burger -

76 House Tavern History:
The oldest bar in the country was built by Dutch immigrants in 1668 and has been serving the public ever since. Because Tappan, in the Catskill Mountains just north of New York City, was an important place during the Revolutionary War, the Old ’76 House saw a number of famous guests, including George Washington himself. Its most notorious guest, however, was British spy, Major John Andre, who was jailed at the tavern and put on trial at the church across the street (he was subsequently hanged about two blocks away). This place is a must visit, not just for the history and excellent food, but also because part of the actual bar is still original. You can literally sit and drink at the same exact bar that George Washington once tipped back a few drinks of his own.

The Old '76 House is not simply one of America's oldest taverns. Built in 1668, The Old '76 House had a profound effect on the outcome of The Revolutionary War. Through its long use as a meeting place for patriots, The Old '76 House established itself as safe ground for Americans when the air was rife with revolution and the tavern itself served as the "prison" of the Revolution's most notorious spy, Major John Andre. That is why The Old '76 House is often referred to as "Andre's Prison", not a real prison, in fact never having been a place of incarceration for anyone before or since. On the contrary, The Old '76 House has been a haven for many a weary traveler for more than two hundred years. This great tavern has accommodated on various occasions, every General of the west wing of the Continental Army including Commander-in-Chief General George Washington who, with his chief provisioner Samuel Fraunces, dined in the comfortable atmosphere of The Old '76 House.

The story of Major Andre and Benedict Arnold is one strewn with deception, fateful remorse, and mortal consequences. It is also a story which could have changed the outcome of the Revolution. Andre, a charming, handsome, young man, was adjutant general to General Sir Henry Clinton, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in North America. Arnold was a brilliant and respected general as well as a great friend of General Washington.

General Benedict Arnold, having been severely reprimanded by Congress and, in fact, court martialed, had become embittered and ready to betray his country. Truly a brilliant general, he realized the strategic importance of West Point and, drawing on his longterm friendship with Washington, sought to secure the command of the fortress. Washington, who regretted the treatment and reprimand of Arnold, granted his request and thus Benedict Arnold was placed in a position to betray his country.

Arnold began to correspond secretly with General Clinton about his plan to let West Point fall into British hands. As a result, Clinton sent Major Andre up the Hudson in the British Sloop-of- War, Vulture, on September 20, 1780 to meet with Benedict Arnold. Andre was rowed ashore at the long cove just south of Haverstraw, where the two men conferred until sunrise. Their plans for the handing over of West Point still not complete, they rode on horseback to the home of Joshua Hett Smith, which stood on what is now known as Treason Hill. There it was agreed that Arnold should have one of the links removed from the great iron chain which stretched across the Hudson from West Point to King's Ferry to prevent the passage of British ships up the river. Arnold planned to replace the iron link with rope, on the pretext that the chain needed mending.

Plans were completed and Andre hid his papers, showing the fortifications of West Point and the placement of soldiers, between his "stockings and feet". Toward evening he asked to be rowed back to the Vulture, but Smith said it was too dangerous and persuaded Andre to cross the Hudson at Stony Point and proceed to the British lines by land. Near Tarrytown he was stopped by three American soldiers who discovered the incriminating papers and took him to the nearest commanding officer. From there he was taken to Tappan, where Washington had placed his headquarters, and imprisoned in The Old '76 House - then called Mabie's Inn.

After a trial in the Dutch Church in Tappan, a court of inquiry reported that Andre ought "to be considered a spy from the enemy and that, agreeable to the law and usage of nations, it is their opinion he ought to suffer death." He was marched up the hill to a gallows at noon on October 2, 1780. As he stood beneath the gibbet he said: "All I request gentlemen is that while I acknowledge the propriety of my sentence, you will bear me witness that I die like a brave man." In 1820 Andre's remains were brought to rest in Westminster Abbey, London where he is regarded as a hero. Benedict Arnold died in London in 1801, shunned by friend and foe alike.