- Yelp/Mike C.
Tucked into a little side street on the East Side of Manhattan, and attached to the Pod 51 Hotel, is salvation.
More accurately, Salvation Burger, renowned burger chef April Bloomfield’s new bovine pet project.
You may be familiar with Bloomfield’s work at The Spotted Pig, which featured a burger that gained such a reputation that it helped the West Village eatery earn a coveted Michelin star in 2005.
Salvation just opened in February. The décor features large portraits of cows and a mosaic of plastic squeaky toy burgers on the wall. But do we really need a painting of the Hindu god Krishna and his sacred cow watching us while we waited for a table?
The front-of-house staff is accommodating, quick, smiley, and helpful. But once the crowd swelled and the room approached full capacity, there was a feeling of slight panic, from the way the hostess turned would-be diners away with wait-time quotes of over an hour and a half, to the deft maneuvers waiters and busboys employed to duck through the impatient crowd.
My party of three, which arrived at the restaurant about 8 on a Saturday night, was quoted a wait time of 45 minutes. We didn’t sit down until 9:30. The restaurant does not take reservations, so there is no way to avoid this.
- Yelp/George T.
So there are some front-of-house kinks to work out. Fine, but is it worth it for the food?
In a word, yes. We all ordered the Classic burger, which is two flat-top griddled patties sourced from an upstate New York farm and served between a house-made sesame-seed bun. It’s topped with house-made cheese, pickles, and special sauce. Yes, everything that goes into it really is house-made.
If you think that sounds a lot like a Big Mac, you’re not alone.
“April is obsessed with McDonald’s,” Ken Friedman, Bloomfield’s business partner, told Bloomberg.
But the taste couldn’t be further removed. The tender patties were griddled to perfection with just the right amount of pink in the center to render them juicy and flavorful. The cheese was really the star of the show, however, and the fact that Salvation sticks a slice in the middle of the two patties is genius.
The bun works perfectly in its job to keep everything from becoming too unwieldy, but the project becomes a mess really quick. You could finish the job with silverware, but it’s much more fun to just embrace the chaos.
- Yelp/JohnnyPrime.C. C.
The $17 Classic burger does not come with fries, which you can order on the side for $7, but there’s no reason to. Salty, crispy, and shoestring, they were good but forgettable.
We shared one side among the three of us, and we all had quite enough.
None of us tried the flagship eponymous Salvation Burger, which clocks in at $25 and is one large, wood-fire grilled burger patty instead of two, topped with in-season house-made ingredients that rotate.
The restaurant also serves a vegetable burger – reviewed quite well – and a hot dog, fried-fish sandwich, and other assorted salads and veggies.
For dessert, we split a fried blueberry pie – in a similar shape to McDonald’s rectangular pies – which was delicious. There are also regular pies and milkshakes, both normal and spiked.
Salvation Burger is definitely worth a trip for burger fans, if just once, even though the wait is painfully long.