Normally I avoid the crowd, but today I queued up amongst the masses of the “walking living” clamoring for a bite of restauranteur/baker George Formaro's latest food adventure, Zombie Burger + Drink Lab, nestled in the repressively hip East Village.
Going for broke I ordered up The Boomstick – a burger topped with with a deep fried bubble of breading filled with chili, the Mac Dog – a Thumann's pork and beef frankfurter nestled in a New England-style hot dog bun, loaded down with mac n' cheese and fried bacon cubes, and a side of house cut shoestring fries. Even after this repast I found enough space to fit in a Zombie Burger, with a slice of American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and Thousand Island "Zombie" sauce.
The fries were lovely to look at, but were disappointing to eat. Limp and underdone inside, I did not finish them. I suspect the fryer oil wasn't hot enough. Hopefully just an opening day flub.
The Boomstick definitely needs caution to eat. I tried to eat it like any other burger – with my hands – and the hot chili gushed forth from its crusty enclosure, landing mostly on the fries. It's an interesting gimmick, but in the end I had about as much breading to eat as the burger it sat upon.
The Mac Dog looks and tastes awesome. The cheese sauce is quite rich, and the bun is more akin to some mutated Texas toast. Somewhere in the mix I taste garlic, but unsure of the source. The frank itself is decent for a pork and beef blend.
The Zombie Burger is a good sandwich. Superbly soft, toasted bun. The beef patty is juicy, with the odd spot of crunchy sear. It's a far cry from McDonald's or Burger King, but more along the lines of better-burger chains like In-N-Out [see blog post], Fatburger [see blog post], and Five Guys.