Rare

So I decided to go vegan for a few weeks, minus the skinny jeans and ironic t-shirts. After a late night of drinking, I came home and started skimming through clips of Oprah on YouTube; a favorite pastime of mine while intoxicated, besides prank calling people. I came across a video of a fat hillbilly named Rocco, who went vegan and dropped a lot of weight, lowered his cholesterol, etc. So I tried it. I won’t lie to you, I felt like a champ for three weeks. But then I caved. I needed some red meat, ASAP. Burger King wasn’t going to cut it. Five Guys was a thought. But it was winter and I had cabin fever. Before I got into another argument with my television about the Kennedy assassination, I needed to get out of my house. I decided to hit up Rare.



Rare was brought to my attention by a co-worker. He didn’t really talk about the food; it was more about their roof-top bar, which I’d frequent often in the summer. If you’re a single guy, take a girl to this bar. It is a total panty dropper. The atmosphere was so calm and cool, most of the girls thought I was a sophisticated gentleman. Little did they know that, hours earlier, I was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, in my boxers, while watching Cops. Back to Rare. There are a few locations around town. My friend and I decided to head to the one on East 37th and Lexington, in the Affinia Shelburne Hotel.



The restaurant was decorated pretty modestly. I thought I was going to walk into a place decked out in some tacky theme. You know, when the restaurant looks like the state of Texas, and someone's old prom pictures and a license plate factory vomited into one space? Not so. Dim lighting and beautifully crafted dark wood complimented the cool ambiance of the roof-top bar. The bar inside was of decent size and hidden from the dining room, allowing for separate spaces to wine and dine.



The place was packed. I thought to myself, good thing I ate those stale noodles that came with the wonton soup I had for lunch. Luckily, though, and to my surprise since we didn’t have a reservation, we were seated immediately. We got a booth, score! Everyone knows how I feel about booths (see post entitled, “Nova Italiano.) Unfortunately, though, ours was next to a large and obnoxious party, which included a drunken girl saying, “woooooo.” If you’re a girl and you’re saying “woooooo,” either take your top off or shut the fuck up.



We were given menus, which weren’t really needed, thanks to the mobile internet and a 30 minute car ride from Brooklyn. We ordered the lollipop wings and fried calamari as appetizers. For my entrée, I decided on the M&M burger; 8oz. of ground beef, flambéed in whiskey, topped with caramelized shallots, cheddar cheese and apple smoked bacon. My friend ordered a Filet Mignon burger. French fries are a-la-carte so we ordered three different kinds: shoe string, cottage and Parmesan truffle. And to wash it all down, two Brooklyn beers.


Our beers came, along with our lollipop wings and fried calamari. Decent sized portions for two people. The wings were tender and grilled, and served with a Roquefort fondue; a nice change from your typical rat-ass blue cheese. The calamari was straight out of the bag; meaning, it wasn’t made in-house. For bag calamari it was decent; not greasy and served with chipotle aioli, which gave it a nice kick.


There was a little wait between the appetizers and our burgers. The party next to us got a little more rowdy, and thus more annoying. Oh, how I’d wished they would all die in a house fire on Christmas Eve. But before I got any deeper into thought, the burgers and fries arrived, and I was excited to get crazy with a piece of grilled red meat.



There it lay in front of me: 8oz. of grilled, red meaty goodness on a bun. I took my first bite and the sun started shining. The burger was delicious, juicy, and charred perfectly, with the caramelized shallots and apple smoked bacon complimenting the sharpness of the cheddar. The shoe string fries were a little greasy and soggy. The cottage fries were on point and the Parmesan truffle fries… Let’s just say if they fell into a pile of dog shit, I’d still eat them.



With all the burger joints popping up in New York City, I’d suggest you hit-up Rare. It was a little pricey; the bill came to $130, including tax and tip, between two people. But their menu has different variations of burgers, from chopped meat to Filet Mignon, and offers a vast array of burger toppings. They also serve items like sandwiches and salads.



Rare gets 4 out of 5 stars in my book. I highly recommend you check them out. Go on a nice day and take advantage of their roof-top bar after your meal.

Edited by MJ

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