Sous vide steak: at home
Soup Dumplings Plus: super Shanghainese in Fort Lee, NJ

Dullboy in Jersey City: cocktails and quite a burger

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My friend was annoyed that they put some sort of "special sauce" on his burger on his prior visit. "They should tell you that they're putting sauce on it," he complained.  I noted that the menu states that there is special sauce, so that's on him. In fact the menu says there are two special sauces. What my friend lacks in reading comprehension skills, he makes up for in restaurant recommendations. He told me to meet him at Dullboy on a recent night, and being the good soldier that I am I Ubered alllll the way to Jersey City.

Dullboy could be described as a exceptional cocktail bar that happens to serve some (very good at times) food, including one fine burger. Indeed the first thing I noticed was the array of interesting spirits behind the bar. And, of course, fresh fruit, fresh herbs, tinctures, bitters, infusions, etc. I dug right into the list.

The cocktail list includes a good number of the classics, and an equally good number of originals. Lots to choose from here, and I'm not even sure I saw a single vodka drink (although I tend to simply ignore those boring concoctions when I see them).

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On special this night, and during a subsequent visit, was what they called an Oaxacan Last Word. As you might guess, it's a Last Word but with mezcal instead of gin. And it was lovely. Every cocktail I tried was lovely. The place is worth a visit just for cocktails.

But then if you throw that burger in there, oh boy, do you have yourself a dinner destination situation. It was one of the best burgers that I've ever had. I mean like top 10 burgers. Serious business here.

This sucker is comprised of two 4-ounce patties. While you may think that a single 8-ounce patty is the way to go, you could be wrong. With two patties, you get twice as much surface area for that crust. And, since the smaller patty doesn't have to cook as long, it yields a more juicy product.

Dullboy burger

What hits you first is whiff of well-seasoned beef. I suspect this is a dry-aged blend of some sort. The juice starts running down your arm and you grab your napkin. Next that gooey cheese (likely American), two pieces of it, hits. Then a creamy, seemingly herbaceous special sauce on the tongue. And during the whole process, this touch of heat is building up at the back of your jaw. WTF is that?  Sauce number TWO?! I love it. I'm a fan of hot peppers on burgers for some heat, but this is the move right here: let it sneak up on you. By the time you're done there's that pleasant subtle burn, lingering, waiting to be quenched with another cocktail.

The thing is a beast. A beautiful, juicy, messy beast, and I could eat it again and again. In fact I couldn't stop thinking about it and returned two days later for round two. And I was just as happy the second go-around.

I'd recommend having them leave off the unripe out-of-season tomato, as it brings nothing to the party. The first time I had the burger I think I recall it having no lettuce. The second time it had lettuce. I'm not a fan of lettuce on burgers, and in this case the lettuce made for a slippery platform, making the entire operation more messy than needed. I'd skip the lettuce, too.

The fries are of the fresh-cut twice-cooked variety, and fried with rosemary and thyme. Nicely seasoned, and quite good.

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The pulled pork empanadas paled in comparison. Pulled pork with XO sauce and Sichuan peppercorn. A bit of pineapple glaze on the top. The dough was a bit too thick for me. The filling was quite tasty, but I'd just save room for the burger and fries next time.

The staff is on top of things and quite efficient. Seltzer is served and refilled. Cool music is playing over the sound system. If there's a better place to have cocktails and a burger in the area, you need to tell me. Until then I'll be hitting Dullboy up as often as I can afford the Ubers.

Dullboy : 364 Grove Street: Jersey City, NJ : 201.795.1628