We ended up at Epstein's Bar in the lower east side the other night. Word from my friend's roommate was that they have a good burger. The folks at CityRag agree. They're smart folk.
Epstein's opened a while back in the old Living Room space. The Living Room was a tiny little bar, packed with tables, where you could catch some pretty decent music on the right night (for free, no less), like, for example, the wonderful and talented Lauren Hoffman. Those were the days.
Somehow, the owners of Epstein's made the same space seem double the size. They opened up floor to ceiling windows and doors, and put some tables outside. Perfect for people-watching, if that's your thing. It's mine. There's a sizeable bar still, but only a handful of tables inside. Lower east siders don't need all those tables (and they look just like east villagers did 10 years ago). And, they have what appeared to be a really good internet-connected jukebox. And a big flat-screen TV.
None of that matters. What matters is that the burger ($7 with bacon, although you can get it for $5 without), is really excellent.
I've read that they use the same beef supplier that the Corner Bistro uses. I'm not sure if that's necessarily a good thing, but, the burger is juicy and delicious. Nicely charred and beefy.
It comes with some probably-Sysco McDonald's-style french fries (that's a good thing), a toasted bun, some lettuce, a "tomato" slice, and raw onion. Push the lettuce and unripe tomato thing aside. There's no place for that on a burger. Better yet, use the lettuce to hold some ketchup for those fries and for burger dipping. And put the raw onion on the burger, where it belongs.
Wash the 7 dollar burger and fries down with a 3 dollar pint of Stella, and you've got yourself one of the most cost-effective and tasty meals in the lower east side. Although, this deal is certainly trumped by the 2-for-1 burger deal they have all day Sunday. That's just silly. It's almost worth me driving into the city to eat here on a Sunday.
If you're lucky you'll get the bartender we had, whose name is Ben. He acknowledged his limitations ("You really don't want me to make a mojito"), had a good sense of humor, and was friendly and affable, even to this old, chubby, and painfully unhip guy from NJ. That says a lot right there. Don't you think?
Note the lower east side hipster in the above pic.
Epstein's Bar : 82 Stanton St : New York, NY : 212.477.2232