For 3 quick years in the midst of the final decade, Fritzl’s Lunch Field outlined eating in Bushwick. The slim storefront close to the DeKalb cease on the L possessed a closet-sized eating room and an excellent smaller kitchen, the place you’d nearly stumble upon chef and proprietor Dan Ross-Leutwyler as you traipsed via the scullery on the way in which to the country tenement yard, shaded with outdated bushes swagged with sagging strings of Edison bulbs.
Ross-Leutwyler was a one-man kitchen, and he turned out a menu distinguished in its approachability. Positive, there was a great fried-chicken sandwich, mushy gnudi shotgunned with wads of crab, beer-battered broccoli, and a Caesar salad with a pointy anchovy dressing. However the star of the present was the burger, on a seeded bun with gentle yellow cheese cascading down the perimeters, whereas uncooked onions and shredded candy pickles received caught within the cheese’s goo — a creation the chef described as “someplace between a fast-food and pub-style burger.” The place closed abruptly in 2016 from what appeared like chef burnout.
I spent 4 years craving that burger in its absence, and questioning if I might duplicate it by myself. I couldn’t. In a paean to the burger that appeared on Eater NY, Nick Solares might have nailed the burger’s essence, calling it “meat ahead,” and certainly a cross-sectional picture that I took in 2013 reveals some very coarse-textured and delicious-looking floor beef.
So once I heard that the Brooklyn butcher store the Meat Hook had spawned a restaurant referred to as Cozy Royale within the outdated Humboldt and Jackson house, and that the chef was to be Dan Ross, the identical man who’d flipped Fritzl’s burger, minus the hyphenated portion of his final identify, I used to be there in a flash. There was a rumor going round that he was recreating his fabled burger at Cozy Royale.
However how would the brand new evocation of the Fritzl’s burger examine? The burger ($18) now seems on the spare, five-item lunch menu. It comes with a thimble of aioli, however no fries. As an alternative of a seeded bun, it’s mounted on denser brioche toasted prime and backside. Cheese nonetheless coats the perimeters of the patty, however now the pickles are of the vinegar selection, a great factor so far as I’m involved, so the candy edge has disappeared. Chopped onions as a substitute of sliced now slide between bun and patty.
Nonetheless, these are all minor changes within the gestalt of the burger, which retains its compactness and nonetheless bursts with taste. Although maybe much less coarsely floor, the meat stays scintillatingly contemporary and minerally tasting, performed to a perfection someplace between uncommon and medium uncommon. Each chew of this new rendition is a pleasure.
Sure, there are different points of interest on the overlapping lunch and dinner menus, which take their inspiration from the childhoods of Meat Hook homeowners Ben Turley and Brent Younger in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Included are a trio of plain pork sausages held along with a browned starch matrix; a so-called pickled baloney salad that’s like antipasti if the Germans or Poles had invented it; and a dessert with the screwy identify of desperation pudding, served with Lorna Doone shortbread cookies.
And the out of doors seating space, largely alongside the Jackson Road aspect, is commodious and properly spaced. Inside, the outdated nook bar has been gutted, although the format of the back and front rooms stays intrinsically the identical.
Are you long gone the purpose of being wowed by floor beef? Nicely, give this revamped burger a strive.
Native New Yorker. Travel addict. Hardcore thinker. Analyst. Pop culture fanatic. I live in Queens with my wife Linda and our dog Clemenza.