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Burgers are back: Bobby Van's in Bridgehampton

So BG and I spent the weekend out in Bridgehampton, getting some much-needed sun and relaxation.  While out there, I usually stick to grilling up some fresh fare and lazing around.  July 4ths 12-hour smoked pork shoulder was pretty hard to beat.

July 4th Smoked Shoulder

July 4th Smoked Shoulder

However, this time around I had a craving some a little scene and a little ground beef.  My last burger at a restaurant had been DBGB and the “burger” from Mantao really wasn’t cutting it for me.  I also wanted to experience the day scene at Bobby Van’s in Bridgehamton.  Call it my inner 60 year old.

So BG and I prepared physically by going for a nice walk around town.  Walking by BV’s early on, the scene was pretty dead- only a few busboys walked around setting up tables and stuff.  It was pretty much like every other Hamptons hangout by morning light: totally unimpressive.

Later, after soaking in some sun, we headed back.  I was starving so I had a Blue Moon as my pre-appetizer.  Then I settled into a huge salad with blue cheese, walnuts, and roasted golden beets.  Note the order in which I listed the ingredients. The plate had more blue cheese than I knew what to do with (and survive, at least).  But that was ok, I saved half, like the conscientious eater I am, and waited for the main event.

When the burger showed up, I was instantly a little bit disappointed.  Whoever had made it did let it rest, but they let it rest a bit too long– some of the cheese had already congealed on top and had hardened a little bit.  I was mildly disappointed with this, since I like my cheese gooey and my crust crunchy.  This was not the case.  Not sure if it was an off day or what, but I was let down.  The flavor was good, so I knew that the meat was a quality blend and the seasonings were correct.  I usually wouldn’t think to send something back, and I thought about it for a second, but couldn’t do it.  I’d say that if you all head out to Bobby Van’s for lunch in Bridgehampton, do yourself a favor and order it rare– it’ll probably come medium.

Despite this, I still did manage to finish every last bite…

Bobby Van's Burger

Bobby Van's Burger

NB: the fries are excellent– nice crunch and the perfect amount to prevent you from feeling like a fat kid.

4 out of 7 cows.

Bobby Van’s
Main St., Bridgehampton

Bo Knows Ssam

So burgergal’s dad took me and a couple of friends to de-virginize us as to the ways of the momofuku ssam bar bo ssam.  In case you haven’t heard of it, it is basically a giant hunk of pork rubbed with salt and brown sugar slow roasted until the outside is crispy and inside is a tender pork fat explosion.

But before the main event, I’ll set the stage.  I snuck out of the office a bit early to make the 6.30pm seating, and hopped on the 6 train down to union square.  Walking east on 13th street, I crossed 3rd avenue and was met by a beautiful smell.

No, not roasted pork, but powdered donuts.  I didn’t know where the smell was coming from, but I suspected that it was the momofuku milk bar.  But it wasn’t!  I still find it hard to believe that someone was making donuts in their apartment and then covering them with powdered sugar, but I am going to hold out hope.  At that point, I knew that it was going to be a solid night.

I walked into momofuku ssam, and I must have had the look of a pork-driven lunatic, because as soon as I stepped in the door, the host asked me as though he knew the answer, “you’re here for the bo ssam?”  I was indeed.

Once the full battalion of troops had arrived, we started with a few innocent appetizers, you know, just to get the palates cleansed and ready for a PORK FAT EXPLOSION.  Let me see if I can recall what we had:

– Seasonal pickles: pretty unmemorable, but the green tomatoes were good

– hawthorne valley buttermilk: this was pretty unique; it was a solidified buttermilk block in an apple dashi with pinenuts.  Very sour, like plain yogurt.

– hamachi: very tasty cured hamachi tuna

– Uni: it had been a while since I had had sea urchin, and I forgot how much I enjoy it.  And these sea urchin were friggin tasty.  They had just a touch of ocean, but otherwise were smooth like silk.  They made me think about the episode of Tony Bourdain’s show where Eric Ripert prepared pasta with sea urchin, which looked delicious.  It goes a bit against my desire to eat local, because I think they come from Santa Barbara.

– Scallops: Seared to perfection, buttery smooth.

After all of that food, you would think that we would have been done.  But oh no, we had not even started.  The main event arrived, like a golden brown hunk of goodness.  And did I mention it is seven pounds, bone out? I’m pretty certain Momo uses Bev Eggleston’s pork products, since they are used for other dishes there, so it can be eaten in clean conscience.

The bo ssam arrives with a dozen oysters and a slew of kim chi and other sauces, and a bunch of butter lettuce.  The man who brought me this treasure trove instructed us to take the first bite with no sauce, only pork and an oyster.  I did just that.  I never thought that this pairing would work, but did it go down nicely.  I then stuffed my face with more pork for the next hour, until it was just a mass of semi-congealed fat and meat.

At some point towards the end, it looks like this:


You see that salty sweet crust?  You see that tender pork flesh?  Imagine it in your stomach.  I don’t have to, because it was already there.  You know it.

Momofuku Ssam Bar
2nd Avenue and 13th Street