Necessity may be the mother of invention, but never underestimate the creative potential of a kitchen staff with time on its hands and a deep fryer at its disposal. Take, for example, the culinary think tank that lies behind the swinging doors at Laurent Tourondel’s BLT Burger.
“We got a little slow at the end of the shift one night,” confesses chef de cuisine Charlene Santiago, “and we were just fooling around, wondering what to do next, and, yeah, we decided to toss a burger into the fryer.” Thus was born the King Burger, a five-ounce beef patty dipped in egg and battered with flour, panko, and parsley, then deep-fried like a doughnut and finished off in the oven to a golden crispness. It’s served on a soft bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, and a dab of Russian dressing. The good news is that, as you might expect, the King Burger is awfully tasty, and thanks to its crunchy, flavor-sealing shell, remarkably juicy. Biting into one, in fact, reminded the Underground Gourmet of biting into a meat-flavored piece of Freshen Up gum. The bad news is not that the King Burger doesn’t come with a free defibrillator, but rather that it’s offered only as an occasional special. “It kind of scares people,” confides a waiter. —Rob Patronite & Robin Raisfeld
BLT Burger, 470 Sixth Ave., nr. 11th St.; 212-243-8226.