Celebrity Judges Wary of Hamptons Beach Burgers

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Frank Falcinelli, a disguised Peter Meehan, and David Chang taste the madness.Photos: Jessica Coen


Dateline: Amagansett. The scene: Your typical summer share house. The occasion: The first annual Burger Bloodbath, a competition between three mere mortals to create the best beach burger on the Hamptons, as judged by three of New Yorks most esteemed palates: Frank Falcinelli, co-owner of Frankies Spuntino , New York Times $25-and-under critic Peter Meehan (whose visage has been obscured to protected his dining anonymity), and David Chang, the downtown legend behind Momofuku and Ssm Bar. Co-hosted by Hampton Style, Hamptons blog the Beach, and food blog Eater, the showdown was played for little more than sheer glory.

Chris Vila, Mo Koyfman, and Lockhart Steele were given two hours to prep and cook six burgers on 30-inch Weber grills, with ingredients sourced only on the East End. Judges rated the burgers on a 100-point scale.

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The final burgers, presented en masse.

In the end, Steele won with a 100 percent ground chuck burger, prepared with a dash of bread crumbs, onion zest, lemon juice, heavy cream, and olive oil, topped with white American cheese and a controversial tomato-corn relish. Some may have called foul, seeing as Steele publishes both the Beach and Eater, but with a winning score of merely 78.6, it was clear that no entrant had truly impressed the judges. (Chang took particular issue with Steeles use of cream and bread crumbs.) But post-judging, as Steele prepared the winning burgers for the rest of the crowd, Spotted Pig co-owner Ken Friedman was overheard saying, This is a really good burger. Which, in the end, is all the blessing one needs. Jessica Coen

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The winning burgers were prepared In-n-Out style, with a quick brush of mustard as the meat hit the grill.