#16 New Zealand: The Kiwi Hamburger Hosing

Whenever I eat a burger in Manhattan, I can’t help but think that I’m getting completely hosed. A few nights ago, I was sitting in a nondescript Midtown bar, watching the Sox-Yankees game and texting an old buddy of mine who lives in a small city in Iowa. I was eating a nondescript burger ($11.95, plus an extra buck for cheese) and drinking a pint… and thinking about how I was spending about $25 for the burger and beer, including tax and tip.

I stupidly asked my Iowan friend how much the priciest burger in his town would cost. His response: $5 or $6, max.

Crap, I totally got hosed again.  Gotta love NYC.

kinda pretty, but we still got hosed

And as if I wasn’t offended enough by the $11.95 burger on Sunday, I decided to go to Nelson Blue for a New Zealand-style burger today… which cost a mighty $15.50.

My wallet officially hates Manhattan. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any New Zealand restaurants in Queens, so we had to settle for a trip to the South Street Seaport, which explains the kiwi hamburger robbery.

In case you’re wondering, the burger was fine. It was a standard burger on a standard bun served with standard industrial food-service French fries. The exotic part was that it came with grilled pineapple, a fried egg, and some pickled vegetables. That’s some serious burger excitement. It’s not $15.50 worth of excitement, though… especially since we received the wrong burger at first, and had to wait for a new one.

there's no "i" in team, but there is an "i" in meat pie... not much meat or cheese, though

In an attempt to stick to a kiwi theme, we ordered the D.U.B. (Down Under Bakery) beef & cheese pie, served with fried potatoes and mushroom gravy. The pie was pretty runty–a little bit larger than a snack, and it contained exactly zero cheese. Tasty enough, but sure as hell not worth $14. (I shoulda known better: the Hitchhiker’s Guide to New Zealand warned me that the pies can never be rated above “good”.)

I love cheapass, grungy international peasant food. Nelson Blue doesn’t pretend to serve anything of the sort, and it’s in one of the most tourist-saturated areas of Manhattan… surely, I shouldn’t have expected anything other than inflated prices for uninspiring food.

I can’t really pick on the restaurant too much–it’s a cute little place, the staff seemed friendly and professional, and the kiwi Steinlager beer was stronger than most crappy American beers. But now I’m absolutely dying to get out to Woodhaven or Jackson Heights or Flushing for some real food.

Nelson Blue on Urbanspoon

Nelson Blue
233-235 Front Street, Manhattan
Subway: Fulton Street (2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, M, Z)

3 Responses to “#16 New Zealand: The Kiwi Hamburger Hosing”

  1. Alice says:

    Should’ve just had some roast lamb mmmmMmm. Sad that New Zealands cuisine didn’t do it for you 🙁

  2. Yeah, you’re probably right: roast New Zealand lamb and maybe some good New Zealand cheese and a bottle of tasty New Zealand white wine might have been better. I don’t hold it against New Zealand, though! It was just one crappy experience in one New Zealand-themed restaurant in the U.S. Mmm… roast lamb… (wipes drool from chin).

  3. Elizabeth Munsey says:

    Fried egg on a hamburger was very common when I visited New Zealand this fall, don’t remember pineapple, though. And yeah, lamb is very New Zealand.

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