Louis' Lunch - Dude Grade C-
263 Crown St
New Haven, CT 06511-6611
Phone: (203) 562-5507
Louis' Lunch is the birthplace of the hamburger (est 1900), so I wanted to check it out. We dudes always debate which burger is best, so I figured I had to go check out where it all started. A fun experience although the burger is really a head scratcher - hype for no reason really.
The burger is cooked in these old school broilers and served between two slices of toasted white bread (no ketchup, mustard or mayo allowed). What you notice is the grind of the meat is a solid course grind and you get a great crunchy crust with some good char flavor due to the broiler. It's also quite juicy as they cook it to a nice medium rare. Where this is lacking is the flavor since it tastes like they don't season this sucker at all. Meat flavor is totally muted and it's dying for some salt/pepper. A decent/good burger, but it really coulda been a contender.
Foxon Park White Birch **
Another home run for the local East Haven beverage. This was so refreshing and delicious.
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way
Overall Restaurant Experience
- Food (C-) – An OK burger even without the seasoning, but I feel like you can get a better burger anywhere in NYC. I don't care how good they think the meat is (maybe equal to JG in meat quality), but you have to season!
- Service (N/A) – You order at the counter and they call your name out when it's ready. Takes about 8-10 minutes for your burger to cook. Guys at the counter are pretty friendly as long as your quick on the decision making/ordering.
- Atmosphere (A) – Old school defined (opened circa 1895). The whole place is wood and brick with tons of carvings etched into all the booths and walls. Funny things can be found everywhere (specials of da day - hamburger!). We got there at 8:30pm on a Saturday and found the last wall seat. Place seats maybe around 15 and there's a ton of traffic in/out for take out. Definitely love the vibe here.
- Price (C) - Burgers are 5.25 which is alright.
We dudes are quite spoiled being in NYC where you can head to any neighborhood and have a pretty awesome burger. The dudes have two types of burger categories - fancy ass burgers using aged primo meat (Prime Meats is the #1 burger for me/Porthos) and the normal burger using cuts like chuck (JG Melon). Louis' falls into the JG Melon category and JG Melon wipes the floor with the place - awesome beef flavor and very juicy. If Louis' sneaks some more salt/pepper into the mix, this would be a pretty awesome burger, but they've been doing things the same way for 100 years, so I don't see change anytime in in their future. Still no clue why everyone was going nuts over the burger - a large group was quite verbal how good it was. Nostalgia and the power of tv (this place is on travel channel and food network a lot) must play a big part of the mystique.