314 Bleecker St (Barrow St & Grove St)
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 675-9463
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Area: West Village
When did getting a burger in the West Village on a Thursday night become such a difficult challenge? I put a crew together originally tried to go to Little Owl, but it had an incredibly long wait. A few other restaurants with notable burgers in the area were equally difficult to get a table at. One friend, ravaged by hunger, stormed into A.O.C. after the restaurant hopping got to be too much for her, and luckily for everyone else there were burgers to be had inside.
Though the service wasn’t exactly swift, our waitress was warm, friendly and accommodating for what must have been a peculiar and rare burgers-only dining experience at A.O.C.
I liked my standard bacon cheeseburger with cheddar cheese quite a bit. I had been worried about trying an unknown burger at a more upscale restaurant because the price wasn’t very high and that seemed suspicious. My worries were for naught when the burger was delicious, with a flavorful patty, high-quality and well-cooked bacon, and wonderfully melted cheese.
One of my fellow burger-biters who got his bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg. He said that his burger was like the Kentucky Derby; it raced strong out of the gate with delicious aplomb (perhaps the most pretentious word ever used to describe a burger in my presence), but then began to slow when the patty did not maintain the distinct flavor that he expected. He did very much enjoy the egg and cheese, saying that overall it was a pleasurable experience.
The ladies in the group both ordered bacon Roqueford cheeseburgers. Piggybacking off of the horse analogy, one friend called her burger the Secretariat of burgers. She’d never tried a medium rare burger before and did not intend to try one at A.O.C. But she was accidentally served someone else's patty and ate it medium rare anyway. She liked it so much she might convert to medium rare full time.
Everyone agreed that the accompanying frites were fantastic, as were the lightly glazed buns. The side salads were hardly touched. Who needs rabbit food?
The service was a bit slow, even worse for some of the neighboring parties, but the food was top notch. We ended up at A.O.C. quite accidentally, but none of us left regretting our spontaneous decision to eat there.
Review By: Brad Garoon