225 E 60th St
City: New York, NY
Phone: (212) 838-3531
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Family Friendly
Area: East 60s
Entree Price: $15-20
In May of 2012, Serendipity 3 was recognized as the Guinness World Record holder for serving the world’s most expensive hamburger, the $295 Le Burger Extravagant. It was not the first Guinness World Record that Serendipity 3 received, as they also created the world’s largest wedding cake and milk shake, and served the world’s most expensive hot chocolate ($1,000) and hot dog ($65), though they have since been ousted as the world’s most expensive hotdog server. All profits from the extravagant items are donated to the Bowery Mission, which has served the homeless and hungry in New York for over 100 years. So what makes a hamburger cost so $295, especially considering that the next most expensive hamburgers on Serendipity 3’s menu are the Caviar Burger and the Bacon Cheddar Chili Burger, at $18.50 a piece?
At $300, Le Burger Extravagant is a ten-ounce Wagyu beef patty infused with 10-herb white truffle butter, seasoned with Alderwood smoked sea salt, topped with Montgomery cheddar cheese, shaved black truffles, and a fried quail egg, served on a white truffle buttered 24K gold flecked Campagna roll, which is topped with a blini crème fraiche and Kaluga caviar. Those ingredients add up to a lot of scratch, and they must be assembled 48 hours in advance of being served, so this burger cannot be ordered on the spot. The real cost of the burger however, comes in the solid gold toothpick with a diamond tip, furnished by Euphoria. In its first year of existence, Le Burger Extravagant has been served about three dozen times, to area regulars and tourists alike.
The first thing that I noticed when biting into this burger was that the patty essentially defied me to bite all the way through it. The Wagyu beef was packed tightly, and while it tasted fantastic, I became aware that I was in for a multi-tiered endurance experience.
The next sensation that hit me was a massive wall of truffle flavor. Read the above description, provided by Serendipity 3, and you’ll notice that truffle is mentioned three times. Black truffle butter packs the center of the burger, white truffle butter coats the bun, and shaved black truffles blanket the patty’s surface. I dare say, there might be such a thing as too much truffle, though I didn’t feel that way until long after my meal, when food the following day didn’t taste quite the same as it had the day before (this sensation has since subsided). To speak about it critically, the truffle flavor on the bun and on the surface of the patty were both lovely, while the truffle within the burger was incredibly intense.
The quail egg added a fun dimension to the burger. The caviar, blini crème fraiche, and gold flakes serve to remind you that you are eating something opulent far more than they add any particular flavor to the burger, though their texture was certainly noted and made this a truly unique undertaking. And though this hamburger is indeed extravagant, it is not for the dainty and proper; a hamburger’s essence is most present in this burger’s juicy messiness.
Rationalizing the Purchase: Rather than simply sum up Le Burger Extravagant, I want to take this space to list reasons why burger-lovers might splurge on this beast. 1) This burger is hefty and incredibly rich. I was very full after finishing, and wished I had shared it with someone else. Splitting that bill equally would certainly help. 2) You can’t experience a burger like this without visiting Serendipity 3 and ordering this burger. You might even get a chance to see first-hand the certificate from Guinness. 3) If you feel really poor after buying it, one could throw sentiment out the window and hock the gold-and-diamond toothpick (I was able to see said toothpick, but as a guest of Serendipity I was not able to take it home at a profit). And finally, how else will you end up with gold specks all over your hands and face (and camera/phone, if you’re addicted to food photography)?
Review By: Brad Garoon