SPOT: THE CRAFTSMAN ALE HOUSE – HARRISON

The Craftsman Ale House – Harrison

Best of Westchester, make your own burger!

Best of Westchester, make your own burger!

My quest for Westchester’s best burger continues. Next on my stop is the Craftsman Ale House in Harrison.

The Craftsman’s location makes it a great pre-train ride stop for a meeting in the city or simply a great spot to meet up with friends. It is casual attire. The staff is super friendly and will gladly provide you with a sample of one of their tap beverages that range from the local to the limited production / hard to source variety. With an excellent selection of beer to accompany any variation of “make your own burger”, a food finder such as myself can easily forget his quest. Simply said, if you enjoy craft beer, this is your Mecca!

It hurts me to write this, but enough beer, onto the burger. The Craftsman has a selection of “house” burgers that sound amazing. I chose the create your own option, simply because I am a fan of customization.

I opted for a beef burger, medium rare, with pepper jack cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, and onion rings. With all of those flavors, I opted to skip the sauces. Those Westchester food finders more daring than I, will surely take this burger to even higher levels.

This burger is delicious. The beef had an excellent grilled outer layer, and was cooked perfectly to order on the inside. It was juicy, and the crispy and sweet onions and bacon were a wonderful sweet and savory contrast. Add a little heat from the pepper jack cheese, and the flavors are hitting on all cylinders.

Whether you are going for the beer or the burgers, you are a winner here. If you go for both, hats off to you!

Enjoy and tell them that Westchester Food Finds sent you!

SPOT: THE TAP HOUSE -TUCKAHOE

1st Stop on the Quest for Westchester's Best Burger!

The Quest for Westchester’s Best Burger!

 

My first stop on the quest for Westchester’s best burger brings me to Tuckahoe. The Tap House is host to modern American fare, ranging from delicious burgers, sandwiches, salads, and tasty upscale pub snacks, to seared scallops and black-angus steaks. Whether you are grabbing a table with friends coming up from NYC for a sit down meal, or simply grabbing a drink with a few friends, the restaurant’s setting is very accommodating. The Tap House has a wonderful selection of tables, booths, and great seats on a fantastic bar.

We’ll revisit The Tap House and get into their large selection of seasonal, domestic, imported, and craft beer choices and seared scallops and steak some other time. Today is all about burgers, and The Tap House delivers a burger worth going back for time and time again.

They begin with a high quality beef and the chefs char-grill your burger to your desired temperature. The charring gives the burger a firm crisp texture while locking in all the natural flavors and juices of the meat. Take your pick of cheese topping and decide whether you want to add the crispy fried onions on top or keep some on the side for snacking on in between bites of burger.

I personally build mine with the lettuce tomato and fried onions and pass on the ketchup and red onion. A burger this perfectly cooked and seasoned needs no condiments.

I will preface my next comment by saying that The Tap House’s burger on its own is one of Westchester’s best, but the addition of their everything French fries takes the meal over the top. The fries are sprinkled with a blend of poppy, sesame, salt, pepper and other “everything” ingredients that give you that burst of flavor that convinces you to stay a while longer and have another beer.

Make trips to The Tap House often, for burgers, beer and anything else that peaks your interest.

FOOD: CHEESE STUFFED BURGERS

My Favorite Cheese Stuffed Burger

Before I start on my quest for the best Westchester burger, I think it’s only appropriate to share my favorite burger with our readers. My burger is a blend of three meats, and cheese stuffed and seasoned from within. I finish it with a melted cheese topping and sautéed onions and BBQ sauce. It may not take first prize in my quest for the best, as I hear the competition is fierce. If I can make it in my kitchen, you can recreate it in yours, and then you can be the judge.

 

Ingredients List

1 Part 90% Ground Beef

1 Part 80% Ground Veal

1 Part Ground Pork

Favorite cheese cubed

Second Favorite cheese sliced

Burger Bun of your choice

1 Large Onion

Favorite BBQ Sauce

6 Pack of your favorite cold beer (optional)

I like to start with three different types of meats. Start with equal parts 90 per cent beef, 80 percent veal, and ground pork. Start mixing using your hands; fold the meats until you feel like you have a nice blend. Separate the blend into portions that work for you. Once you determine your portions, split the portions into equal sizes. Take approximately 1/3 of the portion and flatten. Take the other 2/3 of the blended meat and flatten as well. Repeat the process with the rest of your portioned meat. Cut up some of your favorite cheese. I prefer a spicy chipotle Gouda. Place your cheese in the middle of your flattened 2/3portion. Salt and pepper your cheese. As the cheese melts it will flavor your burger from the inside out.

Place the meat in the palm of your hand and place the smaller flattened 1/3 portion on top. Round the meat and seal the cheese in the center. Flatten slightly. Salt and pepper your meat combo. I prefer a combination of black and red pepper and like pink salt, but any salt and pepper will do. I’ve added some illustrations below.

flat with cheeseBurger

Place your burgers aside. Chop your onion and place in a pan coated with non-stick spray. Sweat them and reduce the heat. Pour in your BBQ sauce and keep at a slow simmer. Your BBQ sauce will reduce and your unions will caramelize.

Grill or broil your burgers. I have my grill ready all year round and it’s my preferred method. Preheat your grill or oven, and drop on your burgers. You want a nice sear on the outside. The searing will lock in your flavors as well as the delicious melted pocket of cheese and seasoning you created. It’s my responsibility to tell you to cook your burgers to the recommended temperature. Keep in mind the different type of meats used. Place your sliced cheese on top of your burger 30 seconds before your burgers are done to get a nice melt. I like to use a Havarti as my sliced cheese option. I find the Havarti and chipotle Gouda are complementary, but I recommend mixing and matching to find your favorite combination.

WARNING: DO NOT OVER FLIP YOUR BURGERS. Those of you guilty of being over flippers know who you are. Sear for a few minutes, flip and let the burgers cook. Use this time to grab an option beverage, and relax. Pat them for doneness, use a thermometer, or time yourself if you have to, just don’t keep flipping. You can break your cheese pocket and all of your hard work will be wasted.

Toast your bun or roll if you prefer. I unfortunately was short on time, and refused to use 8-pack buns on this burger. As in my example, your favorite variety English muffin will do just fine. I also have an example of a bun-less mozzarella stuffed burger for those instances where I feel like skipping the carbs.

cooked

Place your burger on the bottom piece of the muffin(or simply plate if you go bun-1less). Spoon some of your sautéed BBQ caramelized onions on top. Drizzle some more BBQ to taste and top you burger.

Grab a cold one and enjoy.

 

bunlessburger with bun