Almost five years ago chef Andrew Carmelli and his cohorts at the NoHo Hospitality Group (who run such glitzy hotspots as Lafayette, The Dutch, and Locanda Verde) opened an affordable burger joint called Mister Dips out of an airstream trailer on an elevated lawn in Williamsburg. Since then, and almost in defiance of its fancy William Vale Hotel surroundings, Mister Dips has emerged as one of the city's most reliably satisfying spots for a classic burger-shake-fries meal, with the added bonus of serving delightful "dairy dips."
Now Mister Dips brings its appealing menu and playful atmosphere to the newly developed Pier 17 in the Seaport District. And now that culinary director Jason Casey and his team have a relatively enormous kitchen in which to work, I'd say that the food at the new location is better than ever.
Griddle Burgers anchor the menu, and they're all terrific, elevated in the sense that they're cooked with care, using fresh, high-quality ingredients. The basic Single Dip is hefty, juicy, and packed with flavor, a well-charred beef patty topped with melted cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and pickles, the "fine n' dandy sauce" obviating the need for ketchup. If you really want to stretch your jaw, the Double Dip offers twice as much of the same, stuffed (as with all the burgers) between a potato bun that does its job with distinction.
The newest member of the burger family here is the cheesy BBQ Bacon Dip, and its a smoky (thanks to the crisp bacon), spicy (the crunchy slaw), and slightly sweet (the sauce) success. For vegetarians there's the Impossible™ Dip, featuring one of those popular plant-based patties plus a slice of tomato and a pile of sprouts, the latter of which feels almost charmingly retro at this point.
The well-seasoned, perfectly cooked Crispy Waffle Fries are excellent. I get mine plain because these beauties don't really need any assistance, but the Dirty Dipped version—smothered in queso and sprinkled with scallions—looks pretty delicious too. And though they're temporarily unavailable at both Mister Dips locations, I can tell you based on a feast a few weeks ago in Williamsburg that the sloppy, sauced-up chicken fingers, or County Classic Chixy Dips, can hang with the best Buffalo wings in town.
On to dessert! Or heck, only get dessert! Mister Dip's Dairy Dips are a perfect summertime treat, a generous pull of soft serve ice cream loaded and coated with all kinds of sweetness. The Berry Gibbs, studded with Nilla wafers and encased in strawberry, has a wonderful "red candy" vibe to it, and the decadent Chocolate P.B.D. comes complete with peanut butter cup jutting from its side. Equally luxurious are the "thick-aaazz" Dipsy Doozy shakes--the Choco Pudding Pop one was sludgy with malted brownie batter--and these also come in adults-only Boozy Doozy versions.
The interior of Mister Dips is tricked out with all sorts of neon cartoon characters, a constantly changing video wall, a soundtrack of '80s hits, and seating for more than 20 people at booths, two-tops, and a row of stools looking out at the Seaport's historic ships. Of course, there are picnic possibilities aplenty all over Pier 17, starring those show-stopping views of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. And a three course meal will still cost you less than twenty bucks.
The Seaport Mister Dips is located at 89 South Street, on Pier 17, and is currently open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (misterdips.com)