2004_12_food_burgersign.jpgGothamist was excited to hit the new MoMA, but was not too thrilled about spending 20 bucks on the new admission fee. So, we took advantage of the Target Free Friday nights. Not only did we get to see some cool art for free, but we had 20 bucks left over for dinner. But where the hell could we eat in midtown for 20 bucks? Then, in a burst of genius, it hit us. Inspired by our friend, neighbor, and fellow food-lover Manhattan Transfer, we visited the Burger Joint in the Parker Meridian Hotel.

Walking into lobby of the Parker Meridian is somewhat intimidating, with its super-high ceilings, marble, and mirrors. Sheepishly, we asked the concierge where the burger place was. "Follow the curtain around," he replied, "and you'll see the sign." And there it was.

Like a beacon, it called to us, and as we got closer, we peered around the corner and saw a room that looked like it was lifted out of a different building and plopped into the hotel by mistake. Cheap wood paneling, drop ceilings, and posters stuck to the walls with scotch tape. We only hoped the burgers matched the decor. And they did.

2004_12_food_burgerjoint.jpgA mere $5.50 for a cheeseburger wrapped in white paper, $1.50 for the fries, served in a brown paper bag, and $13 for a pitcher of Sam Adams (split among the group), we were good to go, and well within our $20 budget. If you're looking for something other than burgers, don't bother, because that's all they serve, but the burgers are juicy, tasty, and satisfying.

We lingered over our pitchers, listening to their fantastic music mix (Kung Fu Fighting, These Boots Are Made for Walking, and strangely enough, Lady in Red), and licked the grease and ketchup off our fingers as we realized that we only got to see a little bit of the art at MoMA this time around. Guess we'll have to make another trip soon, and there's no doubt that we'll be returning to the Burger Joint the next time we do.

Burger Joint, 118 W 57th Street, Midtown.