Zinburger Reinvents The Bun
If the grass is always greener on the other side, burger lovers can graze their hearts out at Zinburger, a wine and burger bar that recently opened at the Walt Whitman Shops.
Zinburger’s Huntington Station location is the first to open in New York, beating out a Nanuet location by two weeks. The New Jersey-based restaurant chain launched the wine and burger concept at their first restaurant three years ago, when owners took a gamble on a clever spin on comfort food.
According to Michelle McGuire, vice president of emerging brands for the Briad Group, burgers and wine fit the bill when it comes to defining comfort food. Fusing them together seemed like a logical step for the owners to take, McGuire said.
The emphasis on high-quality, reasonably priced comfort food — the majority of which is made in-house from scratch — coupled with eager and accommodating service distinguishes Zinburger a one-of-a-kind brand.
“We’re unpretentious with our wine and food, and the service is all about being one step ahead of the guest; bringing something to you before you realize you need it,” McGuire said, adding that the chain “hires the smile and teaches everything else.”
On the night of our visit, our server, Brian, both attentive and eager to please, certainly had the smile to boot. Brian, McGuire said, was one of the 100 new hires who gained employment after the store’s Oct. 22 opening.
Diving into the appetizers, referred to as “sides” on the Zinburger menu, we opted for the zucchini fries and the onion rings. While intended to be enjoyed along with your burger, the sides, McGuire explained, tend to come out before the meat of the meal when they are hot and fresh.
The zucchini fries ($6), sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served with a homemade cowboy ranch dressing, are outstanding. Packed with flavor and evenly crisp, the fries arrived at our table piping hot and were anything but soggy. The onion rings ($6) are served with a homemade barbeque sauce, which at first appeared to be an unlikely marriage, but Zinburger went 2-for-2 with their freshly prepared appetizers.
On to the burgers—Zinburger offers 14, including a turkey option, so we had a tough time narrowing down the menu to decide on our meal. We opted for the Breakfast Burger ($12), served with fried egg, avocado, American cheese, mayo and Neuske’s applewood smoked bacon. We agreed Zinburger’s reinvention of this breakfast classic puts the soggy egg sandwich to shame.
We also decided to try the restaurant’s signature, the Zinburger ($10). Served with manchego cheese, zinfandel braised onions and mayonnaise, the signature burger has a bold, unique flavor much in part, we found, due to the well-seasoned, tangy flavor of the braised onions.
For the non-carnivore, the Clint’s “Almost Famous” Veggie Burger ($9) was also memorable and showed that Zinburger’s chefs are consistent with the quality and presentation of all their burgers. The veggie pattie is made with an array of vegetables and comes with smoked mozzarella, avocado, pea shoots and mayonnaise.
And believe it or not, we still had room for dessert. Zinburger blew us away with their consistent and creative menu through and through, and dessert was no exception.
We chose the chocolate cream pie ($5), and we would do it again. One order of the cream pie is equivalent to one quarter of a whole pie, and is made using a chocolate cookie crust, a smooth and sweet-but-not-too-sweet chocolate filling, and is topped with a layer of whipped cream and drizzled in chocolate syrup. The crème burlèe shake ($6) is simple and wholesome, and the ice cream is evenly blended making it dangerously easy to guzzle down.
The quality of this casual dining experience was a breath of fresh air, bringing greener pastures to foodies everywhere.
If you’re feeling adventurous, and if you have an affinity for bacon and Bloody Mary’s, order the Bacon Bloody ($5), made with bacon-infused Skyy vodka, Worcestershire, cracked pepper and served with a bacon strip garnish instead of celery.
160 Walt Whitman Road, Huntington Station
Atmosphere: Modern and casually sleek
Cuisine: Burgers (vegetarian options available)
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat.11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.