We love all kinds of burgers--from squishy fast-food styles to thick bistro beasts--but they've got to have a deep, beefy flavor and good bread that gives way to fresh, thoughtful toppings. Here, in no particular order, are our 10 favorites to eat right now:
? Whitehall in the West Village
This burger ($18) comes with some bonus Australian-style ingredients layered on the caramelized onions, cheddar and thick, juicy puck of meat: pickled beets and an over-easy egg with a nice runny yolk. Messy, but worth it.
? Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village
The Black Label Burger ($28) is a celebrity among hamburgers, and it rose to fame for a reason: The funky dry-aged meat, griddled with clarified butter, is without equal. The crunchy caramelized onions are divine.
? Blue Collar in Williamsburg
Our vote in the fast food-style category is for the squishy, satisfying burger ($4.50) at this tiny Brooklyn joint. It's layered with tomato, lettuce, white onions and of course, a sticky slice of American cheese. Best eaten immediately.
? Costata in Soho
We forgive the square bread on this delicious, lunch-only steakhouse burger. The excellent White Label Burger ($19) is built with McClure's pickles, American cheese and a smear of bacon marmalade.
? Lafayette in Noho
This Frenchified cheeseburger at Andrew Carmellini's bistro involves a thick, juicy patty of brisket meat and comes with melted Raclette and caramelized onions ($19). It's only available at lunchtime, so treat yourself.
? Montmartre in Chelsea
Michael Toscano's dry-aged brisket and short rib burger ($19) is a rich and superb sandwich of crusty pain au levain draped in a cheesy conconction that involves reduced Béarnaise, tarragon, creamed spinach and sautéed onions.
? J.G. Melon on the Upper East Side
The NYC institution still serves a fine burger ($10.25). It's a classic, made with onion and pickles on the side, thank you very much, and a plain bun. No need to mess around with a good thing.
? Rosette on the Lower East Side
Housemade pain au lait bread sounds fancy, but it's soft like a burger bun should be. It sandwiches a dry-aged beauty grilled in beef fat, a confit tomato slice and aged cheddar with tons of umami ($17).
? Petey's Burger in Astoria
Until we New Yorkers are afforded our God-given right to an In-N-Out Burger, this Queens spot will have to do. The super soft bun with a thin patty, melted American cheese and lettuce that's never wilting ($4.50) is everything a fast-food-style burger should be.
? Diner in Williamsburg
Of course, Diner's meat is 100% grass-fed beef, ground fresh each day at the butcher shop next door. The crunchy pickles are made in house. The buns are straight from the spectacular SheWolf Bakery. The burger ($15) is also expertly cooked, perfectly charred and full of flavor.