Big thanks to Bloomberg TV, which invited me in for their “Burger Smackdown” event, where Stephanie Ruhle, Erik Schatzker, Tom Keene, Max Abelson, and I sampled some high-end burgers fit for Wall Streeters with deep pockets.
The whole video is below, but tied for the best was the $140 DB Burger “Royale” from the DB Bistro Moderne.
First, here’s the info we got on it. Below we’ll note our impressions:
DB BURGER “ROYALE”, DB BISTRO MODERNE:
• We will have the “Royale” on set
• Royale cots between $70-$140 MC (according to their site)
• Original DB Burger costs $32 MC
• Royale Description: Sirloin Burger Filled with Braised Short Ribs Foie Gras and Black Truffle, Served on a Parmesan Bun Pommes Fritesor Pommes Soufflées With Layered Shaved Black Truffles
The db Burger was created by Chef Daniel Boulud prior to db Bistro Moderne’s June 2001 opening. The impetus came from a journalist asking Daniel to comment on the rioting of French farmers directed at McDonald’s locations in France.* “The French are just jealous they did not invent the hamburger themselves” Daniel responded. Inspired by the topic, the chef went on to invent a burger of his own, combining the best of French and American cuisine. The result is the now famous db burger. Its delectable stuffing is based on the short ribs braised in red wine that are a signature dish on the menu at DANIEL. The renowned burger is offered exclusively at db Bistro Moderne, at the restaurant’s locations in in New York City, Miami and Singapore. The db burger is actually a combination of two dishes: on the outside a classic ground sirloin burger, and on the inside a stuffing of tender red wine braised short ribs (off the bone), foie gras, a mirepoix of root vegetables and preserved black truffle. The homemade toasted parmesan and poppy seed bun is spread with a touch of fresh horseradish, oven roasted tomato confit, fresh tomato, red onions and frisée lettuce.
The db Burger “Royale” features the addition of fresh black truffle and a truffle dressing. The “Royale” version was launched in January 2003, with the arrival of black truffle season. Black truffle has always been a key ingredient in the burger’s rich stuffing, making the dish a perfect vehicle for slices of this decadent, intensely flavored extravagance. You can choose to have several ethereal slices of fresh black truffle cover the DB Burger “Royale”, but only during the black truffle season. With fresh black Perigord truffles commanding as much as $800 or more per pound, a burger laden with them is a luxury. The “Royale version of the burger is market priced, according to the seasonal market price of fresh black truffle. It is served exclusively during black truffle season, which usually runs from late December through late March.
So how was it? Actually awesome. Between the fois gras and the truffles it’s like biting into a luscious burger cake. The only weird part about it is that it’s very high, so biting into it is a challenge (mercifully, the actual eating was off camera).
Is it worth $140? Sure, why not. I just ate a third of one, and it was basically a complete meal. A full one would be more than a huge feast with the finest, fattiest, juiciest ingredients. Probably worth doing once.
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