Bowery Diner


Joy! Big Tabasco Bottle on Table at Bowery Diner (photo by MJ Byers)

“The God I believe in is a god of second chances.”  Bill Clinton

Eatery:   Bowery Diner, 241 Bowery, New York, NY

Have you ever met someone you found really attractive (great looking plus, on paper, a good match for you) and all you could think about was getting together with him/her?  And then, you did – only to find out there’s no spark at all?    When I was single, I had a policy for such situations – ALWAYS accept the second date.  You never know…..your feelings could completely change the next time you see that person.  Back when I was dating, I always gave a guy a second chance (unless he was a complete jerk).

Why am I telling you this?   Because all these memories came flooding back during my visit to Bower Diner.  On paper, I am totally attracted to this place. The Bowery is one of my favorite parts of NYC – gritty, funky, and home to lots of cool places (e.g. The New Museum).  So a diner – a restaurant format beloved to me – on the Bowery was a promise of awesomeness.  Then, I saw the place – it has all the right diner décor except shinier, with a menu boasting a mix of traditional diner fare and decidedly un-dinery items.  Think confit duck hash, raw bar and a reserve wine list (including Dom Perignon available for a cool $360). They even put a big bottle of Tabasco sauce on the table (see Glossary for my ode to Tabasco).  It shouted “Look at me! I’m tres eclectic!” and I started dreaming of that first dining date.  Could. Not. Wait.  So, when I was in the neighborhood the other day I couldn’t walk into the door fast enough.

The lunch menu is a bit more basic than the dinner fare, which was fine as I was just there to sample the burger.  I somewhat hesitantly ordered the Bowery Burger – ordering it because it was eponymous but being hesitant because it included what was described as a “pastrami slice” (along with Swiss cheese, spicy mustard, lettuce, onion, and tomato).  I’ve never been a fan of pastrami but my mother loves it…. so how bad could one slice be?

Bowery Burger at Bowery Diner (photo by MJ Byers)


It turns out I still don’t really understand why my mother sees in pastrami.  It’s really not my thing at all (kind of fatty), and the “slice” actually turned out to be two slabs (maybe this counts as a slice in the world of pastrami).  To make sure the pastrami didn’t influence me one way or the other, I removed one slab in order to take the first bite of the burger without it.  Then I had my second bite with it.  And here’s my verdict: if you like pastrami, you may like this burger.  If you’re indifferent to or hate pastrami, you’ll probably want to give the Bowery Burger a miss.

My anti-pastrami sentiments now confirmed, I’m going to skip over that part and just talk about the basic parts of the burger.  The beef patty seemed pre-formed and the flavor was non-descript.  Though I ordered the burger medium, it arrived well done which probably didn’t help its case.  The fries ($4 extra), however, were pretty good:  a bit thicker than my shoestring preference but a nice blend of crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, with just a bit of salt.


I also ordered an egg cream (chocolate).  For no reason other than it’s a famous New York beverage and I thought I should find out what that’s all about.  I don’t know what an egg cream is supposed to taste like, but this was eminently skippable – watery and neither eggy nor chocolatey.  It will join pastrami  on my “thanks, but no thanks” list.

Chocolate Egg Cream at Bowery Diner (photo by MJ Byers)


Having said all this, I’m going back to Bower Diner.  It’s like the smokin’ hot guy who has all the right credentials to boot – I am determined to find a way to fall in love with it.

Price:  Bowery Burger, $7.95; fries, $4.00; chocolate egg cream, $3.75

 Destination Burger:  No – sorry.  Might give it another shot, though…..second chances and all.

Optional French Fry Rating:  Pretty good.

Today’s Weigh In:  3 lbs up.  Oh dear…….

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