For the third year in a row, I’m going to attempt to eat every single item on Time Out New York’s annual 100 Best Dishes list. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100.┬áLet the gluttony continue…

I never get to eat out on Monday nights because I have to work at the restaurant. See, many restaurants have figured out how to capitalize on what is usually a slow night. Monday nights are not the prime dining out nights, but now thanks to all these special dinners and promotions, places can get very crowded. And since Apiary does a “No Corkage” fee on Monday nights, I’m always scheduled.

I finally got a Monday night off. And I immediately made plans to try the lamb burger at James. As you might have guessed, it’s only available on Monday nights.

I’ve always wanted to try James since first reading about it in Time Out many years ago. It has the same farm to table, neighborhood vibe that can get rather tiresome these days. I’m pleased to stay the food and service kept things fresh.

In addition to the lamb burger (which is part of their Monday Burger Night menu), we checked out some of their other menu items. The cauliflower soup with smoked trout had the right amount of creaminess and managed to hold a lot of flavor (even though cauliflower usually doesn’t). The skate was browned beautifully and sat atop a solid sunchoke puree, which was slightly too similar to the cauliflower soup. But the dish had a nice brightness and richness.

The lamb burger was served on a semolina bun with smoked paprika fries (in addition to sweet potato and herbed, one of three different french fry options on offer here). A generous spread of goat cheese really played up the gamey flavor of the meat and perhaps overwhelmed it. On its own, I didn’t find the patty to have a very strong lamb flavor. It was advertised as being dusted with cumin (which I think would have helped with those flavors), but I was not able to sense any of those spices. The burger was juicy and seared properly, but was actually slightly under seasoned. I also found that true of the tepid and soft fries.

It was still a nice burger, but not anywhere as delicious as some other ones I’ve had around town. And certainly not worth taking off Monday nights.

Would James’ Lamb Burger make my Top 100 of the year? It lacked much lamb flavor and could have used more seasoning, but it was juicy and filling so it gets a 7 out of 10.

JAMES
1605 Carlton Avenue (between Prospect Place and St. Marks Avenue)
Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
(718) 942-4255
jamesrestaurantny.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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