Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Eating out on $50: East Coast Burger Company in Ridgewood

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Eating out on $50: East Coast Burger Company in Ridgewood

Article excerpt

The burgers at this recently opened place are first-rate, and keeping the cost of dinner under $50 for two is easy. On a recent visit there were a couple of kinks that East Coast Burger could easily work out.

For example, when I placed my order, I asked for the green chili cheeseburger cooked medium-well. The cashier said, "All our burgers are cooked medium."

True, I later discovered, but she forgot to mention a big "however." In fact, East Coast Burger will cook one to any degree of doneness a customer requests, Mike Ostrowsky, the son of one of the owners, told me a few days after I visited.

Another reason for cooking to medium unless otherwise requested is to prevent disputes about a burger being a little too well-done, or a little pinker than the medium-rare a customer might be used to, Ostrowsky said.

All right, let's eat.

For an appetizer, my friend and I split the goat cheese and beet salad ($9.50), which was extraordinary. The cheese was mild and plentiful, the beets crunchy and sweet. This wonderful pairing was served on a large plate of mixed greens and moderately spicy walnuts, all in a balsamic dressing. That salad was big enough to satisfy three people and good enough to make East Coast Burger a place to try.

Maybe that green chili cheeseburger ($6.95) wasn't cooked the way I prefer but it was thick, juicy and possessing a rich beefy flavor unlike anything I've encountered in the franchises.

Moreover, the Monterey Jack cheese was mischievous, the green chilies pleasantly impish, and an accompanying serving of "ECB sauce" (mayonnaise, ketchup and a third ingredient Ostrowsky absolutely refused to identify) a welcome change from dreary old ketchup.

My friend ordered a veggie burger ($5.50), which was made with black beans and chipotle pepper. She asked if the chipotle was one of the ingredients in the burger itself or spooned onto it.

The cashier said that if she preferred, the chipotle could be served on the side. But when dinner arrived, my guest took a bite and discovered that the chipotle was, indeed, in the burger. …

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