We stopped by Paul’s Da Burger Joint despite its name because we read that it had been around for at least 25 years, which is starting to be a real milestone for New York City restaurants. We assumed that the good reviews on various restaurant sites, coupled with the 25+ year history meant we were going to have some pretty fabulous burgers. But we were wrong. There’s no compelling reason to come here.
Background music was playing softly when we entered, which was encouraging. There’s an open kitchen, so you’ll hear the annoying grill sounds along with the cooks and staff chatting but it’s manageable. Shortly after we were seated the waitress took our order. Then, inexplicably, someone raised the volume of the music–a classic rock radio station–when a song by Meatloaf came on. On purpose. Just our luck, it turns out it was a block of Meatloaf. While the volume wasn’t set at 11, it was too loud. And it was Meatloaf.
A really tasty burger could have made up a bit for the soundscape, but what we got was just meh. The burger looked good but it had an odd taste, or, more accurately, not much taste–it was more like a chopped steak than a burger, and not in a good way. The space smells of beef fat and whatever oil they use to fry their french fries, and it didn’t smell fresh. So we thought to ourselves, why come here? Streecha is around the corner, Veselka is nearby, and if you want a good old-fashioned burger, walk nine short blocks to Joe Jr. to taste what a great diner burger should taste like.
In short, there’s no reason to eat here: the place smells of stale fried beef fat, the burger is fairly tasteless, and the music is too loud. Ok, one reason to eat here would be that you’ve completed an East Village bar crawl, you drank way too much, and you need to put something–anything–in your stomach right this minute. Otherwise, avoid.
Sunday through Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.
131 2nd Avenue (betw. 7th and 8th Streets), New York, NY 10003