A few years ago, I booked a trip to New York on a whim to accompany a friend of mine and her husband (who had been hired to do some artisan work there) on their first trip to the Big Apple (I’m from NY, so I’m allowed to say that). Seeing as my friend and I both worked in food media, it’s perhaps no surprise that – after the tall buildings and the hustle and bustle of Williamsburg – the thing that most intrigued and impressed them was the food.
This is something I have a hard time explaining to Americans, who assume that Paris is the be-all and end-all of great food. It’s not that the food here is anything to turn your nose up at (far from it), but my hometown can hold its own – and is sometimes even superior to Paris in terms of variety. Paris has great French food and is only just starting to get good anything-else food; New York has everything (and you can get it at all times of day or night).
One thing that really held my friends’ attention was the meat: bacon, steaks, and ground meat all featured heavily in our diets for the four days we stayed there.
Their favorites? Cheeseburgers. We ate them nearly everywhere.
Cheeseburgers have kindled a flame in the hearts not just of my friends but of more than a handful of Parisians, these days. They appear on nearly every bistro and brasserie menu – always with cheese, often with bacon – forcing me to pronounce the horrid un cheeseburger with a French accent.
While the devotion to them is starting to border on obsession, I’ll forgive it seeing as that means you can now get a very good quality hamburger in pretty much every neighborhood in Paris.
Maison Burger is one of these: a simple spot devoted to a small variety of burgers, accompanied by wines by the glass, a good selection of craft beers, and a handful of cocktails.
On a recent visit, I opted for the classic with blue cheese while the Country Boy went for the same with cheddar and bacon; both came with fried red onions and sundried tomatoes, which were nice touches as compared to more traditional raw onion and tomato.
The burgers themselves are smaller than most which actually suits me fine: they’re made with quality ingredients and don’t rely on an overly bready bun to take up space (and make the burger impossible to bite into). And of course, that makes it easier to enjoy the part of the menu that most charmed me: cheese fries.
I don’t think I ever expected, when I moved to Paris 11 years ago, that I’d be ordering cheese fries in the French capital, but here we are; I think I’m OK with it.
Maison Burger – 6, rue Grégoire de Tours, 75006