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I do love me a New York date night. You know the place I mean. So dim that you have a tough time reading your menu (but it doesn’t matter what you order because everything is fantastic), bartenders in white serving up classic dirty martinis and gin fizzes, and Sinatra crooning in the background.

Fortunately for me I was at such a place last night: Minetta Tavern in the Village. But my date partner was less a romantic interest and more of just a good friend. We sat at the bar and talked about our first-world New York problems while sampling some delicious Pinot Noir.

Now folks, there is typically one reason why people first check out Minetta Tavern – the Black Label Burger. This $26-concoction of four types of prime aged beef (topped with caramelized onions) is a torrent of juices and flavors that pretty much drench your mouth as you bite into the tender, almost steak-like burger. (Hungry yet?) This burger is often billed as the best in New York, and maybe the best you will ever have. For $26, it better be.

But in my humble opinion, while this was absolutely out-of-this-world, it is hard to live up to the hype of “best xyz anywhere.” I still think that the grass-fed burger I had at Diner in Williamsburg on my birthday was the best burger I’ve ever had. But hey, I’ll settle for a really REALLY close second. The waiter, Freddy, may have been enough to knock the burger over the top. Mmm what a tasty dish.