72 Nassau Street
New York, NY 10038
(212) 571-7272

Hamburger joints have been spreading across NYC almost to the point that they're becoming like pizza. Well... not really. But they're are a whole lot of them now and there didn't used to be when I was growing up. Zaitzeff represents the new breed of upscale, luxury hamburgers, where Kobe beef is on the menu and it doesn't even raise an eyebrow. I stopped into Zaitzeff's Financial District location (they also have in the East Village and East Midtown. Clearly they like the 6 train) for lunch today and last week to partake in their fare.

Zaitzeff is small. Four tables and expect to share them with your fellow diners. Upbeat jazz plays loudly to blur conversation and the line can be long. People coming in with orders to go cram up against people like me, who hope that a seat opens up in time. Financial District is a good place for Zaitzeff and restaurants like it. Tourists are everywhere (in fact, Zaitzeff seems to attract a lot of French ones. Or Canadian ones. Or maybe recent Tunisian expats.) along with business folks and a growing residential community. Plus, and let's be honest, FiDi has its share of seediness. Extra-cheap suit stores, we-buy-gold places, and cellphone repair hole-in-the-walls are everywhere. Finding a decent place to eat that isn't either a chain with a homeless person awkwardly offering to play doorman for you, a diner, or that caters to a corporate account clientele is like finding a needle in a haystack.

The menu here consists of hamburgers, a few sandwiches (three, actually), some sides and some salads. There's also serve beer and wine. To be sure, on my first visit, I sat next to a couple eating their burgers while sipping on some large glasses of red. One sandwich I tried was the Organic Chicken Breast Sandwich, a grilled chicken breast with lettuce and tomato, onion, mayo, and mustard. It was perfection except that it had the bad habit of falling apart. They should give you a fork, too. The mustard gave it bite, but it was mellowed out by the sweet sugar from the caramelized grilled onion. Every sandwich comes on a Portuguese roll, including the burgers. It was a nice touch. This makes the burgers considerably sweeter than they would be in a standard bun. And I'm sure it makes it easier to charge twice what you'd pay for something similarly sized at Wendy's. I also tried their Sirloin Sliders, three smallish hamburgers served with grilled onions and melted cheddar cheese. No lettuce or tomato, but I think they were probably better that way. Oh man, was that good. I almost don't want to return to get the Kobe burger because I doubt it can live up to the sliders. But I will.

The chicken sandwich and the sliders were each about $13, plus tax. Regular Sirloin hamburgers are about $9 for the quarter pounder and $14 for the half pounder. The Kobe is slightly more. The turkey is slightly less.

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