1. The Sparrow - Astoria's beloved casual bar and eatery found directly across the street from the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. Sparrow has gotten so popular lately that I'd urge ya'll to get there early--even if you're using it as back-up when the Beer Garden gets crowded. Its loyal fan base has no doubt grown from its homey atmosphere, good music and of course its flourishing food cred. The burgers are a particular must and Reyes--Sparrow's head chef--has them down to a science.What makes the Sparrow burger a plus for me is the brioche bun--always fresh with a hint of sweetness. The burger meat itself is yet another masterpiece. It's juicy, seasoned well with various fresh and dried herbs and is generous in size--you won't get slider portions here! Pair it with your choice of cheese (gruyere, fontina, brie or cheddar), a side of their crunchy fries (herbed or spiced) and you got yourself a killer Sparrow Burger. Happiness and gluttony on a plate for $9-$12 (depends on your choice of toppings).
The Sparrow: 24-01 29th Street, Astoria, NY 11102. 718.606.2260 www.sparrowbar.com
2. Fatty's - Also a small neighborhood gruberie, which offers its own spin on American and Latin bar food--think empanadas, croquetas, burritos and of course the mighty burger. Fatty's is known as a laid-back spot on Ditmars Blvd not far from Astoria Park. It's especially a hit in the summer, offering a nice outdoor garden with a backyard feel. You'll find people hangin' out all day and night. If you want to chill with the locals, go to Fatty's.
The Fatty's burger is complex. There are five varieties including a salmon burger and a Jalapeno turkey burger (shown here). Like at Sparrow, the portions are generous and I'd say even more so. The actual burger meat is fantastic--also moist, hearty and packed with fresh ingredients. Fatty's burgers are "glitzy", illustrated by this turkey burger. They're accompanied by a lot of crap--the mayo, the veggies, the salad, the list goes on. While I enjoy these embellishments on their own, they sometimes steal the burger's thunder. But if you fancy a fancy burger, I highly recommend Fatty's. The prices are wallet friendly, ranging from $7-$11.
Fatty's: 25-01 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, NY 11105. 718.267.7071 http://www.fattyscafenyc.com/
Which burger wins? I'm biased and choose Sparrow (I have a soft spot for Reyes) but you be the judge. Visit these neighborhood joints and let us know what you think.