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The song "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga was playing as I sat down at Saltbae Burger in Gramercy. Saltbae's signature schstick is dropping a dash of salt with a flick of the wrist, and at his burger joint, diners also have access to a small container of salt just in case they get the urge as well. Beyond that the place has energy, good energy, from an energetic staff willing to go the extra mile for you. Yes, you will pay a bit more, but the folks we saw didn’t seem to mind. Dining here can cost as little as ten bucks for a 3 oz “Wet Burger” smothered a special sauce all the way to $100 for the “Gold Burger” made with wagyu beef and topped with cheddar, caramelized onion and gold leaf arriving on a house-made sesame seed bun. Most people seem to go for the “juicy” burger which does live up to its name. All of the burgers are flame broiled on a large grill in the open kitchen, including some served on a charcoal-black bun. And then there are the over-the-top shakes. I must say there is nothing like seeing a kid’s face light up when presented with an oreo encrusted shake topped with a chocolate-dipped cone that arrives with two swirly lined straws. The Saltbae Baklava Shake is also a true showstopper. So, if I were a betting man, I’d say Saltbae is here to stay.
- Thomas Rafael