As I walked up to the fairly unassuming location on Christopher Street (conveniently located near the Christopher St station), the last thing on my mind was “I am about to have the best burger of my life,” but more on that in a bit. As I walked into the restaurant, I was immediately stuck by the lighting and decor, which made a striking contrast to the gourmet styled, brief menu.
Sitting at the counter I met one of the owners, Prem Chattoo, who gave me some insight on the restaurant and it’s origins. Self-described as a Gastropub (by the gastroenterologist), The Warren is out to set itself apart with it’s menu. A smile ascended his face, much like a sunrise, as he told me the origins of The Warren’s name:
“Peter Warren was a naval officer for the British forces in the 1700s, and he owned land all over New York. But right here in Greenwich Village he had a large mansion overlooking the Hudson River. So that is part of the reason we chose the Warren name, but there is more, there is a double entendre to it. A Warren is also a connected meeting place where people come together, but also a network of connected rabbit burrows, which is why you will see rabbits reflected in the motif.”
As I was sitting with the owner, the bartender, Salvador would never let my drink even get close to being empty. I would say The Warren has three items they pride themselves on, and one of them is the Warren Punch, a rotated daily offering. On this particular day, I was offered a Guava based Warren Punch, with lemon, thyme and wine. I could quickly see why this is one of their prized items, I would absolutely come back every day to see what flavor punch they offered that day.
The owner Prem also informed me of their mission to offer the best happy hour in all of New York City. Happy Hour is something they feel is not done right anywhere in the city, and they are out to change that based around the number $7. Where else can you get such quality for $7 in the entirety of New York City?
After the drinks and appetizers (composed of a tar tar dish, which while delicious in its own right, could not compare what was on the way), I was met face to face with the second prized item from The Warren: the Poutine. For those unfamiliar with poutine, it is a dish compromised of French Fries, gravy and cheese curds, but The Warren took that idea and made it their own. On top of a dish that was already divine, they added beef short rib meat, transforming a slice of heaven into the whole cake. Words cannot describe how unparalleled the flavor of this dish is, but I can try: damn. That is literally all that needs to be said, you absolutely owe it to yourself to try the poutine, even if you have previously not enjoyed another restaurant’s version. It really is that good.
While I was halfway through my magic trick of making the poutine disappear, I was introduced to the buttered twice fried chicken; yes, TWICE fried chicken. It was topped with a red slaw cabbage that was a better pairing than even Batman and Robin. The first thought that penetrated my mind as I took the first bite of this buttery, more valuable than gold piece of chicken was: it reminded me of popcorn! But not in a weird way, it was an extremely pleasant flavor, where the crunchiness from being fried twice melded with the buttery flavor, giving the very impression of the highest quality popcorn.
It was at that point I placed my hand on my stomach, sat back, and proclaimed: “I don’t think I can eat anymore…”, that is when the patron seated near me at the bar chimed in: “You have to try the Warren Burger, it is absolutely fantastic!” After conversing with him for a few digesting minutes, he told a story that caused me to immediately ask for a Warren Burger: “The other night there was a guy sitting in the very seat you are in, and he ate 2 and a half warren burgers by himself! But here’s the thing, he said he was a vegetarian for over 20 years!” Needless to say, a burger that can cause a lifelong vegetarian to question their life choices is something I needed to try!
A few minutes later (and a few drinks later, thank you again Salvador!) I was treated to the best site of the day: The Warren Burger. If a tourist asked me what sights to see in New York City, it would go like this: The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, and The Warren Burger. It was that impressive. Nestled on a brioche bun, the burger patty was topped with shropshire bleu cheese and sweet onion jam; and let me tell you this up front, I don’t like bleu cheese, and sweet onion jam sounded extremely peculiar, but I just had to try it. And oh my did I try it.
Upon my first bite, my sensations of being full were overtaken by the masterful combination of meat, sweet onion jam and bleu cheese. Even though, as I said, I am not a fan of bleu cheese, it was such an integral part of this burger that all of my preconceptions were dropped. This wasn’t just a burger, this was an EXPERIENCE.
Words cannot due this burger justice, you absolutely have to try it to believe it. My mouth is watering just writing these words, they almost have a taste to them, to the point I want to lick the words on my computer screen, hoping to get even a fragment of the flavor these words describe.
You can take this following statement as my stamp of approval: even though I live upstate, I will now regularly make the journey to New York City with the sole intention of dining at The Warren. I feel like poetry is almost necessary to impart how much I enjoyed the food from The Warren. If you are interested in visiting The Warren (and you should!) you can visit them at 131 Christopher St, New York NY, 10014. I would travel hundreds of miles to experience the medley of flavors put on display at this location, and I am left with a quandary for the next time I visit: Do I dare try something new, or stick with the most perfect burger I have ever had? There is actually a very easy answer to that: order the burger PLUS something new! I am a genius, but all of the people involved with The Warren? They are the true geniuses here.