Every hot spot restaurant has a burger, but for the longest time, one of the county’s best and trendiest did not. Fortina has always been known for its wood-fired pizzas, pastas, bone marrow whiskey or wine luges (if you’re lucky), and a whole lot of swagger, but a burger was the one thing that remained missing.
A few months back Fortina, on social media, teased a burger that was then still in test phases. My anticipation level shot through the roof because I knew these guys wouldn’t serve just some ordinary patty on a bun, they’d surely slap their “on fleekness” on this bad boy.
Shortly thereafter I texted my friend Jared Falco, a chef at Fortina Rye Brook, to see if I could stop by and not only try the burger but to get some info about it too.
A beer and a burger belong together. This slightly sour bottle of Grand Cru (a perfect 100 on Beer Advocate) was much appreciated.
I sat down, with a large format bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru, because beer and burgers are meant to be, and out came the burger I had yearned for since I saw the first teaser photo.
Already starving when I walked in, the sight of the burger made my stomach growl and my mouth watered, and my eyes just about popped out of my head. No, not because it was a monstrosity of a burger, but because the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s covered in a pungently delicious Parmesan sauce (that I was told has more than just Parm in it, but the rest is an insider secret).
The burger itself is made up of a Pat LaFrieda beef blend and is seasoned and cooked on a flat top that helps develop a nice crust. The juicy burger is placed on a toasted Martin’s seeded bun with green tomato relish on the bottom that adds sweetness, and the savory Parm sauce enveloping it all on top. The kicker is the addition of a piece of crispy chicken fried mortadella in place of bacon, but you still get that same porky sensation, only crispier, meatier, and all the more Italian.
A peek inside at the juicy beef, gooey cheese sauce, and the deep fried mortadella.
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As far as sides are concerned, it comes simply, with just a lightly pickled cucumber. After I gobbled up the savory burger, I went to the pickle and noted it acts as a palette cleanser, to which Chef Falco agreed with. Some might appreciate a few fries to soak up the cheese sauce that will inevitably drip, and I thought about eating the deli paper that rested in the basket, but I somehow was able to control myself. Ultimately I thought the pickle was plenty, and you have to save room for pizza.
The $20+ price tag on the burger will be steep for some, but if you’re a burger guy or gal, dishing out for a quality creation should be no problem. I sure as hell didn’t mind.
I’ve been a fan of Fortina for a while now and with the addition of this burger, my heart grew fonder, even if it partially clogged up my left ventricle.