Burgers at Crave

Crave burger on tray with fry

By Deanna Fox

There's something about summer that begs for red meat to accompany all those light salads and that fresh produce. An aged steak, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled to medium-rare perfection, topped with chimichurri, served with a corn salad. Yep, that's my idea of a great summer dinner.

But that is my ideal at home dinner. The thing with a steak is that restaurants mess it up often, and consumers usually end up paying a premium for branding and advertising, and not really for a superb cut of meat.

So when I'm craving beef and I'm dining out, I'm going for a burger. I can never get burgers to turn out quite as good at home as I can at my favorite burger joints. I'm a thin-patty kind of lass, but my attempts at home are thwarted by dry meat and crumbly burgers.

I've heard only good things about Crave Albany, the burger and frozen yogurt place on the corner of Western and Quail in Albany's Pine Hill neighborhood. And my hopes to find a great burger came to fruition there -- once I could decide on which burger to order.

Crave burger on tray

Ultimately I went with the Crave Cheeseburger ($7.95), a standard option for a purist like me, with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, American cheese, and "crave sauce," which is that classic mayo/ketchup/vinegar blend that is a hallmark of a good American burger.

The burger, cooked medium, with all its accouterments, is served up on a soft, airy brioche-like bun that is lightly buttered and grilled. The pockets of air in the dough seem engineered to soak-up the grease drippings from the burger (which balances a pristine char with just-warmed juices) and that entirely crave-able Crave sauce. It is a solid example of what a burger should be, especially if you are a thin-patty fan, like me. (I want a burger, not a bread-enrobed meatloaf puck.)

It is no doubt better than what you would find at a typical fast-food joint, but if you are in a rush, you could get something comparable and quicker at Five Guys. (The bun and Crave sauce would be hard to match, however.)

Crave burger cross section closeup

(Note: I asked for my cheese on the side to accommodate the picky eater I was dining with. Hence it isn't melted into the crevices of the burger like others versions I saw. The lettuce is shredded, which I liked, and is tossed with some of the Crave sauce.)

Crave fries with dipping sauce

We rounded out the order with an order of regular fries ($3.50), adding sides of red curry aioli and honey sage aioli (the better of the two) for $.75 each. A small sampling of frozen yogurt (chocolate and peanut butter) was a sweet ending but nothing to write home about.

Crave Albany exterior 2016-July

For the non-purist, the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, Sorta Torta burger, and Upstate burger (Utica greens!) all sounded tempting. The Sweet and Greasy, a candied bacon and onion jam-topped burger served on a doughnut, is something I could live without.

No doubt, Crave is a great addition to the burger scene, and one I would happily return to when in that neighborhood.

Deanna Fox writes about many things, mostly about food. More can be found on her website, Twitter, or Instagram.

More Eat This:
+ Coconut cream pie at Restaurant Navona
+ Pulled pork plate at Middleburgers BBQ
+ Buffalo wings from 20 North Broadway Tavern
+ Hot Plate from K-Plate at Troy Kitchen

Earlier on AOA: The art of creating a burger

Find It

Crave
217 Western Ave
Albany, NY 12203

Comments

"I can never get burgers to turn out quite as good at home as I can at my favorite burger joints. I'm a thin-patty kind of lass, but my attempts at home are thwarted by dry meat and crumbly burgers."

I can teach you how to make a righteously juicy, tender, well crusted thin patty burger at home.

Like this one --> http://www.ilikefood518.com/2016/01/death-by-cheeseburger-v-jon-in-albany.html

Everything at Crave is delicious (although in fairness, I also haven't tried the Sweet & Greasy, but you know what? I bet it's incredible too. Heart attack on a bun, yes, but incredible).

And they deliver! The best tip one of my friends gave me was to order your delivery burgers one donenness level below what you prefer (e.g. order medium rare if you want medium). By the time it reaches your house, it'll be perfectly done.

Cheese on the side? Oh please.

@Steve N. -- yep, I'm going to take you up on that offer. I'll check out that link and let you know how it goes! Thank you.

@SGK -- that, m'dear, is genius. Thank you to you, and your friend! (Files away in brain...)

@Herbert -- oh, I know, I know. But it was a long day, hot and humid, and my family was tired and cranky. I still had obligations to fulfill, and sometimes the easiest option is just to order the cheese on the side to put DOUBLE the cheese on my half, no cheese on my persnickety 6 year old's half, so that we could salvage our early dinner as something enjoyable instead of creating a big fight about it. Sometimes a busy, exhausted single mother just has to do what she has to do, y'know?

Ahh, the food review I've been waiting for! I agree the yogurt is totally generic, but the burgers are bangin'! I've had them all, husband orders the cuban every single time.

One important critique if Crave is reading - turkey burgers need to be cooked well done; please don't offer to kill your customers with a rare turkey burger :)

Great article. Thank you for sharing. We have been here seems ok. Good service very friendly. We consider ourselves to be burger aficionados, in our travels we found a small place across the river in Rensselaer called The Shakin Bacon. There burgers are wonderful. They do a burger of the week, which we usually go for to see what kind they do each week. Check it out you may be surprised. Thanks again for sharing yiur experience.

The buger doesn't look cooked. eww

Rode my bike down here the other day and had a burger. Absolutely delicious! It would be nice however if there were somewhere at the intersection where I could lock up my bike besides a tree.

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