MANHATTAN GOLD BURGERNo. 21, Lane 181, Alley 7, ZhongXiao E. Rd, Sec. 4
MRT: SYS Memorial Hall
website: Manhattan Gold Burger's FB page
hours: 12 PM - 2 AM
$$ (about NT$300-600/person)
Kid friendliness: no high chairs spotted. nighttime environment more like lounge bar
Visit reviewed: 8/29/2012
Opened for over a year, Manhattan Gold Burger is a dining bar that servers gourmet burgers, pastas, appetizers and drinks in a swanky lounge bar space. The vibrant decor is the first impression to set it apart from the various burger spots in town- I felt more like I was hanging out at the W rather than a Diner with the sofa style seating and roomy space for customers to not overhear each other's conversations.
It wasn't too crowded the night I was invited to go which was nice, and there was a decided 90s hip hop soundtrack playing that brought me some flashbacks throughout the evening. On certain nights, a DJ also comes in to play music to add to the lounge bar-like atmosphere.
There's a full drink menu and the sweet and citrusy mojito definitely hit the spot. Something I'd definitely order again here and order for a girls' night out.
Beers and wines are also available, in addition to the cocktail list.
It was wing night, a promotion that Manhattan Gold Burger has on Wednesdays, where wings were NT$10 each with a drink purchase. Time to get finger licking- I liked the red hot buffalo wings and salt and pepper chicken wings. There was also a spicy thai chili flavor and bbq flavor. The wings were tasty, with a small salad on the side, but it would have been nice to have some celery sticks and blue cheese dressing for the buffalo wings instead.
Since we were ordering to share, we ended up with some sliders (NT$490/four). Grilled pineapple, mushroom, bacon cheese and jack cheese are all options for burger and slider toppings. The patties are round and fat, so the slider is a tad tall to take ladylike bites. I grabbed the bacon cheeseburger, but next time I'll have to try the grilled pineapple.
The decadent foie gras truffle steak burger (NT$680) topped with gold flakes is one of Manhattan Gold Burger's specialty dishes. But since the steak isn't ground into a burger form, it's more like a steak sandwich with medium rare steak slices. After I took photos, they cut the burger in quarters to share and I ended up eating just the center as it was hard to eat together as a burger. It could benefit from a nice toasted ciabatta or french bread bun or wild greens instead of iceburg lettuce. I also wasn't crazy about the mystery gravy that coated the foie and the steak that overpowered the truffle flavor.
When I told a friend later about the burger, he asked me, "the $666 burger?" I had no idea what he was talking about, so some googling turned up a NY food truck that sells a foie gras, truffle, gold flake burger topped with even more insanity (lobster, caviar and bbq sauce made from kopi luwak) and charges $666 dollars for it and calls it the doucheburger.. The waygu burger topped with foie gras at the W Hotel is NT$2200. So compared to that, NT$680 (or US$21) is a steal. Lol. Who knew there were such crazy expensive burgers?
For non beef eaters, there's seafood options like the shrimp burger, or soft shell crab on a bun. I didn't try this.
Many of the burger spots in Taipei have a burger/brunch menu, but Manhattan Gold Burger skips brunch and goes straight to dinner. Meaty options besides burgers include BBQ Pork Ribs (NT$420), baked half chicken or beef short ribs in red wine sauce. Good to share family style with extra tangy bbq sauce to slather.
If you don't to get your hands dirty, then you can opt for one of the pastas. There are various options with spicy tomato sauce, or seafood options like the tasty Spaghetti with Mentaiko Cream Sauce (NT$270), topped with shreds of fresh nori and chewy calamari rings. I liked the pasta, but one of the calamari pieces was a tad gritty.
Or Spaghetti with Salmon and Spinach in Cream Sauce (NT$260).
All in all, a cool place that's open late to have drinks and dinner off of Zhongxiao East Road, tucked in the alley right behind Luxy. We even hopped over to newly moved Ice Monster afterwards for dessert (Ask Manhattan Gold Burger very nicely and maybe they'll let you bring back your to-go order to eat there like we did instead of waiting in the long Ice Monster line).