Here at James vs. Burger, the search for the best burgers in the world never ends. So even when we’re waiting around at airport departure lounges, we’re always on the lookout for our next review. On the way home from a recent trip to New York City, we spotted Todd English’s ‘Bonfire’ restaurant, located next to our departure gate. It looked fairly busy inside and a quick glance at the menu revealed some tasty sounding results, so we decided to venture inside and get another review in before boarding the long flight back to Glasgow.
I’ve never really been a fan of airport food; however, with a fairly big celebrity chef name attached to it and the only other food option being Burger King, I thought this could be a fairly safe choice.
We opted for the Grilled Bonfire Burger – a beef patty topped with garlic alioli, smokey bacon, caramelised onions and cheddar and served on a brioche bun. The burger was also served with a portion of Bonfire’s parmesan fries.
I’ll start by saying that while this wasn’t the best burger I’ve ever had, it is the best food I’ve ever had at an airport. The patty itself was well done, but wasn’t dry. It was also well seasoned and gave off a slight taste of garlic, which was rather unusual, but good. It wasn’t the most complex of flavours and didn’t blow me away, but for airport food it was excellent. I’m not sure that the patty was handmade, but being airport food, I wasn’t expecting high standards. The taste married together well with the alioli topping and the side of parmesan fries. The bacon was overly chewy and if I could have made an adjustment to the dish, I’d have probably just left it out as the burger tasted far better without it. The bun was good and held the contents of the burger well. I’m a big fan of brioche buns, so this was a nice surprise and was light and fluffy with a slightly sweetened finish. Being an airport, I’d have expected a bog standard seeded burger bun.
The parmesan fries that came with the burger were fantastic – both in terms of taste and presentation. Coated in cooked grated parmesan, they were wonderfully crunchy and added a little depth to the overall dish. It’s easy to treat the sides that come with a burger as an afterthought and I’ve had several burgers that have been served with bog standard oven chips that take away from the meal, despite how good the burger may be. For a chain restaurant, Bonfire know how to serve up good fries. I could have eaten them all day if he didn’t have a flight to catch!
Strangely, the burger came with a large green chilli sat on top, which added absolutely nothing to the overall presentation. I was a little unsure if it was supposed to be placed on the burger, but it was so unbearably spicy that putting it on would have ruined the entire dish.
If you are hanging around JFK and don’t want to part with your cash for greasy fast food, you’d be hard pushed to find a better alternative than Bonfire. For the portion size and overall quality, it was rather overpriced compared to the phenomenal burgers we’d sampled during our New York City visit, but it’s to be expected at an airport. Despite the slightly high price tag, Bonfire offers up warm and relaxing surroundings and a decent beer selection, which is a big plus when you’re stuck in a dreary airport with not a whole lot to do.
While not fantastic, this was still the best airport food we’ve ever had.
+ Great for airport food
+ Nice brioche bun
+ Parmesan fries were excellent
– Pointless chillis on top of the burger
– Bacon overly tough
– A little expensive, but understandable considering it’s from an airport.
Have you tried this burger? Did you love it? If so, let us know!
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Todd English’s Bonfire
JFK International Airport, Terminals 2 & 7
New York, NY 11435