The National's (Greenwich CT) "Ugly Burger" is a Beautiful Thing

It’s that time of year when my “research” into my 10 best burgers in SW CT is in full swing. Last week I visited Geoffrey Zakarian’s new haunt, The National in Greenwich CT. The place is pretty well done, lots of woods and marble on the tables, and prices on the high end. I ordered the “Ugly Burger” for $19. It is served with house made fries.

It arrived arrived on a wooden cutting board, with a pickle speared through the top of the bun. The melted cheese was oozing around the edges, dripping towards the serving board. The sautéed shallots were peeking from under the cheese, partnered with the edges of a single lettuce leaf. If the taste was as good as the presentation, this would be a great burger. The burger was accompanied by the chips that were vertically arranged in a separate metal vase.

The verdict - The ingredients were perfectly balanced. The meat delivered a medium level of richness, was juicy and incredibly smoky. The melted Cheddar cheese was creamy and very nutty. The two unique and delicious ingredients were the sautéed shallots that were very sweet and the sauce, with a tomato-tanginess…they were excellent additions. And the smokiness that the wood-burning grill infused into the meat was more than outstanding. The challah bun was a great choice, not only with its taste but it did not disintegrate during the meal.

The chips were in a different place, they were really bad, borderline burnt and I tried a couple and left the rest. And for $19, how about some fries.

See the full review and photo at

Glad you finally got there, even if just for the burger. I am still looking forward…

And you didn’t tell them how badly the chips were burned and ask them for some fries instead?

For $19.???:astonished:

Um, okay.

I’m supposed to go Sunday for my big birthday, but alas, they are predicting a snowstorm. Go figure. It’s been in the 60’s all week, and the first day of spring we get a storm!

The menu does not state fries at all.

After the meal, I was home and writing the review. I wanted to verify some facts and called. The MOD told me next time to ask for fries.

You serve chips at a Sunday Church BBQ with burgers and fries at a restaurant. If you charge $19, it should come with fries. The other sides were all ~$9. If the fries were around that as well it would be $28 for a burger and fries, not happenin’

Good to know you can ask for fries next time. Quite right, for that price, the burger (sounds good btw) should come with them.

My eyes bugged out when you stated the price of the burger! Astonishing to this Midwestern gent.

Thanks for posting, jfood. I may have to get myself there to try that burger. To clarify, they told you that next time you can substitute fries for the chips? Or would you have to pay extra?

On top of the $19. burger?

Sheesh, I hope not.

I hope not either, but upthread jfood said the menu did not state fries.

The burger did look good (saw them being brought to several tables),but while I’m always on the lookout for a good/great burger. However $19.00 just seems too much for one. I’m still not sure about trying 5 napkin burger @ around $16.00 but I think it’s 10 oz. Your recommendation helps…but $19.00 seems like sticking it to the customer

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I would be hard pressed to believe it would be an even swap.

If there were fries included I would tell you it was well worth the price.

The prices on the menu are a bit goofy, there is a crudite plate for $16 while pork and veal meatballs are $12.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold