Moo, the new burger joint at 137 S. Main St. in New Hope, quietly opened on a limited basis last week, so it seemed like a good time to sample the much-vaunted Moo Burger and see whether it lives up to its reputation.
Although work is still underway outside the building to mitigate persistent underground flooding, the restaurant itself appears clean and sparse, with at least two cooks and two servers on duty. One walk-up window is labeled “order,” and the other “pick up.” The full menu is not yet offered, but on tap were five of the most popular items: the Moo Burger, Classic Burger, Veggie Burger, French Fries and Milk Shakes.
I ordered the Moo Burger, fries and a Coke — the classic modern burger combo. Service was quick and friendly. I was told my order would take six or seven minutes, and it did.
Let’s start with the fries ($3.30): Hand-cut, lots of peel showing, salty, ample quantity. They looked and tasted like high-quality fries, but didn’t floor me. Then again, my personal tastes run more to old-fashioned crinkle-cut or steak fries, but my son, 10, thought they were an improved version of the thinner McDonald’s-style fries to which he’s more accustomed.
Moo still seems to be finalizing their beverage choices, but I spotted a Mexican Coca-Cola ($2), which is made with cane sugar, rather than corn syrup. Served icy-cold with its relatively high carbonation, battery acid tang, and glass bottle, this soft drink or the chocolate shake are the de rigeur burger accompaniments.
At center stage was the Moo Burger, the core product under owner Evan Asoudegan, 22, who has a passion for high-quality ingredients. It was served hot, wrapped in paper, and cooked to perfection without my having to specify how I wished it prepared.
It’s similar to a McDonald’s Quarter-Pounder with Cheese, but bigger, and made with local, organic grass-fed beef, local onions, expertly melted cheese, pickles, and Asoudegan’s own fresh special sauce and lettuce, as if borrowed from a nearby Big Mac.
The grass-fed taste was instantly recognizable, and makes one realize how awful corn-fed beef tastes in comparison. The meat possessed an entirely different texture — less a smooth compressed mound than a slightly scraggly, somewhat saltier and unctuous patty, ever so crispy on one side from a full pan-searing to lock in the juices.
A server begged me to try the Moo Burger without ketchup first, and he was right; it wasn’t needed. In fact, there is little one could do to improve the Moo Burger. It is the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten in New Hope — a town where run-of-the-mill burgers start at $9, even before one adds cheese. The size is also perfect — not too big and not too small — and the bun is moist and just right.
Priced at $6, the Moo Burger is a no-brainer. One can easily envision grabbing a beer or two at Havana, seeing a show at John and Peter’s, and picking up a Moo Burger on the way out of Dodge, if they continue to stay open late on weekends. And Moo will probably be a hit with the children, too. It’s reasonably-priced, local, organic food for families on a budget and people who still remember what real beef tastes like.
Affordable dining is a wide-open niche in New Hope for those with the smarts and experience to offer good value, and Moo’s signature product, the Moo Burger, delivers in spades.
Moo Burger, Coke, and french fries came to $11.86 with tax.