I know, I know – more burgers. But Joe’s Best Burger in Flushing is also worthy of your consideration for a visit, though I must admit that it’s not exactly going to replace the Sichuan places on my list of “top reasons to go to northeast Queens.” What it could be, however, is a place to pick up a quick bite before taking in a Mets game while only going a little bit out of the way.
The premises are ultra-modern – widescreen televisions everywhere bombarding you with burger images (I noticed a cheeseburger picture in the style of the original Nintendo graphics, for instance) and perhaps showing a game or three. The staff is friendly to the point of asking you whether you’ve been before and welcoming you if you haven’t – hell, even the cash registers talk.
Of course, what the electronic beasts say is, “You’ve got a deal,” and offer to trade you a chocolate coin for the 18 cents that separate your $4.82 bill from a clean and changeless fiver. This is extremely smart business, in my opinion – not only do many people hate change, but most of the errors cashiers make have to do with coinage, not dollar bills. A win-win scenario from the standpoint of Joe’s, who probably pay on the order of .5 cents or less for each piece of choc-o-gelt. On the other hand, I would rather have 18 cents than a low-quality piece of chocolate any day of the week, month, or year, so I declined. I’m a real stick-in-the-mud, I know.
The burger, which has been much-compared to In-N-Out, seems not up to those lofty standards. My single cheeseburger was actually a little bland, which could have had something to do with my choice of grilled onions over raw, but probably just has to do with a difference in cooking. The buns are from a bag, too, which is perfectly normal but, again, the In-N-Out comparison doesn’t do any favors. I wouldn’t pass final judgement without sampling the equivalent of a double-double, but I just wasn’t that hungry this time around.
I will stand up and shout about the fries, though, which owe nothing to the California chains. Cut from fresh Idaho spuds, the fries are cooked perfectly and achieve a wonderful balance between soft innards and external crunch and salt. They reminded me of Utah’s Eat-a-Burger chain’s fries (without the added spice), and they made me very happy as I munched the minutes away on the 7.