Finally ate my first full meal ever at a White Castle – it was only my second lifetime trip to one of the revered/reviled outposts, in fact. (Westerners are savvy burger consumers, but I can’t imagine the idea of White Castle would make very much sense to them.) Last time was as an a la carte dessert to a Jersey City dosa, and while I can’t say I was really JUMPING at the chance to go back (though I liked it fine), walking down 8th Avenue past its Chateau Blanc (ten times funnier in bad French, considering especially what their reaction might be to the product) the other day on the way back from Manganaro’s set the wheels in motion.
This branch is open 24 hours, apparently, and it smells like it when you walk in – it possesses none of the appealing old grease/French fry smell inherent to a McDonald’s, nor some kind of Subway-esque fake bread spray smell. So there’s that to contend with (Jersey City’s branch didn’t smell bad).
The wonderful crap they serve for food, though (this must be the least nutritious filling meal in the universe), is the same irrespective of environment. Micromashed beef and onions fused with cheese on a Wonder-bread-ish bun no larger than two or three inches across may seem like a good or bad idea to you based on superstition or long-held family tradition. Having no family history with the Castle myself, I am willing to bet that if you like burgers and have a bit of tolerance for the failings of our fast food establishments in terms of environment and quality of ingredients, you’ll like White Castle.
Me, I’ll probably never go more than once or twice a year. Too much other good stuff to eat in the city, and even though the price is right ($5.74, tax included, for four cheeseburgers, small fries and fountain soda), I’d rather pay slightly more and get slightly more. Nice to know it’s there if you need it, though.