Bites from the Big Apple: Lazy Bastard

7 months ago

lazy bastard - cheeseburger

FIRST-TIME DINERS AT LAZY BASTARD MAY BE SURPRISED TO DISCOVER THAT THE BURGER PATTIES—made of 100% ground chuck—are only seasoned with salt and pepper. After all the gourmet burger joints scattered all over Metro Manila, the dining public may be looking for the next new thing, and may find it strange to taste something so basic. But where the norm is to play around with elements from various cuisines and put them in burgers, it’s almost a relief to eat something easy to relate to.

During his Wall Street years, owner Patrick Cuartero frequented the many diners of New York, either for a bite during the workday or to wind down from a night out at the bars. It is this experience—and the taste for the Big Apple’s comfort food—that informs Lazy Bastard’s menu.

Taking its inspiration from Crif Dogs in New York, Lazy Bastard promises to go back to the basics and do them well. Their menu is divided into three main categories: burgers, hotdogs, and breakfast. Even the milkshakes stick to the basics: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and a black-and-white. It’s almost as if the menu asks diners to develop a relationship with the food, encouraging us to come back to try the dishes again and again.

lazy bastard - chili dog

Using ground beef chuck with a good amount of fat and grilled on charcoal, the patties are the star of the burger show. For cheese, Lazy Bastard uses a mild cheddar for its creaminess. Early on, some of the first diners couldn’t taste the cheese, and so the kitchen doubled the cheese at no extra cost.

Even the buns underwent some consideration. Patrick explains, “For me, there are only two kinds of buns you should be using for hamburgers and hotdogs, and that’s potato buns or brioche buns.”

And then there’s the bacon, the flavor of which suffuses much of what is cooked at Lazy Bastard. It wraps around all the hotdogs here, right before they get deep-fried in peanut oil. Its rendered fat gets mixed into the kimchi that goes into the Kimchi Dog. What results is a kimchi with less of a bite and is instead infused with bacon’s smoky-sweet flavor. It even inspires the establishment’s battle cry: “Long live bacon!”

There’s a playful element to many of the items on the menu. The Sloppy Joes are just that: sloppy. The chili just asks to be mopped up with the bun and licked off fingers. The same goes for the Chili Dog. The Honey Parmesan Dog combines the bacon-wrapped New York hotdog, shavings of Parmesan, a drizzle of honey, and the crunch of arugula—a contrast of savory-crunchy-spicy-salty-sweet in one bite. And then there are the breakfast items, like the pancakes stacked with a sunny-side-up egg, longganisa patty, hash browns, and bacon.

lazy bastard - honey parmesan dog

Soon, there will be fortnightly specials, which Patrick reveals as “ridiculous versions of what we have here. We’ve done a burger that has deep-fried mac ’n’ cheese patties instead of the bun. It’s deep-fried mac ’n’ cheese with bacon inside, and the other parts of the burger, which are bacon, beef patty, and deep-fried mac ’n’ cheese. That’s the goal: we call it ridiculous comfort food.”

But then again they know that they owe it to their diners to give them basics, done well. “Focus on the core products, don’t do anything fancy, and people can relate,” Patrick says, reiterating their approach. “You always turn back to what’s comforting for you.”


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Words by Paul Catiang
Photographed by John Ocampo of Studio 100
Address: B/F 22 Jupiter St. Cor. Galaxy St., Bel-Air, Makati City

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