All photos: Adam David Cole for the Appeal.

The Rossini, a $60 burger with kobe beef, foie gras, and shaved truffles, may seem like an absurd assault on an American classic and just a plain old rip-off. But when mastermind celebrity chef Hubert Keller walks by and winks at you as you’re gawking at the menu, somehow it makes perfect sense. I mean, shit – with that tidy silver ponytail, adorable French accent, and dapper black chef’s coat, he could wink me into eating just about anything…

The French native and owner of Fleur de Lys was all smiles and hugs last night at the soft opening of his new build-it-yourself gourmet Burger Bar downtown. The space, perched on the 6th floor of Macy’s with a view of Union Square, is something like an elegant sports bar, with TVs scattered above the marble-topped bar and at the ends of dark-wood-paneled booths. A glass-walled wine cellar smack dab in the middle of a sports bar? Leave it to the French to class up the classless.

“The concept is build your own burger,” Keller told the Appeal. “It’s modeled after the Burger Bar in Las Vegas,” which lets you pick from an array of fresh and high-end ingredients to pile atop a meat patty. The menu also showcases some standard fried appetizers like skinny fries (to go with your skinny jeans, I’m guessing) and buttermilk zucchini fries, as well as some desserts like alcoholic milkshakes and chocolate burgers. And the bar has 18 signature cocktails and a fancy pants beer selection.

But I didn’t come here for a mojito. So let’s get to the burger.

Sadly, Keller was not serving the Rossini last night, but I stuck with the decadent theme by topping my rare-cooked Angus beef burger with a fried egg, jalapeno bacon (you read it right), caramelized onions, and pepper jack cheese. Sound like a bit much? Perhaps. But my taste buds did not seem bothered in the slightest. The meat was cooked perfectly, with the sesame bun absorbing the juices and the jalapeno bacon providing a delightful salty-spicy aftertaste. Definitely not an everyday burger, but when in Rome…

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