Our Philadelphian readers may know PYT, home of insanely gimmicky culinary constructions like the Deep-Fried Twinkie Burger, Chicken Bacon Eggo Sliders, and the Cocoa Krispies Chicken Burger. That restaurant has expanded to New York, specifically to 334 Bowery, former home of one location of Forcella Pizzeria, and more recently, the extremely short-lived Espoleta. Though rents in the city’s one-time Skid Row are no longer Skid Row cheap, PYT surely has no desire to be yet another bygone in that location, and they may have hit upon their rent-making gimmick: The Basquiat Prime Beef Burger, named for the great painter Jean-Michel Basquiat and priced at $64. Each. Look, I’m a total sucker for gimmicky sandwich places; whether it’s Kuma’s in Chicago, Melt in Cleveland, whatever, I’m all in for ridiculous shit like that. But I doubt I need to belabor the point that $64 for a burger seems beyond excessive even for Manhattan.
A 1982 Basquiat work, Untitled (The Black Athlete), just sold for 6.3 million, meaning that the Basiquiat burger is just a buck off from being 100,000 times less expensive than an actual Basquiat painting. And arguably, the figure in the painting could be interpreted as triumphantly brandishing a burger. Arguably. Very, very arguably.
But what do you get for your money? Per the restaurant’s tumblr, it’s made with “100% fresh 25% fat Wagyu Ribeye sourced from the NYC’s greatest Wagyu source, the ninjas at Japan Premium Beef.” OK, then, in that case I suppose we’ll generously take it on faith that that tastes $50 better than a regular upscale burger. The sandwich came to be named for the painter, not because it looks like his work, after the manner of the offerings at SFMOMA’s rooftop coffee bar—though I’d actually respect the hell out of that, and I find it curious that photos of the actual burger seem like they’re nowhere to be found online. (How is it possible that nobody’s Instagramed their $64 burger?) The sandwich is so named because the painter died of a heroin overdose literally around the corner on Great Jones Street. If any DM readers in Lower Manhattan are feeling lavish enough to take this one for the team and try one, we’d love to know if it’s worth the money, or at least if it’s a fit tribute to the artist. We’re guessing no way in hell on both counts, but we’re willing to listen.
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