Nazca Kitchen has a lot going for it: fresh green tea and Colombian coffee, solid ceviche, a flat-screen near the kitchen that displays photos of llamas so vividly that you may try to hug one and slam into a wall. And then there's the burger, a hidden gem on this menu of South American-style fare.
It’s extra hidden these days, thanks to construction in the area, but the Andes Burger is worth the detour. A grilled beef patty is topped with a cloud of melted cheddar, a modest scoop of smooth smashed avocado and a few slivers of rocoto pepper.
The burger's bun is the same one used on their South American-meets-Colombian-meets-Cuban sandwiches. It has all of the sensations you want from a burger bun: soft and crunchy with stretchy cheddar over juicy beef that satisfies you down to your socks.
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On a recent visit, the burger was cooked an easy-going medium rare. Burger grease, the only condiment burgers need, seeped into a nice little stratified layer in both halves of the bun. Nazca also blends the cheddar with rocoto chiles in-house, and these mellow-as-it-gets peppers really cool things down. The whole thing beckons for an ice-cold beer (Topo Chico will do in a pinch) and makes me feel like one of the llamas prancing around on their TV.
On the side, yuca fries come with a spicy, fruit-laced ketchup that rivals C Senor’s sensational version. I found myself smashing lime into my glass of Topo Chico, dipping crunchy bolts of fried yuca into the ketchup and devouring neat corners of my burger. There’s a lot to enjoy in this little strip-mall meal.
Nazca is expanding their reign by opening up a second location in the West Village this week. La Duni chef Julia Lopez is helping out, says Eater, but keep an eye on the menu to ensure that the burger stays consistent.
Nazca Kitchen, 8041 Walnut Hill Lane