SoHo Food

The Popper Topper, one of the most popular gourmet burgers served at SoHo Kitchen & Bar, is made with a half-pound flame-grilled burger, topped with cream cheese, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese and grape jelly. The finishing touch is a stuffed jalapeno pepper.

Justin Wan, The Weekender

Just like Jay Z, we've been experiencing an Empire State of Mind.

Perhaps it's because of a scary native New Yorker about to occupy the White House but the city that never sleeps has been giving us plenty of nightmares as of late.

Which gives the Weekender's crew of taste testers a reason to make their way to Soho American Kitchen & Bar to sample their Big Apple-oriented fare.

From posters from Broadway shows to signs announcing subway designations, the 1024 Fourth St. eatery is proud of its big city ambitions.

That's abundantly true of its menu, which includes sandwiches like the NYC Reuben and the Manhattan Pub Club, as well as dessert items like the Black-and-White Cookie, made popular by the TV show "Seinfeld."

But what are we in the mood for?

Actually it was a burger that didn't have an overt lineage to New York. Instead, it was a burger that had plenty of big city attitude.

Soho's Popper Topper Burger consisted of a flame-grilled patty topped with crispy jalapenos, cream cheese as well as gobs and gobs of grape jelly.

Are you feeling 'jelly?'

What is it about sticking jams and jellies inside of burgers?

We know that One-Eyed Jack's has had their Kackleburger (a burger that has peanut butter, jelly and a fried egg) for more than a decade. Knowing that, Soho's Popper Topper seems much more sensible, right?

Well, not really. But we sure do like the way this monster burger tasted.

A 'King Kong'-sized creation

Owner Julie Schoenherr has a knack for creating menu items that may seem "busy" on paper but are absolutely delicious in reality.

Among our Soho faves are the Prime Rib Melt (loads of slow-roasted prime rib and American cheese grilled in thick-cut NYC white bread) as well as the Yankee Stadium Burger (a flamed-grill burger that is combined with an all-beef Nathan's hot dog in a bun that's been slathered with relish, cheese, sauerkraut and spicy mustard.)

Yet, it's the Popper Topper that may now be our go-to sandwich.

Nothing can top this popper

The first thing you will notice about the Popper Topper is its big-ass deep-fried jalapeno. That literally tops this skyscraper of a sandwich.

Yet chomping down, you'll notice all of the complex ingredients working in tandem.

The half-pound beef burger pairs incredibly well with the pepper jack cheese while the cream cheese provides a nice tartness that counteracts the sweet jelly.

See? Plenty of big city attitude plus plenty of big city taste.

As we leave Soho (stuffed but happy), we deem the Popper Topper a success. From top to bottom, this is a burger that lives up to its city slicker ambitions.

After all, if it can make it in New York, it can make it anywhere.

Our rating: Four (out of a possible rating of five)

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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