We eat many of our 30 billion—plus burgers a year as Slyders, Hockeyburgers, or Liplockers at places like Bob's Big Boy or In-N-Out Burger—or hot off the backyard grill. If you're looking for something more grand, here's where to find high-end bliss on a bun.
Blue Door at the Delano Hotel 1685 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305/674-6400; $24. Claude Troisgros has haute-ness encoded in his DNA. Witness his rendition of the American icon: a nugget of foie gras mounted upon a diminutive brioche with baby lettuces and caramelized onion. The tomato sauce tastes like ketchup from the fourth dimension.
DB Bistro Moderne 55 W. 44th St., New York; 212/391-2400; $28. When does a burger stop being a burger?Tout New York is dialing for reservations to ponder this issue over Daniel Boulud's transcendent circle of sirloin stuffed with short ribs, foie gras, and truffles. Gilding the lily: pommes soufflés in a silver cup.
The Trellis 403 Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg, Va.; 757/229-8610; $8. Marcel Desaulniers is famed for his Burger Meisters cookbook and his Black Angus cheeseburger with Tillamook cheddar. But we love his crisp black-bean burger resting on a portobello mushroom—cap bun. You might forget all about beef.
Windows on the Green The Phoenician, 6000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale; 480/423-2530; $11. Meet the Green Burger: the pork makes it succulent; the pico de gallo nips at your tongue; cilantro and Casaque cheese play up the Southwestern theme. But it wouldn't be nearly as good without the guacamole-tomatillo salsa.
Zuni Café 1658 Market St., San Francisco; 415/552-2522; from $9.50. If San Francisco were a sandwich, it would be Judy Rodgers's aristocratic beef on a bun—actually a wedge of grilled rosemary focaccia supporting an improbably perfect patty of Niman Ranch beef. With sweet grilled red onion and tangy pickles, please.