Heading to Williamsburg for an event last night, I had just about 20 minutes to grab dinner, and was looking for something quick. I had two newly opened fast food options on my to-eat list: the In-N-Out-inspired burger joint Blue Collar, and Baltimore-style fish shack (yes, that’s a thing) Lake Trout. I looked each up and Google Maps and was surprised to find they’re actually both in the same building—160 Havemeyer Streeet, between S. 2nd and 3rd. Clearly, my only choice was to try both and report back. See, I work hard for you guys.
I started at Blue Collar, where the main item is a skinny, fast food-style cheeseburger, fairly priced at $4.75. Larger than a McDonald’s patty but smaller than Shake Shack, one of these isn’t quite enough to fill you up (but works well as an appetizer if you’re as food-obsessed as I am and headed next door to eat afterwards). Like its West Coast inspiration, Blue Collar keeps things basic, but elevates its burger with tomatoes and lettuce that are actually fresh, a tangy special sauce, and a bun grilled on the inside. It’s a nice little juicy burger, although I’d say not quite in Shake Shack territory in terms of taste. They also do hot dogs, fries and shakes…sorry, couldn’t taste any more than that! Report back if you’ve tried them.
Moving next door…Lake Trout brings the Baltimore tradition of cornmeal-fried white fish to Brooklyn. Despite its trendy location, the small room is set up to look like a no-frills, walk-in neighborhood joint, with wood-paneled walls, orange plastic chairs, and portraits of Baltimore sports heroes on the walls.
Since I was already running late, I skipped the lake trout platter and—joined by a couple of helpers—investigated their sandwich menu instead. The “cheese fish sandwich” is a crispy fried piece of pollack served up on a potato roll and topped with cucumbers, tomatoes, tartar sauce and everyone’s favorite faux food product: Velveeta. It’s a gooey, oozey, hot mess of a sandwich that isn’t exactly meant for eating on the go…but the crisp fish is delicious, with just the right amount of slight fishiness. For those who can’t handle the filet, they were also serving up a special fried chicken breast sandwich topped with salsa verde, crema and coleslaw, which was quite tasty as well. But most unique are their “western fries”—oversize wedges of cornmeal-battered potato, doubly fried so that they come out looking more like chicken fingers than French fries. Dipped in their “mumbo sauce”—a tangy, red concoction that tastes something like Tabasco mixed with Chinese plum sauce—the fries alone are hearty enough for a full meal.
Verdict on 160 Havemeyer’s new options: Blue Collar, while nothing earth-shattering, is a solid option for a burger on-the-go. Lake Trout may not cut the mustard for Whiz-phobic gourmands, but it’s a unique new option if you’re not afraid of some greasy, cheesy fun.