The Rating System and Our Findings So Far

October 11th, 2009 by Richard Chudy

There probably isn’t anything nerdier than online discussion boards. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, if you find yourself getting defensive or sharing opinions on any topic online, chances are you’re a nerd on the topic. I must be a nerd when it comes to burgers (no news there) because I recently found myself on chowhound discussing the best burgers in Boston. Food is so personal, everyone has different opinions because everything tastes different to all of us. Same goes for music and movies, there will never be 100% agreement on the topic. Find 100 people who love the burgers at R.F. O’Sullivan’s, and I can find 100 people who hate it, myself included. I don’t know if I’m a burger expert, and while it has been kindly pointed out to me that I have only “scratched the surface” so far, I can say, at this point, I don’t know if there are any fantastic burgers in Boston.

No, we have not been to Radius, or Craigie yet, our list is long and we will get to them all eventually. I am not making any conclusions, merely stating that I have yet to be blown away. I have rated a few burgers in the 80’s range, but it’s all relative, the rating system is imperfect (more on that later) but for me, a B minus burger is not something I’m in a huge rush to have again. There are plenty of good burgers, no doubt, but amazing burgers? Not that I’ve seen. Now I wont judge before I try, I love Chef Schlow, but the Radius burger is pricey, we all know that. And people do not flock to Radius for the burger. No, you go to Radius for exceptional modern-French dishes and for an unforgettable meal, not to sit at the bar (the only way to get the burger, same with Craigie) and shell out $18.

The hamburger is a food for the people, it should be affordable to all. And last I knew, Radius does not use any expensive cuts of beef, no truffles, nothing. I know all about it, I’m sure it’s delicious, and I’m excited to try it, but don’t tell me it’s the best burger in Boston. Because for me, the beef and taste of the actual burger is a huge player in my ratings, but it’s not the only factor, I don’t have specific, measured criteria, per say, but I do also consider:

  • Juiciness of burger
  • Bun to meat ratio
  • Seasoning
  • Price Scale/Affordability
  • Service
  • Side dishes (usually fries and onion rings)
  • Cleanliness
  • Wow factor
  • Cooked to correct doneness

Maybe I am tough at times, but to be fair, it’s not going to be fun if every place I rate is exceptional. Seriously, try going to place for the first time, and think about the burger, truly think about it objectively, and I’ll bet you find flaws too. Some have also pointed out how large a factor fries play into my ratings. Truth be told, when are you going to go to a place and order a burger but no fries because they aren’t worth ordering? That’s another thing, there hasn’t been one place that has had a great burger and great fries. Just doesn’t exist at this point, maybe you have to spend $18 to find out.

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