We might be getting to the heavy-hitters right about now. I’m dying to go to Craigie on Main, Radius, and all the other high end restaurants in town that serve burgers. But, I’m totally aware that these are fine-dining restaurants, not burger specific eateries, and if you don’t think that matters, think again. I fully expect all these “high end” burgers to be outstanding, my expectations are high, and I may not be so kind in my reviews, not that I have been in any way so far. Value is a huge aspect in finding the best burger, in my opinion, and spending any more than $10 is borderline pricey for something that is a food for the people, and should be affordable to all.
Eastern Standard is just over that threshold, running $12 for lunch, or $13 should you come for dinner. We happened to be there for the awkward mid-day/late night menu, which runs from 2:30 to 5pm. Awkward because the hostesses didn’t know what to do with us. The main dining area was closed off, even though it was clear people were seated there, some who arrived after us, guess we weren’t important enough. So we had to choose between eating at the bar, or a side table next to the bar, we chose the latter. The table (actually two pushed together) was uncomfortable, and I assumed was better suited for a cocktail or small snack than for a main course, or perhaps a rendezvous with Mrs. Robinson. Rude hostesses aside, our waiter was terrific, very engaging and friendly, and everything was served promptly. Three burgers were ordered, a pretty straightforward offering in fact, listed only as The Standard burger, cheddar, brioche, and fries. But boy did they deliver. The burger, from the first bite to the last, was delicious, absolutely juicy, and full of flavor, not specifically beefy flavor, but flavor nonetheless, seasoned perfectly, melted cheese (for a change) and a beautiful bun. I’m not always a huge fan of brioche on a burger, too much bread usually, but this was nice and fresh, airy, and buttery, like every good brioche should be. The fries, while seasoned to perfection and completely crispy, fell just a little short. Crispy on the outside, they lacked a little on the interior, hollow even, and as Wit pointed out, tasted nothing of a potato. Burgers that weren’t beefy and fries that didn’t resemble a potato? Maybe, but flavor is flavor, and the Standard burger sure had it, good to the last bite and totally satisfying.
Eastern Standard delivers a very good burger, but for $12, I almost expect a little more. But to be fair, that’s not in line with their philosophy. All the dishes here are simple, classic techniques, just executed well, and I can’t complain too much about that. Easily the tastiest burger I’ve had on my journey, but we still have a lot of burgers to go.