Sometimes I wish I was more like my dad when it comes to food, he loves to eat everything and always thinks it’s amazing. Maybe it’s just my profession, or maybe I’m just critical in general, but more often than not, at least in terms of food, I can always find faults, but believe me, I’m just as hard on my own cooking as I am on anyone else. My dad has been hounding me for weeks to check out The Blue Ox in Lynn, his old stomping ground, to check out their burgers. I’ll travel great lengths for a great meal, but was skeptical to see if Lynn could produce a meal that was worth the 40 minute drive from the suburbs. If you read this blog with any frequency, you know that above all else, I appreciate effort. Give me something in the way of passion, dedication or inspiration for a burger and you’re ahead of the curve. Too often I eat burgers that were put on a menu for no apparent reason other than to put a burger on the menu. Where’s the love, if you’re putting something on a menu and charging people, shouldn’t you stand by it? I have to give The Blue Ox credit for at least showing me that passion, it’s a new American restaurant of sorts, but they offer three different burger options, so there’s something for everyone, they just can’t quite fully execute up to my burger standards.
You can order the Blue Ox burger, which is two 1/4 pound mini burgers stuffed with blue cheese, The Sin burger with bacon and truffled mayo, or The House Burger which is as basic as it gets with lettuce, tomato and Swiss cheese. I go for the Sin Burger, and we wait for our food to arrive, and we wait a little longer, then it comes to the table, almost an hour later, not so acceptable on a not so overly busy Sunday night. The bun seems to be a ciabatta, and is a pretty good fit all in all, could have used a bit more crunch and a little further toasting I think. It’s a huge amount of beef, and the first bite yields a nice smokiness, and it’s very very juicy, like dripping down the side of my arm juicy. Unfortunately it’s just not very flavorful, no hint of beefiness, but at least it’s got the juiciness factor. The fries are just okay, sort of crispy, but sort of taste like they’ve been sitting out for a while, and could use salt, and a few raw one’s somehow find their way onto my plate. They are coated with fresh herbs, but the rosemary is not chopped fine enough and a huge piece gets stuck in my teeth, munching on a pine needle is not good eats. The truffled mayo for the burger comes on the side, and lacks the truffle intensity I was expecting, but does add a mild flavor boost the burger sorely needs. The cheese is barely present, and I even forget it’s on the burger at one point, and the meat is not exactly cooked to temperature, almost to the point of raw, but again, it is moist. The bacon somehow is chewy and burnt all at the same time, no easy feat I promise you.
I guess if you live near Lynn or you’re the type of person who loves all food equally, you may enjoy The Blue Ox, and while I do appreciate the effort and passion, and a very juicy burger, I don’t think The Blue Ox is worth the travel time, at least not for me.