Let’s get one thing out the way; I could care less if Brookline has a local hangout/pub for people to go to. (how’s that for negativity, I’m on a roll lately) All I’ve been hearing for months is how timely it is that The Regal Beagle opened, as the residents of Brookline needed this type of place, a neighborhood joint to grab a decent meal. Brookline is a lot of things, but littered with reasonably priced, comfort food establishments it is not. So I get it, I don’t live in Brookline, but yeah, I get it. The Regal Beagle does it’s best impression of said local hangout, it’s a noble attempt, but when there’s no other competition for such a place, is it really that noteworthy? Aren’t we just reaching for straws just a bit? I mean it’s good, the food is acceptable, it’s a quaint interior, but like my entire experience there, it’s just not memorable.
The prices are fair, nothing over $14, at least on the lunch menu, but there’s nothing to be thrilled about. The burger is what I’m after, but a quick study of the menu does nothing for inspiration, again, it’s typical for the decor, I guess I just expected a little more oomph. And then comes the dreaded brioche, I know it’s on the menu, so all I can do is man-up and try to keep an open mind. But I tell you, it never works for my personal taste, maybe you feel differently. The problem with brioche, as written a million times before, is that it’s just too much, the bun should be a complement, not a distraction. It’s too airy, too dry, and just plain old too big for a burger. Bigger is not always better, especially for the humble hamburger. The burger is topped with bread and butter pickles, not my preference, but homemade and the effort is noted. Vermont Cheddar, which seems to be everywhere these days and for good reason, tops the patty but is lost along the way. It’s a pretty pungent, sharp offering, so it’s surprising, especially with so few elements, that it’s basically nowhere to be found. The burger has a nice smoky aroma before I even bite into it, and the subtle smoke carries nicely through the meal. It’s medium-rare in spots, but very overdone in others, especially by the time I reach the end, which of course results in a dry sandwich. Ketchup is always a classic, but I think burgers often need a sauce, especially for those times when the meat isn’t as juicy as it ought to be., which is most of the time in my experience. There’s just no personality in the burger, with so few ingredients (as it should be) each should have it’s rightful place and truly standout. It’s a safe meal through and through, the rest of the menu reads the same, but with such an eclectic mix of persona’s in this city, couldn’t we take a little bit more of a risk?