Sometimes poor service can really spoil things for me, and despite my preference for a completely candid review, I always head into a place with a positive attitude. American Craft did it’s absolute best to annoy me from the get-go, starting with the tattooed indie-hostess girl who really made things difficult right off the bat. Banter I enjoy, hell I give it as much as anyone, but in the world of hospitality, it’s not at all necessary. I don’t like being told there is a twenty minute wait when seats are absolutely plentiful inside, I’m having a hard time imagining VIP reservations at a pretentious “pub” in Brookline, but what do I know. Add all that to beers that were a good inch shy of filling the glass, and I’m grumpy. Good service and a full beer? Now that’s a different story, and I don’t think it’s asking for too much.
Oh right, the burgers. We can talk menus all day, maybe that’s another article in the future, but American Craft does not have any pre-arranged burgers, which to me translates into laziness. Customization is a key element, to each his own, but for those out there who can’t come up with clever combinations on their own, you might end up screwing up with say, mashed potato and spinach as a topping. $11 gets you a hamburger on a Challah roll, lettuce, tomato, and a pickle. That’s it, the addition of cheese is $1, most standard toppings cost $2, and the premium toppings, which include bacon, foie gras and truffle butters, costs $3. I go with cheddar and bacon, which I have issues with costing the same as foie gras or truffles, but the heart wants what the heart wants. So we’re already talking about a $15 burger, I’m already thinking I should have just gone to Craigie for an extra $2, this burger better deliver I keep repeating to myself. Now maybe if it was $9 I could let some things slide, but for $15, I expect greatness, and this is not a great burger. It’s a very good Pub burger, which doesn’t say much in my book, it’s slightly under-cooked (better under than over of course) and is juicy, but just not a ton of flavor. Decent smoke adds a nice element, but it’s lean tasting and really needs some fat. My $3 bacon, nothing more than three chewy strips, is a fail, and the cheese isn’t melted, never becoming one with the burger, as it should, and just sits there, half attached to the meat, half dangling from the bun. And the bun, Challah, as mentioned, is basically from the same family as the Brioche, but I swear I wont go off on a Brioche rant once again, my previous opinions of this type of bun have been well documented, no need to make my point again.
The fries are typical pub style, skin-on, which does not automatically equal flavor, as many believe. They need salt, as is the case with many fries I encounter. While the beer list is extensive, there’s just something so elitist about this place. I don’t think it’s tied to Brookline, but it wouldn’t surprise me either if it was. Everything is over-priced, the dessert menu is “Under Construction” somehow, and the pretentiousness is everywhere, from the menu descriptions, to the attitudes of the hostess and the waitresses. I never felt welcome, and the food didn’t do enough to make me want to come back.