Russell House Tavern

June 26th, 2010 by Richard Chudy

I wrote a little teaser on our Facebook page a couple days ago mentioning that I had a top-5 Boston burger. I might have jumped the gun a tad, and after thinking it over a few days, I’m not sure it’s better than the one’s ahead of it. Most of the burgers have received very mediocre scores from yours truly, but there are some standouts, and while my initial instinct was to go over the top, I kind of overlooked some past favorites. Which isn’t to say the burger at Russell House isn’t great, it is, but do I like it as much as Toro, Miracle of Science or Flat Patties? Close, but no cigar. I don’t hand out high remarks easily, the top burgers have earned their place, in my opinion, and this is absolutely one burger I will be back for. Located right in the heart of Harvard Square in a stunning space, to me, this is what pub food and atmosphere is supposed to be about. It’s modern, clean, and the menu is downright enticing, with something for everyone. The burger is priced at a very reasonable $10, served on a griddled English Muffin, with charcoal onions, bacon, and cheddar. I was pretty nervous about the English Muffin, which I don’t normally enjoy and was worried it might be too thin for a burger. But, much to my delight, it actually holds up fairly well, a little hard to handle in spots (ie too hot in the middle because it’s so thin) but griddling helps it form a crust which gives it much needed structure. The meat has good flavor, is noticeably beefy, but the bacon is a real afterthought, almost undetectable. And that beef, while tasty, is very overcooked in too many spots, as long as it’s flavorful I’m happy, but overcooked meat dries out, and this burger just had too many overcooked spots. The homemade aioli was wonderful, a perfect foil to both the fries and the burger, and despite having only a handful of ingredients, there is a ton of flavor from start to finish. Also worth mentioning was the amount of char on the burger, I like some char, but for me, too many of the components (all of them really) had that charred flavor, to the point where things become bitter and consequently one note.The Russell House Tavern has a lot of things going for it, great location, great burgers and affordability, everything you could ask for in a casual restaurant. It may not be the best burger in Boston, but it’s certainly right up there.

Overall Score: 87

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