A great burger will stay with you for days, you wont be able to stop thinking about it, you’ll want to keep coming back again and again, no matter the cost (both in the wallet and in the waistline) and you can’t wait to tell everyone all about it. The famed burger at The Bristol Lounge, in Boston’s Four Seasons, hits on many marks, and it is a great burger. I don’t throw greatness around too often with my burgers, even a “good” burger is pretty hard to come by, but I can’t say it’s the best. We’ve talked a lot about price with burgers lately, and with good reason, as expensive burgers are abundant these days, the burger at The Bristol Lounge is a whopping $21, but I say, so what, let’s just think of it as a satisfying meal. Is $21 normally too much for a meal? I say no, but with burgers, we don’t expect to pay more than $6, $9, or maybe $12 for the traditional “combo” meal. Unnecessary quotes aside, if we ignore the price for a moment, I don’t have to work very hard to convince you this is a damn good burger. It’s thick, juicy, seasoned perfectly, has fully melted Vermont Cheddar cheese, and is great to the last bite. But to earn a place in the pantheon of my best of the best burger list, you really have to bring it. And for the most part they do bring it at The Bristol, like I said, it’s big, it’s beefy, it’s seasoned appropriately and it’s as juicy as can be. I generally don’t approve of the phrase “char-grilled,” because it’s just so pedestrian, but we are discussing burgers, there shouldn’t be anything highbrow about it. Which leads us to, of course, the truffle-Parmesan fries, while crispy, are underseasoned for my personal taste, and need more oomph. Much like The Abbey before it, they over-promise and under deliver, the truffle is much too subtle, and the Parmesan is barely detectable, never mind the fact they’re a tad on the cold side. The basic mealy tomato and not quite fresh lettuce make the rounds, which I never approve of, but it’s heightened when I’m paying so much for what is supposed to be the best in the city. Why even put them on the plate if they aren’t up to snuff? The homemade pickles, however, are wonderful, and I could have even used a few more.
If you consider the surroundings valuable to the ideal burger spot, and I do, I’m not sure if The Four Seasons fits the bill. The burger is very, very good, the service is spot-on when it easily could have been obnoxious, but it’s just so retro, full of suits and people who don’t look like they’re having any fun. I want the ideal place to be casual, or at least have a cult following in an otherwise unexpected environment. (hello, Craigie) And I probably want to pay less than $21, but that’s a different conversation.
Overall Score: 87