Once upon a time a nerdy burger boy ate a delicious burger at Back Bay Social Club. But that was no normal experience, the burger was delicious, but I was always wondering if it would be the same when I made my triumphant return, no camera this time, just a normal guy. I remembered it tasting more steak than burger, not that it was a bad thing, but in my mind my review was already written before I went back. In many respects, there was no way the burger in my head could live up to hype I built and others built for it. Let’s say this, the burger at Back Bay Social Club is excellent, but it’s $21, a price point I’ve dealt with before, and it’s not a huge deal, some people will balk at that price, but if it’s worth it, it’s worth it. I fuss all the time about simplicity, execution, and tradition when it comes to burgers, mostly because places find a way to screw it all up by just adding as much “stuff” as they can. A burger need not be fancy, but at $21, shouldn’t it at least be a little gimmicky?I’m aware I discourage places from trying to do too much, but again, I almost expected a little more from this burger. I’m not saying I require foie gras and truffles, but something was needed to put it over the top. The meat is delicious, but on this particular day, is under-seasoned, and so are the fries. In terms of cooking techniques, pretty flawless all around, this is probably the juiciest burger I’ve ever had, and the bun, sort of a hybrid of Kaiser meets Portuguese Roll, is spot-on, and probably the best bun I’ve had to date. Generally, a bun is either too big, too skimpy or irrelevant, the irrelevant buns are the best by default because they don’t get in the way. But rarely is the bun actually noteworthy, Craigie comes to mind, and Back Bay Social Club is right there with it. Sharp Cheddar and smothered onions round out the burger, good additions, but once again I seek more cheese. It’s almost impossible to have too much cheese on a burger, yet every place seems to under-do it in this city. The onions, cooked slowly for hours, are not your ordinary caramelized onions, they melt onto the burger and into your mouth, really done right.
The fries, while executed properly, are in desperate need of salt. They come served in a brown paper bag (of course the whole meal is served on a wood cutting board) which is fun and playful like every $21 burger should be. For once, I’m not the most negative member in our developing Cheeseburger Club, this is an excellent burger, but for the price, I can’t say I’m going to run back and have it on a regular basis, which should be the standard for any burger. But for a burger that I’m calling the juiciest I’ve ever had, and the most perfect bun to date, my complaints are few and far between. A little salt would have put this experience over the top, maybe on another day this could be the best burger in Boston.
Overall Score: 88