You have to do better than that, folks. Charley’s is fine, but anyone who has suggested this as the “best burger in Boston” has to be kidding themselves. Look. there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this Newbury Street operation, it’s a saloon, with an old-school, plain-Jane menu that happens to have a couple of burger options on the menu. But barely, you can order a hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger, or an au poivre burger. (which oddly does not mention pepper in the description) All served up on a Pletzel roll, (no not a typo, could have fooled me too) with cheddar cheese, and pathetic lettuce and tomato pushed to the side. The bun is actually decent, dressed with poppy seeds, it is not too thick and not too thin, with a good chew but lacking any crispy crust. The beef has an above-average amount of juiciness, over-packed though which makes it dense and too chewy. The cheddar, boasted as “9 month aged” is actually very strong and noticeable, with a good (not great) melt that adds some much needed flavor. The meat itself is lackluster, a very standard approach with very little seasoning to speak of. The fries, on the thicker Pub style spectrum, are fine for what they are, but again, lack character and salt. Two Onion rings accompany the burger and are listed as a garnish, which I can’t say I’ve seen before. Probably because it’s such a tease, if they were on the actual burger it might be more sensible, but instead they’re just mixed in with the fries and are nothing special anyway.
Charley’s is not a horrible option because for this neck of the woods, a $10 burger is a hard thing to find. It’s the kind of burger that you don’t even notice while you eat it because there’s not much going on. Sometimes a burger really is just a burger, and this is the perfect example. It’s juicy enough, is affordable and is certainly a better option than some of the pricier options nearby. But a basic lack of salt and imagination holds this burger back from any mentioning of the best in the city.
Overall Score: 74