Archive for February, 2011

51 Lincoln

February 26th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

Photo courtesy of Christine Liu

Great burgers are hard to come by in Boston. Sure, you can have a pretty good burger, over-sized, a spear of a dill pickle, cold beer and get in for under $10. Problem solved, right? Well, not so fast, if the goal is to be full and to not really think about how/why/what the meal is all about, then maybe this isn’t the place for you. It’s often pointed out that even when I like a place, I never really like a place. And I get it, the tagline here does reference “the perfect burger” but it’s so tongue and cheek, food is subjective, how could one meal, especially a dumb burger, ever be perfect? The burger at 51 Lincoln in Newton is not perfect, but it is damn good, I promise my complaints will be few and far between. continue reading »

R.F. O’Sullivan & Son, a re-review

February 20th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

In the search for the Best Burger in Boston, the name R.F.O’s comes up frequently, people are dedicated to their favorite places, as they should be. I’m not picking on anyone who likes this restaurant better than that, but if R.F.O’s serves your favorite burger in the city, you’re probably not looking hard enough. I went almost two years ago, and pretty much felt it was average across the board and nowhere near the hype. After deciding to give one of my lower reviewed places a second chance, I found myself right by R.F.O’s after one of my cooking classes. The timing seemed to be right, and of all the lower scores I’ve given, none has received so much feedback, both agreeing and strongly disagreeing with my review.  This wasn’t just a way to feed my ego (ok, maybe a little) and confirm my original review, no “I told you so” moments here, but in all honesty, I had almost the same experience the second time around. continue reading »

The Haven

February 20th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

It’s not my fault, I promise, I’m new to the world of Scottish cuisine, and I’m sure most of you are too. Very, very excited to try Haggis and even more excited for what was promised to be a delicious burger, The Haven just didn’t do it for me. I’ve eaten a wide range of cuisine in my day (still plenty out there to try) but Haggis was a new one. I’m not sure what I should have expected when I tried the Lambs’ heart, liver, and lungs, but even in croquette form, it was just off-putting to me. I’m aware this is a burger blog, but it has to be noted, whatever flavor was present in the Haggis that I found so off-putting, seemed to be in the burger as well. Or maybe my palette was just thrown off and couldn’t recover.  Could have been a combination of both, really, but I wasn’t the only one among the four diners who felt this way. continue reading »

Sandrine’s Bistro

February 19th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

What do the French know about burgers anyway? We’re talking about the quintessential American food here, yet the SBK and I are drawn to this charming Bistro on our weekly burger jaunt. It was an up and down experience the entire meal, good but not great burgers, very good but not excellent French Fries, and a more than awkward server than I was expecting. I guess I’m always baffled by up-selling outside of a movie theater, but if I’m in the mood for a Diet Coke with my meal, I will speak up. I was also surprised at how easily said waitress threw the kitchen staff under the bus, insisting that if we wanted to order dessert (this coming just after we ordered our entree’s) we should do it quickly, since “our kitchen is very slow.” There were other mishaps along the way, but whatever, let’s get back to the burgers.

Sampling both the “Grilled French Burger” ($14) and the “Gourmand Sirloin Burger” ($13) yielded similar results. Cooked fairly close to the requested medium-rare, there just wasn’t a ton of flavor from the beef. I suspect the leanness of Sirloin is the culprit here, as the cut of beef is generally a good indicator of the rest of the meal. We know Sirloin is not the best choice, correct? Fat is flavor, and I want my burgers fatty, dammit, is that too much to ask for? Bacon and melted brie do their best to bump up the flavor in the Grilled French Burger, despite the bacon not being completely crispy. (is it that hard to cook bacon?) The melted brie added a wonderful touch, oozing and creamy, with just the right amount of tang needed to offset the unpronounced flavor of the burger itself. The Gourmand Burger was less successful for me, topped with a duck truffle terrine, the flavors just never came through for me. Honestly I’m not a huge terrine fan anyway, and while this was well prepared, it just has no place on a burger in my opinion. Texture is important in a meal (yes, even on a burger) so the idea of a mushy terrine on top of a burger without a crust was a minor misstep, and fancy-pants ingredients such as a duck truffle terrine have no place on my ideal burger, but the attempt and the differentiation is duly noted.

The French Fries (excuse me, “pommes frites”) are golden and crispy, but need just a touch more of salt and are a shade above room temperature. Not bad but not fantastic, kind of like the meal as a whole. I know the French can prepare food properly, and for the most part, they do at Sandrine’s Bistro. The bun, a brioche no less, works well with the burger at hand, even if the burgers seem a little on the small side. The flaws aren’t major, but for an overall experience, something is lacking, which I attribute to passion. Some may say you can’t taste passion on the plate, but I know I can, and while they go through the motions to cook as spot-on as they can, without the love and the dedication behind the food, it will never be all that memorable.

Overall Score: 77 

A second chance

February 8th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

I’ve had this idea for a while, going back to re-review a burger that I initially gave a low score. As people often point out to me, a real critic would go several times before settling on a review. Well, I am not a real critic, and neither my physique nor my wallet can afford to in most cases. But maybe I went on an off-day, maybe I had a completely strange experience and the burger was not a normal example of how good it really is. So let’s put it to a vote, or I’ll at least listen to your thoughts, where I should go back and try again? I think the initial review will stand, but I promise to write a new one with completely new thoughts and hopefully a new (and better) score. I was thinking of the following, but maybe you had something else in mind?

– R.F. O’Sullivan’s

– The Paramount

– Cafeteria

– Trina’s Starlite Lounge

– Green Street Grill

-Jerry Remy’s

-The Oak Room

-Bukowski’s

-Other???

Gargoyle’s on the Square (CLOSED)

February 8th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

If it’s all about the beef, as I often am guilty of saying, then the burger at Gargoyle’s on the Square is sublime. It’s beefy, juicy, salty, and has umami flavor all over it. But if a burger is only as good as the sum of its parts, as I am also often guilty of saying, the burger at Gargoyle’s is good in one area and a complete failure everywhere else. Namely the bun, which has ruined many a good burger before, is the culprit here again. No, a disco brunch isn’t my thing, and yes, it was uncomfortably warm inside, but that didn’t stop the engaging Dylan Wise and I to chew the fat, as they say, and dissect our burgers. continue reading »