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.Let’s try and stick to burgers and burgers only this time, as I had some issues with service and the ridiculous loudness of the pub last time around, but in fairness it was a Saturday night so it should be expected. On this visit, it was a very quiet Sunday night and the service was fine, not good or bad, but fine. The burgers are still huge and are still completely devoid of salt. And pepper. And flavor. Ok, there is flavor of char, there is flavor of smoke from the grill, but flavor from the actual beef? Not a chance, why even have it be beef, it could have been a water chestnut burger that was smoked and I couldn’t tell the difference. Maybe I’m foolish for thinking a pub can make a flavorful burger, while I genuinely enjoy the smokey flavor, shouldn’t the beef have some flavor to it as well? It’s familiar to us, it’s essentially the same grilled, massive burger your dad cooked once a year on the grill when you were growing up. But be fair, those burgers were never good, nostalgic perhaps, but no culinary feat that’s for sure. Once again, my cheese (American!) is not fully melted, seemingly impossible to achieve but here we go again. The fries are still gigantic, doing their best baked potato impersonation, and needing, you guessed it, salt.

Overall, I just can’t get behind a burger that has no beef flavor to speak of, while the char and the smoke are an achievement, can’t I just have a burger that tastes like a burger? If this is the place for you, so be it, but I don’t think you’re trying to find a good burger in Boston, but then again maybe you’re not as obsessive as I am. Leave this place for those who enjoy a quaint pub, with large portions and cold beer. But leave the good burgers for me and for those who enjoy good burgers, and where salt and pepper are actually allowed on the premises.

(New) Overall Score: 74

4 Responses

  1. Dan Abdinoor says:

    Still have not been to R.F. O’s. Still not planning on it.

  2. Jeff Rabe says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I tried this place when the weekly dig published their I can has cheeseburger article years ago (where R.F.O. was one of the features). I don’t mind waiting if it is worth it. But they medium-well’d my mid rare order, and their fries had no seasoning, were too hot, too thick, and yes, more resembled backed potato than fry. I also agree that the flavor of the burger was sorely lacking. They do have their niche of the ‘ball burger’ shape, but besides that there is nothing special here, and I don’t understand the hype.

  3. simon says:

    couldn’t agree more. recently returned to give them a second chance, ordered it rare this time after med rare the first time in the hopes that the lack of flavor was maybe because it was overcooked and i couldn’t tell because it was dark. no chance, sunday afternoon lunch at the bar. a rare burger yielded a burger that simply broke into three pieces with no flavor. oh well.