After a string of mediocre to poor burgers over the past month, I declared my expectations would be low from now on, secretly hoping that would make my burger experiences more enjoyable. Well it seemed to work, or the burger was just pretty good anyhow (more likely) on a trip to The Fireplace in Brookline. Not hearing much about the restaurant before I went, certainly hearing even less of the burger, I had the pleasure of having an unexpected moment of satisfaction upon the first bite. I pretty much know the verdict on a burger within the first bite or two, and was pleasantly surprised at how juicy and salty (in the good way) this burger was immediately. It fooled me, really, kind of a “where the hell did that come from” moment. Admittedly, a few past burgers have been good because I wasn’t expecting much. Common Ground, Highland Kitchen, and Washington Square Tavern all come to mind. Ultimately they were good because they were good, not because of any preconceived notions. Good beefy flavor and seasoned nicely, the burger at The Fireplace costs $10, $12 if you want cheese. I still say cheese should be included, whereas something like bacon should probably be an additional fee. But what do I know about running a restaurant? The bacon, maple smoked in this case, is kind of a turn off, much too sweet for my tastes and is more chewy than crispy. It’s a straightforward burger, no ace up it’s sleeve if you will, but I’m okay with that. It’s cooked a perfect medium rare from start to finish, and is juicy and flavorful throughout. The trendy Vermont Cheddar is fully melted, but not enough cheese on this burger for a $2 surcharge methinks. January tomato and lettuce come along, as do some underwhelming pickles that are neither good or bad. The bun is the only aspect that is really a let-down, even then it’s not a deal breaker. Too toasty and basically too stale to be effective, it is the proper size for the perfectly sized beef patty. Over-toasting does it no justice though, as it crumbles into nothingness bite after bite, failing to benefit this sandwich in the slightest. The fries are crispy and done just right, seasoned fairly well, simply done, and respectable. How a French Fry becomes respectable is anybody’s guess.
Overall Score: 85