April 10th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

The expensive burgers around town need to bring something new to the table (more specifically my lunch table) to justify a hefty price tag. We’ve discussed at lengths about the merits and challenges with the price differences among the burgers in Boston. I always want more, even when I’m talking about restraint, I still want the ingredients to shine in a way that’s never been done before. We’ve seen the cast of players before; tomato, lettuce, onions, and an egg. We all know I’m a sucker for a fried egg on a burger, and Asana takes it to another level by stuffing their burger with a poached egg. Of all the burgers I’ve had, I’ve never seen this done before, a burger can be topped with an egg, which is delicious, but as I soon discovered it’s even more delicious when the egg is inside the burger.

They don’t stop there, the caramelized onions are among the best I’ve had on a burger; sweet, tangy and meltingly tender, basically the polar opposite of most of their counterparts, which have a tendency to be bitter and not much else. Oven dried tomatoes are also an achievement, taking the usually unpleasant out of season tomato and turning it into something I actually enjoy having atop my burger. Extraordinary care is taken with the toppings and condiments, but if you haven’t noticed I haven’t discussed the beef yet. And that’s my gripe here, as Asana nails the egg, the onions and the tomato, but misses the mark on the beef. The burger costs $22, ($17 minus the egg) which is all well and dandy, but I expect a little more out of the actual beef, and Sirloin just isn’t going to cut it. What separates the contenders from the pretenders in the world of “gourmet” burgers is the beef, but you already knew that. If I’m paying $22 for a burger I want that beef to shine, I want perfect execution all around and I kind of expect to be blown away. Again, to stress the point, you can’t blow me away with grilled sirloin. Radius, Craigie and Back Bay Social Club stand out as high end burgers because of the beef and the execution. Asana is just about there on the execution but loses points on the lackluster beef that is a touch overcooked and more or less average when it should be top notch.

What it all boils down to is the incredible, edible egg, the onions and the tomato. The burger itself is almost too ordinary, seasoned well but in need of help. The egg, with its creamy and runny yolk does boost the flavor of the beef but I want to taste more of the beef on its own. The French Fries are also solid, perfectly seasoned but too pale. They could have been a little crispier and little more golden. And again, I’m begging for another element; not so much to justify the price, but when you’re dining in such a beautiful room and paying such a premium and being served like royalty, I’d like a little more effort to what is essentially the same fries you could have at any pub/burger joint in the city. This is a good burger because it’s original in many aspects, too plain in the beef department, but an overall enjoyable experience that could be even better with a few minor tweaks.

Overall Score: 82

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