Beware the gourmet burger they say, expensive burgers can’t be trusted. If people start talking about a burger, there’s probably a reason for it, although in the case of Towne, most of the chatter seems to have vanished after a hot start. Priced at $16, I’ve somehow avoided this burger for months, but like most things, this was worth the wait. To make the upper tier, you must nail execution, flavor, and offer something that other burgers can’t. Ironically labeled the “Deluxe All-American Bacon Burger,” it’s all about the meat, but for the gourmet crowd it should go without saying. How premium the entire package is and how much value is attributed to a hefty price tag is the question.
A unique blend of Short Rib and Skirt Steak is used, which is about as fatty as you can get, probably why I liked it so much. The beef has a superior crust and very generous seasoning, funky enough to be different but not too far from the norm to sway any burger enthusiast. It’s requested on the menu that you order it rare, which I do, and for the most part it’s cooked properly. Certainly far from rare as the patty reaches the outer edges, the middle of the burger is perfectly rare without going into raw territory. Perfectly hand-formed and thus loosely packed, the meat sings with robust flavor in each bite. A curious sweet chili sauce tops the burger, not much more than a glorified ketchup that seems out of place, distracting from the meaty patty, the sweetness is a mere distraction. Melted cheddar and bacon round out the burger, the cheddar almost an afterthought, and the crispy bacon offering texture but little flavor. The bun is sort of a Brioche/Kaiser Roll hybrid and it works; slightly sweet and almost too large, it supports the massive patty and all its juiciness. Very ordinary fries are almost a bore, especially after the delicious burger, they are very hollow and taste nothing like potato, albeit seasoned very nicely.
Towne boasts a burger that is to be reckoned with, it’s all about the beef and rightfully so. The meat is exciting, different and wonderful, and as a complete package, it at least deserves any mention to hang with Boston’s best. It’s the same predicament as past burgers; expensive, and hard to justify too many return visits. Less delicious than the burger across the street at Back Bay Social Club, but $6 cheaper. Not as news-worthy as Radius, but definitely beefier. It’s absolutely in the running, and worthy of a closer look by burger enthusiasts everywhere.
Overall Score: 86