Archive for February, 2012

Vito’s Tavern

February 29th, 2012 by Richard Chudy

At least the wings were good. The burger…not so much, a classic case of looking really friggin’ good on paper, the burger at Vito’s Tavern misses the mark again and again while trying to sound more special than it actually is. I ordered the “Fifth Flavor” Burger, a promise of Umami-rich ingredients (Roasted Tomato, Parmigiano Frico, Homemade Ketchup, Shiitake Mushrooms, Brioche) all for the seemingly great price of $12.99. The beef is advertised as a special blend but it tastes rather ordinary. It’s kind of an odd one; all the ingredients are there, more or less, they just don’t pack a punch the way they’re supposed to. The mushrooms are few and far between, and the homemade ketchup appears to be completely lacking, but the tomato runs rampant. The Frico, which ideally provides a wonderful crunch, is soggy and all it can do is cling to the tomatoes that may or may not even be roasted. A lot of talk but a big letdown in execution, something we’ve sadly seen far too often.  continue reading »


February 14th, 2012 by Richard Chudy

Unless you ditch the notion that a burger has to taste, look or feel a certain way, you’re missing the point. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s big, small, grilled or griddled, the only thing that’s important is that it tastes good. After all, isn’t that really what we’re judging?  A heftier price tag may make you think twice, but if it’s $20 and it’s incredible, who really cares? Lucky for you, the burger at Abigail’s costs a mere $9, ($13 if you want to “double down” with an extra patty) and is a satisfying, unpretentious offering. Clearly a lot of thought went into this burger, but they weren’t foolish into trying to gussy up a classic burger. No, it’s not Shake Shack or In-N-Out, but it is a successful, thin burger that is more akin to a Big Mac than anything else. But that’s not its downfall, it’s more a testament to its attributes.
continue reading »

Blue on Highland

February 7th, 2012 by Richard Chudy

Sometimes all I want is a normal burger; but the line between simple and boring can be hard to detect. It’s not difficult to go from promising to adequate to disappointing. But, many past burger successes have been attributed to keeping it low-key, nailing the beef and letting the supporting cast do what they do best. The burger on the menu at Blue on Highland in Needham is fairly straightforward, and after cooking for some of our clients in the neighborhood, lunch was in order. I pretty much had zero expectations prior, but sometimes that’s when I end up pleasantly surprised. continue reading »


February 3rd, 2012 by Richard Chudy

For all my talk about “everyone having a burger on their menu,” I still get charged up whenever I find one at an unsuspecting restaurant. Is it the thrill of discovering the next great burger that no one is talking about? I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a factor, and after nestling into the bar at Masa for a quick snack before the next meal, I quickly spotted a burger on the menu and I couldn’t pass it up. Sounding different and exciting, it had all the makings of a substantial burger. Then again, much to my dismay, it turned into one of those “looks good on paper” burgers that are common and disappointing. The Masa Burger is topped with Monterey Jack Cheese and comes with smoked bacon, sliced avocado, pickled onions and Guajillo ketchup. Or so one would think.  continue reading »