It’s not so much a different version, it’s merely a similar product to what’s already out there and established. Burger Dive in Somerville’s Assembly Square has the look and feel like many of its contemporaries, namely Tasty Burger, Wahlburgers, Five Guys and UBurger. Calling it anything short of fast food would be setting your expectations too high. No, it isn’t the golden arches but it’s a quick service burger joint and has all the stigmas that go along with that. It already has the appearance that it could multiply into even more locations; in other words, this one is pretty formulaic. But the menu is promising, with a healthy dose of the normal burger concoctions to slightly different arrangements including a 50/50 burger with half bacon and half beef, plus different burgers showcasing Fritos and potato chips. The food comes out quickly but not so fast that it’s been sitting under a heating lamp all day. Heck, they even have a burger car parked outside the restaurant that piqued my interest.
I ordered two different burgers for a larger sample size: the 50/50 Bakoneater and the Brunch Burger. The 50/50 is composed of equal parts ground beef and ground bacon, surely interesting enough to order as I’ve never seen or heard of anything like that before. It’s the perfect example of a burger that appears to be juicy but is really just incredibly greasy. But that’s what happens when half of the burger is made from bacon, so no real shocker there I suppose. The puzzling thing I found was just how little bacon flavor there really was with this burger. I’ve long said that bacon smells better than it tastes in most cases, and this is a great case for my argument. Instead of being a salty, smoky delight, it’s more on the side of excess and rather unnecessary. The bacon does help season the beef, which is loosely packed but still together enough to hold some integrity. In that respect, it’s ideal. The Brunch Burger is petty much what you’d expect, minus the addition of potato chips because you know, we always have potato chips with our brunch spread, right? The obvious fried egg and bacon accompany this one and it’s mostly enjoyable. The egg is drastically over-cooked with only a firm yolk in place and there is no optimal runniness to look forward to. The bacon and cheddar are fine additions, truly adding a high level of fat to the burger, somehow even more so than the 50/50. The burger is once again loosely packed and is seasoned ahead of the curve. Although the beef is mostly ordinary, I can’t say I expect too much more for a fast-casual burger place of this kind, and it works for what it is. French fries are hollow, barely seasoned and lacking any true potato flavor, although the plethora of self-serve dipping sauces available is a nice touch, even if I don’t really love or require any of them.
A premium combo meal here comes in under $11, which I think is fair but straddling the too pricey threshold. I like the looseness of the patties and they are seasoned about as well as they could be, and I am most definitely a sucker for a potato bun, especially one that has been branded. I still say there is potential here, the combination of different toppings is unique if not a little cliched, but Burger Dive does its best to offer things some of its competitors cannot. We shall see if they expand or try to push the product quicker than they may be ready for, but for now it is worth a look if not completely remarkable.
Overall Score: 75