Just upstairs and affiliated with Saloon, Foundry on Elm is the prototypical gastropub with a New England flair. And like any good gastropub, there is a burger on the menu. The ‘Foundry Chef’s Burger‘ is a $15 behemoth boasting grass-fed chuck, bacon jam, blue cheese, house BBQ sauce, shaved dill pickles and pickled red onion. You can sort of sense the problems early on, and if you’re like me, you think about and predict what the burger will taste like before you even sink your teeth into it. In this case it looks like too many ingredients, many of which are strongly flavored, and it more or less does not come together.
The burger is cooked to a perfect medium rare, and a few initial pokes and squishes yield a juicy burger that looks promising. The toppings and condiments, as expected, are piled high and stacked up on top of the patty all the way up to the substantial bun. A couple of bites into the burger and it’s hard to distinguish one flavor from another. The beef on its own is fine, not necessarily lean and odd in the way that grass-fed often can be, but is very neutral and lackluster. The blue cheese is also tame, barely recognizable as a traditional blue cheese. Part of me is glad it’s not too strong but I’m a bit disappointed that it’s not more detectable. The rest of the supporting players, the bacon jam, BBQ sauce, pickles and red onions are hit-or-miss. I was most excited for the bacon jam, hoping the smokey sweet notes would come through, but if it wasn’t listed as an ingredient you’d never know it was in there. I mostly just get hits of acidity from the pickles and the onions (odd that there are two pickled components) and a hefty dose of decent yet unremarkable BBQ sauce. The beef is lost, but again, it’s not super flavorful on its own as it is. That could be a seasoning issue or it could just be a lean piece of beef that is cleverly attempted to be covered up with a lot of strong flavors. The bun is tall and soft, holding all of the lengthy list of ingredients in place, and is a wise choice. I opted for the truffle-Parmesan fries, which are quite soggy and bland, despite the aggressive dose of truffle oil and not-so great shaved Parmesan. Sensing a trend here?
It’s not so much the price ($15) or the choice of ingredients, it’s the care or lack thereof that is taken with the Foundry on Elm burger. A lot of of heavy hitters ultimately end up canceling each other out and you can never disguise ordinary beef as hard as you may try. It’s not a fail, it’s ultimately just a disappointment and completely average at best. Hard to recommend but unique enough for those looking for something a little different from the norm.
Overall Score: 74