How many great burgers are there really in Boston? The number of what I would deem exceptional isn’t quite as vast as it could be. True, there are plenty of solid to good burgers, and there is nothing wrong with having a consistent fall-back option when it comes to our friend, the hamburger. Lincoln in Southie may have my current favorite pizza anywhere in the Greater Boston area, (Although I love the original Regina’s, to me Lincoln is right there) and as I soon found out, also makes one the better burgers. The noise level is painfully high for a semi-old dude such as myself on a Thursday night, and the servers and hostesses are brash, cocky and not exactly welcoming which is a bit of a letdown.
The Lincoln burger is successful in part because of the price tag, a mere $12 in the land of the $16 burger, but maybe in Southie the gourmet burger price tag has yet to hit the streets. This burger is not bashful, and is full of very rich, dominating flavors, not a bad thing in my book. Coming with a very generous helping of caramelized onions, Tilamook cheddar and bacon aioli, there is nothing subtle about this one. With a bun eerily reminiscent of the lovely soft, Portuguese bun at Back Bay Social Club, it’s well built from the top down, the modest beef juices easily caught by the bun, which has the ideal light as a feather and just crispy texture that is the gold standard. The thick patty, made from a combination of Prime Chuck Roll and Prime Rib Cap meat, has a lusciousness and an airiness that I don’t think I’ve ever experienced in a burger before. Light as if you are eating a tenderloin, but with the fat of a more complex cut of beef. The seasoning and doneness left a little to be desired, however, just short on salt, and more medium across the board than the requested medium-rare. But it had a good amount of juiciness that dripped through from start to finish, being held in by the bun all the while. The aforementioned onions are dominant to a fault: borderline burnt in parts, they end up imparting too bitter of a flavor and there are a whole lot of them that are unavoidable as part of the burger experience. The cheddar is perfectly melted and gooey, and the bacon aioli is a magical accompaniment that is loaded with smokey, porky, goodness, creating even more fat than I thought possible. You won’t find any lettuce or tomato on this burger, which I rarely care about anyway, but this might be the one time where a nice, light and fresh component wouldn’t have been completely unwelcome. The fries are finger-size thickness, skin-on and crispy and salted just enough, they are textbook and a pleasure, and a healthy dose of fresh rosemary makes them stand-out. A side of the popular Grillo’s pickle joins the plate, but is unexpectedly very, very spicy. I’m normally fine with heat, but the pickle often acts as the fresh component that I can’t help but regrettably take a big bite out of, only to find the spiciness too daunting on the palate in this situation.
Mostly, the Lincoln burger is a big winner. I can’t help but wonder if I’d love it as much if it were $3 or $4 more, and if the low price tag is its biggest asset. But, the unusual cuts of beef used and the killer bacon aioli are two of the reasons that really make it stand out. French fries are first rate and the bun is among the better fits on a burger I’ve had in recent memory. Poor service might knock it down a peg or two, but there’s often too much stock on the front of the house, when all I want is a great burger anyway. Easily one of the better burger and fries combo around, the Lincoln burger will not disappoint.
Overall Score: 88