Nestled in Boston’s Theater District, Abby Lane is one of three restaurants run by “celebrity” chef Jason Santos. Probably known more for his blue hair and appearance on Hell’s Kitchen a few seasons ago than his food, Santos used to run the popular and unique Gargoyle’s on the Square before it shuttered not long ago. The room at Abby Lane is bright and clean, and about two-thirds empty on a recent lunch visit, although things seemed to have picked up after walking past the restaurant closer to dinner time in subsequent walk-by’s. The menu is pretty traditional, appealing to the masses with minor twists and turns. Three burgers are on the menu, nothing too extravagant but appealing nonetheless. I opted for the namesake, The Abby Burger, with the promise of a burger topped with smoked gouda, horseradish mayo, fried red onions, crispy fries and dill pickles.
The $14 burger is pretty substantial looking. The first noticeable trait is the pillowy and fluffy looking bun, which ultimately tastes somewhere between Challah and a Bulkie roll. It’s lighter than I expected but still too much bread, even though it is something different. The beef is cooked to a medium, is pretty dense but has relatively good seasoning and an average amount of juiciness. Overall it’s just ordinary: solid beef no doubt, but nothing special, which is disappointing due to the chef’s pedigree. Toppings are mediocre and mostly absent. The cheese, while melted, is anything but smokey, and the horseradish mayo is nowhere to be found on my taste buds, although I can sort of see it spread onto the bun. Fried red onions are very greasy and feel disjointed; they are pale and are poorly battered and it shows. Fries are as crispy as advertised, tasting as if they may have been battered themselves (but much more successfully), they have a crunch and a salt level that is very desirable. A side of dill pickles are classic and crunchy, and this burger eater appreciates someone finally making a solid pickle and not using the easy route with a certain local pickle company.
The burger at Abby Lane is not great but it’s not a bad one either. While I the beef wasn’t so interesting and the fried onions were a miss, the unique bun and quality fries were two pluses. Overall it’s just not a burger to get excited about and not one I would go out of my way to return to, much like many of the other burgers out there I suppose.
Overall Score: 76