Is the burger a trend? Moreover, is the forced gourmet platform of our dear burger just a flash in the pan? I sure hope not, but even as more and more places start offering a burger, there are the pundits who will always put their noses up at the sight of yet another burger. But if you think the burger, in any form, is going away anytime soon, you are incredibly naive. Enter Sycamore in Newton, a buzzworthy restaurant ever since it opened a couple of years ago, which up until a few weeks ago had never served a burger. But why start now? You got me, it’s not the type of place that needs to draw in less adventerous diners and serve a common burger, but clearly the level of excitement to add their take on the classic is something that many chefs and restaurants can get behind, if nothing else than for the mere enjoyment of it all.
The Sycamore burger is off-menu (verbally announced to each diner at the bar) with a limited quantity on Sunday nights only (please check with the restaurant ahead of time, they might not always have it). In the grand scheme of things it’s nothing new; a house-made potato bun, brisket-chuck blend, blue cheese, house bacon, house pickles and fries and for $16 certainly on the higher end of burgers in the ‘burbs. The fresh bun is crackly on the outside and soft and bouncy on the inside, it’s as good as any fresh loaf of bread you’ll find, in bun form. The patty is tall and round, but packed into a tidy little package (much like the bun) so even though it doesn’t look massive, there’s a lot of meat in here, so to speak. The medium-rare request burger is vastly over-cooked, however, and is much more medium to medium-well through and through. Not a deal breaker, fortunately, as this is one very juicy and very well seasoned burger with a hint of char and sufficient beef flavor. The dominant flavor is not beef though, as an onslaught of blue cheese completely overtakes this one. If you are a blue cheese lover this is the burger for you; the stinky abrasive blue is much more pronounced than the beef and will hit you in almost every bite. If you are a blue cheese liker, you may find it a bit overpowering; the choice is yours. House-made bacon and pickles are strong points; the bacon offers a noticeable and pleasant smoke with a subtle chew and the pickles are mild but well balanced. A side of fries fit the bill and there’s not much to gripe about, really. They are hot, well seasoned and crispy, all that you could ever ask for.
Sycamore is new to the burger game and it’s hard to say if it will be a burger that needs to be on everyone’s radar. Most of the components are made in-house and are well crafted, but for all the care that they took in creating it, it isn’t exactly the most one of a kind product. Still, the flavors are there and even though the meat was over-cooked (on both burgers ordered at our table) it’s worthy of some praise, and definitely notable one way or another.
Overall Score: 83