If any type of establishment should have a great burger, it’d have to be a steakhouse, right? I mean, the classic pub and fast causal categories make a lot of sense too, but great beef should be a no-brainer for a place that specializes in red meat. And The Bancroft in Burlington passes the meat test with flying colors. The lunch and brunch only burger sits at $15 and is a treat; not flawless, but what burger is. Brioche, crispy onions, cave aged cheddar, fries and pickles round it out on a pretty presentation in a gorgeous room.
The homemade brioche is easy on the eyes; studded with poppy seeds it looks fresh but lacks the airiness upon first bite. It’s the one glaring miss on the plate, despite holding in the juices well, it’s dense and competes with the beef. That beef though, is quite nice, boasting rich and earthy tones and has that rare (no pun intended) crave ability from one bite to the next. It has a very pleasant river of burger juices that actually stay mostly within the patty from start to finish, with a very (almost too) loose texture. Seasoning is on point, and a very subtle char is a bonus as well. It’s medium-rare for the most part, with one or two spots a little over or a little under but not enough of a swing to matter all that much. A ridiculous amount of sharp cheddar is melted and is as sexy as melted cheese could be on a burger. Crispy onions are placed accordingly just under the bun, but still end up soggy during the eating process. A large chunk of lettuce and tomato join the party, but don’t add much unless the requisite vegetation is your thing. Fries and a side of homemade ketchup are perfection; the thin and McDonald’s-esque version of spuds are perfectly salty and crispy and probably the best version I’d had of the Golden Arches influence (haven’t I said that before?) The homemade ketchup tastes like a fresher version of the bottled stuff and I was instantly a fan. A side of pickles are crisp, tangy and acidic, just the way a pickle ought to be, I could probably eat ’em by the Mason Jar.
Is it the best beef I’ve ever had? Absolutely not but it is very, very good. Fries, pickles, ketchup and an embarrassment of cheese are all big pluses for The Bancroft burger. $15 suits me just fine, but the massive and hard to get around brioche bun is the one mistake. I get why they or other places do it, it looks the part no doubt, but when it isn’t impeccably fresh and airy, its density and too-much-bread experience is the wrong choice. Still, with everything else being very good to great, this one is a winner.
Overall Score: 88