Hey there, Alden and Harlow, no pressure or anything. Many folks (both local and national) have been anointing the Secret Burger one of the best burgers in the country, never mind locally. I’m always wary of such proclamations, for obvious reasons, and try to avoid the hype machine as best I can before heading into a place. How good could it really be? I’ve eaten my way through a great (and uncomfortable) amount of burgers over the last few years. Many have wowed me, some have disappointed, and most have been just fine and dandy. I dined at Alden and Harlow on a busy Thursday night, knowing full well that a burger would be in my future. They mention on the menu that there is only a limited number of burgers available on a nightly basis (rumor has it about three dozen, with a few withheld for late-night service) although I have yet to hear of many, if any people getting rejected because they had run out. To me it feels like a cooler Craigie on Main approach: the burger is there for the taking but clearly there are a bunch of other fine dishes the chef would rather have you enjoy; it’s not hidden even if it is limited. I certainly wouldn’t complain if Alden just turned into a full-blown burger joint, but something tells me chef Scelfo wants to flex his culinary muscles a little more than just serving up our most beloved sandwich. continue reading »
Articles filed under ‘Reviews’
It’s just a burger, right? Right. I don’t totally “get” some places. I mean, I get it, you serve burgers in a fast casual kind of way, and not that you need to reinvent the wheel, but why go through the trouble if you aren’t going to try something new and interesting? I do suppose for some majority of people out there, the classics and the straight-forward are all they’d ever want or need in a burger joint. So despite my pretentious desires, there is always a market for the simple and the pure burger. A&B in Salem, relatively new, is housed in the old Salem jail, giving it a unique look and offering table service and awkward waiter interactions despite most checks coming in under $10 per person. Not that there’s anything wrong with the service, that part is just fine, and my lazy ass certainly appreciates it. continue reading »
My mom, for reasons that might or might not have been clear to me, has been constantly singing the praises of the burger at Canary Square in Jamaica Plan for quite some time now. Finally, on mother’s day, I caved. Not that I thought it wouldn’t be a great burger, but more because I was sort of enjoying the back and forth game of the elusive burger, and the saleswoman pitch she kept giving me. It’s a bustling restaurant on this particular Sunday night, the first warm day/evening in a while, and neighborhood patrons appear as if they have been coming here for years. The service is a tad slow when you want it to be faster, and very quick and short once they realize you are done for the night. continue reading »
You know the drill. A simple burger is bound only by its parts and labor. Great beef, bun and fries are more paramount than the burger loaded with a myriad of toppings and the like. Sure, great beef, bun and fries are always important, but if you go the straight-forward route, you are only opening up yourself to a closer inspection with nary a sauce to hide behind. The burger at Cook, in Newton, comes with nothing more than cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onion on their burger, and for $13 is probably about all you can expect from this middling restaurant. continue reading »
At this point, we all know about the legendary burger at Craigie on Main. The problem with that burger, and really the only issue, is/was the accessibility. Yes, it’s deliciously beefy and probably the most interesting and clever little burger I’ve had, but with only a very limited number available nightly (18 I believe, more on Sunday brunch) who the hell can ever actually get to eat this burger? I have no problem with burgers that are only served at the bar or at certain times of the night, but to have to make a reservation just to eat a burger is a little extreme. Still, the Craigie burger is my highest ranked burger for many reasons, and when news broke that Chef Tony Maws would be opening a new, more casual spot with a seemingly more casually priced and more readily available burger, we burger nerds were giddy with anticipation. Enter Kirkland Tap and Trotter, in Somerville but literally on the Cambridge border, where things are not as casual, at least on the pricing scale, as one might have been led to believe.
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Sometimes I think we need to step back and appreciate a burger for what it is and what it is trying to be. Is Flat Patties supposed to be high-end? I think not. Is the Back Bay Social Club burger meant to be served and wolfed down like a fast-food burger? Of course not. Grass Fed in Jamaica Plain isn’t trying to hide behind anything; they are a neighborhood burger joint serving up fairly simple burgers in an easy-going fashion. That’s it. Everything is served a la carte, with single burgers starting at around $6 and climbing up to over $8 in some cases. Fries are on the pricey side: $4 for a small and over $6 for a large, but the small can certainly be a shareable serving size for two. Milkshakes, both adult and regular, round out the focus of the menu (along with other sandwiches and hot dogs), so the sky is literally the limit and will dictate how much you end up spending on a meal. continue reading »