Alden and Harlow

June 24th, 2014 by Richard Chudy

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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 »

Beat Hotel

February 28th, 2014 by Richard Chudy

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The folks behind The Beehive in the South End opened up the Beat Hotel in Harvard Square and pretty much made a similarly delightful burger. The Prime Burger ($15) is a tall one, staring right back at you like many classic pub-looking burgers before it. The menu offers no hint of what’s to come, but after digging a little deeper I learned this burger comes with a Port Wine aioli,  crispy tobacco onions, served on a Hi-Rise potato roll and a side of vinegar slaw. Interesting that none of that is listed on the actual menu and even more interesting that I probably found it more favorable before I learned all that, since you could barely taste any of it. But I digress; it’s forgivable because it’s quite delicious no matter how you slice it. continue reading »

All Star Sandwich Bar

February 12th, 2014 by Richard Chudy

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This is not one I’m supposed to like, right? The over-the-top burger that is the Elvis Double Grilled Cheese Burger (or was, this was a special that hopefully is back in the rotation again soon) at All Star Sandwich Bar may be one for the ages, if nothing else than for a seemingly very glutenous burger that is actually pretty damn respectable. On paper, this burger is a beast, taking the Elvis inspired burger to a whole new level, arriving tall and proud with a 1/2 pound burger, sharp cheddar, honey glazed bacon, peanut butter, pickled Fresno chiles and grilled banana. Oh, and did I mention it’s served in between two grilled cheese sandwiches? Still with me? I can’t say I’ve ever had a burger like this one before, and the big question hanging over my head was whether or not I’d want to have another burger like this one again afterwards. continue reading »

West Bridge

January 3rd, 2014 by Richard Chudy

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It used to puzzle me when restaurants that seemingly had no business putting a burger on their menu, had a burger on their menu. Especially when you consider that most burgers are fairly similar, why bother throwing your hat in the perpetual burger ring when you aren’t going to try something different? This has often been the case with some of the higher end restaurants in town who (try to) rely on premium beef and brioche bun varieties but somehow miss the mark more often than not with what should be an easy assignment. When they are successful it’s usually a fast-food inspired burger that is ultimately a very round about way of pleasing us in the way that burgers were always supposed to please us: with simplicity. West Bridge in Kendall is known for a few things: small plates, that damn egg in a jar (probably the most overrated menu item I’ve had in recent memory) and a nice cocktail list, but a burger, not so much. continue reading »

Park

October 26th, 2012 by Richard Chudy

photo by Katie Barszcz

The supporting cast of any and all burgers can make or break the entire sandwich; too much or not the right amount of role players can spoil any potentially strong burger. At Park, (formly Redline, run by the same ownership group in Harvard Square) the burger is redefined by the often overlooked Patty Melt, an obvious selection as a base for a burger, but seeminlgy sorely lacking as a whole on the Boston burger scene. More like a grilled cheese on steroids than the traditional soft bun meets meat, the Park burger is exceedingly rich, juicy and almost overkill. Yeah, it’s probably more than enough of the salty fatty stuff than you need in one sitting, but there’s a reason it’s starting to gather local media attention. continue reading »

Abigail’s

February 14th, 2012 by Richard Chudy

Unless you ditch the notion that a burger has to taste, look or feel a certain way, you’re missing the point. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s big, small, grilled or griddled, the only thing that’s important is that it tastes good. After all, isn’t that really what we’re judging?  A heftier price tag may make you think twice, but if it’s $20 and it’s incredible, who really cares? Lucky for you, the burger at Abigail’s costs a mere $9, ($13 if you want to “double down” with an extra patty) and is a satisfying, unpretentious offering. Clearly a lot of thought went into this burger, but they weren’t foolish into trying to gussy up a classic burger. No, it’s not Shake Shack or In-N-Out, but it is a successful, thin burger that is more akin to a Big Mac than anything else. But that’s not its downfall, it’s more a testament to its attributes.
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