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 »
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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Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It can be easy to forgive a few things; a slightly over-cooked burger, a less than perfect bun or a mediocre pickle, as long as the complete package works in the end. The reality is that it’s all about the flavor; bonus points for complete execution and a few carefully crafted “cheffy” tricks here and there. But to be solid, all you really need to is season up some beef, melt some cheese and call it a day. But the Grafton Street burger can’t do it, it’s simple, but to a fault. As Harold from Best Damn Buger and I soon discovered, the beef has little flavor and is way beyond the specified medium-rare. But it’s one of those burgers that probably would have been underwhelming either way, there just isn’t much character or personality in this burger. And as we all, know personality goes a long way. continue reading »
I’ll never complain about the lack of cheese on a burger again. At least not in the case of The Blue Room, a little hideaway of a place in Cambridge. Accompanied by my buddy Christine, this was not a restaurant I had heard all too much about, best case scenario it would be another Fireplace situation. A great burger in an otherwise unsuspecting environment. They really put the cheese in cheeseburger, no question about it. The cheese is a Bouche du Poiton. Don’t worry, I hadn’t heard of it either. It’s basically a goat-meets-brie-meets-blue kind of cheese. And they are not shy about it, a huge hunk, rind and all, sits atop the burger, just about larger than the patty itself. It’s not melted at all, but I’m not even sure that it could or needs to be. It is warm though, and it is delicious, but shouldn’t it be more about the beef and less about covering it up with a very strong (yet flavorful) cheese? continue reading »
How many great burgers are there in this city for under $10? Go ahead, I’ll wait for a minute…I’m labasted often for only liking expensive burgers, that paying anything over the $10 threshold is elitist and snobby. But hold on, where do you go for a cheap burger? Most cheap burgers are priced that way because, quite frankly, they suck. The exceptions to that rule, of course, are: Highland Kitchen, Flat Patties, and the Common Ground. And that’s about it. It’s not my fault the strong majority of quality burgers here are costly, I like what I like and see no need to defend myself any further.
Some places are destined to have great burgers, some are not. Rialto was never meant to have a great burger. After all, Jody Adams is a woman of many culinary talents, but perfecting the classic American sandwich is probably not up her alley, at least that’s the conclusion I’ve come up with. I have to give credit to Rialto for at least trying to put their own spin on things, as you will not find the jaded version you see everywhere else these days; Vermont cheddar, out of season tomato, iceberg lettuce, repeat. At least it looks good on paper at Rialto; Buffalo Mozzarella, prosciutto and a Focaccia bun. But we’ve come across many “looks good on paper” burgers before, and remember the rule; don’t fall in love with it until you’ve taken a bite. (that’s what she said?)