Sometimes, a quick detour away from the burger game might need to be in order. I don’t need to delve too far into the review game aside from burgers, nor do I intend to. But every now and then I have some opinions on things (shocking) that have nothing to do with our dear burger (even more shocking).
I haven’t gone out quite as much lately, but a quick thumbs up, thumbs down:
Thumbs Up: Rialto. I’d only been once, and had a ho-hum burger experience years ago. But a few weeks ago with my sister in town, we sat at the bar, had a few stellar bites and solid cocktails, and were on our way. For a mere $15 we enjoyed Arancini, Duck Pate and Stuffed Fried Olives. Jody was in the house which was nice to see, and it was the perfect, laid-back setting we needed and the food was as delicious as can be.
Thumbs Down: La Brasa. The menu reads so well but it fell very short for me. Even though it looks like every other restaurant nowadays, I still dig the look. On a recent Saturday night we sampled a number of dishes, all missing the same ingredient across the board: salt. It’s amazing how often this seemingly simple aspect trips up major restaurants constantly. Two carrots split in half and served with a watery, one-note mole´ain’t gonna cut it. Neither will $17 for one piece of over-cooked fried chicken, or $8 for about a cup of uninspired and greasy fried rice. But apparently I’m on the outside looking in, because media darlings, bloggers and the like seem to love it.
I don’t believe in off-nights, I believe in the power of consistency. Not the easiest feat to achieve I realize, is one visit fair to write something off? Maybe, maybe not.
Judges with the winner, Mike O’Connell
If I had my pick of what to do on any given day, I’d say wolfing down a burger might be at the top of my list. Now, throw in an extra twenty burgers and we might be in business. Or, I might be in over my head. And welcome to Boston Magazine’s Battle of the Burger, 2014 addition. I had the privilege of being a judge for the home griller’s portion of the program, where three super talented home cooks duked it out to see who made the best burger. They were all fantastic, and the winner, Mike O’Connell, created a duck burger unlike anything I’ve ever had before. Despite my preference and being more of a beef purist with my burgers, the duck was lush, elegant and insanely delicious and he was a well deserved winner. It was quite an honor being on the panel with fellow judges Leah Mennies (food editor of Boston Magazine), Kelly Olynyk (Celtic player, and admittedly the person I was most excited to meet) and Ron Savenor of the famed Savenor’s. The evening was mc’d by my good friend, Jason Rossi, of Radio 92.9 fame. The rest of the night was a thrill as I sampled burgers from all the participating restaurants, a bunch of which I hadn’t had before. Many were very classically prepared, and a few were completely original for the event and I certainly had an amazing (albeit a very full) time. My personal favorite was the burger from Zebra’s Bistro, who served up a smaller version of their house burger, arriving on a challah bun and topped with miso aioli, Vermont cheddar, bacon and pickled red onions. The winner, for the second year in a row, was the popular Blue Ox in Lynn, and I clearly need a re-visit since many people claim this to be the best burger in the area. All in all it was a fantastic night with great food and great friends and I can’t wait to come back again next year.
Me and Vegas Burger Blog, burger brothers for life..
Situated in Newtonville, the newish location of Rox Diner (the original being in West Roxbury) is all about breakfast all day, with a pretty burger-heavy menu for those folks not looking for French Toast for dinner. What really grabbed me right off the bat was the proclamation that they use LaFrieda beef; in this case a short rib and chuck blend. LaFrieda is of course one of the better, if not arguably the best beef you can get out there (Shake Shack for one uses their product as well as many of the top spots in NYC) so I was especially eager to try them out. Basic cheeseburgers begin at $12 and climb to $14.75 for a couple of the more involved, so there is something for everyone. continue reading »