B Street (CLOSED)

March 7th, 2013 by Richard Chudy

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Right in the thick of Newton Center lies B Street, a quasi-upscale restaurant serving lunch and dinner during the week and brunch on the weekends. I’ve been a longtime nemesis of brunch, mostly because I’m a grump, and also because I’m supposed to pay how much for a pile of pancakes? But many restaurants are now serving my beloved burger on brunch menus, which is just enough enticement to get me out of my sweatpants and into the car on a Sunday morning. Startlingly priced at $16.50, the ‘Burger Benedict’ is a 10 oz. burger with bacon, lettuce, tomato, a fried egg and an Old Bay hollandaise. The side of roasted potatoes is also hit with Old Bay, and the burger and potato combination at least sounds appealing on paper. The goal with this burger is clearly a spin on the classic eggs benedict, right down to the English Muffin bun. continue reading »

Masa

February 3rd, 2012 by Richard Chudy

For all my talk about “everyone having a burger on their menu,” I still get charged up whenever I find one at an unsuspecting restaurant. Is it the thrill of discovering the next great burger that no one is talking about? I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t a factor, and after nestling into the bar at Masa for a quick snack before the next meal, I quickly spotted a burger on the menu and I couldn’t pass it up. Sounding different and exciting, it had all the makings of a substantial burger. Then again, much to my dismay, it turned into one of those “looks good on paper” burgers that are common and disappointing. The Masa Burger is topped with Monterey Jack Cheese and comes with smoked bacon, sliced avocado, pickled onions and Guajillo ketchup. Or so one would think.  continue reading »

Bergamot

November 7th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

I’m done with expectations, the next time I hear great things about a supposed great burger I’m going to ignore it. The problem with mostly eating burgers is that in the case of a higher end restaurant, the burger is a perfect barometer to judge any future meals at the same establishment. Fair or unfair, if they can’t properly cook a burger, what hopes do they have to cook any other dish? Served only at the bar, the Bergamot burger is rumored to be a beef blend consisting of marrow and brisket, but it was so salty and cooked so poorly I could have been eating a turkey burger. Ironically, we waited close to an hour for what was promised to be a very thin, medium cooked, and incredibly juicy burger. For such a slim patty, which should have taken mere moments to cook, the wait was far too long, but that’s what happens when you’re banished to the bar, our backs turned to the rest of the dining room. continue reading »

Catalyst

November 2nd, 2011 by Richard Chudy

I have no doubt William Kovel is a supremely talented chef, his food has been well received for years and he’s put his heart and soul into the opening of Catalyst. I’m confident his Chicken Liver Mousse is divine and the Roasted Cod is lovely, but the burger, at least on my visit, was far from adequate. Customer service is a huge factor in the restaurant world, of course the food is top priority, but great service should be a no-brainer. But far too often I can’t help but feel like it’s a complete afterthought; maybe if I was twenty years older and dressed in a suit perhaps I’d get the respect I deserve. I hate the ageism, it has no place and this was evident from the cold and silent greeting we received upon arrival, the snobby bartender who was disappointed that his attempts to up-sell were denied, and the hostess who refused to wish us a good night as we vacated. And it wasn’t even a busy night at the restaurant, aside from one or two large groups it was mostly empty as we dined at the bar. Curious that the bartender felt the need to only suggest the most expensive items on the menu to us, and the faux-wisdom presented to us as he explained such pedestrian menu items to us such as the shape of a pasta or the type of cheese used in another dish. Does this happen to all patrons or just the “younger” crowd? I know what Taleggio cheese is and just because of my age (31, for the record) or the size of my wallet, I shouldn’t be spoken to like a nine year old. I doubt this happens to the 50-year old suit with deeper pockets. continue reading »

The Sunset Grill

October 18th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

Much loved by unsuspecting co-eds, much loathed by everyone else, The Sunset Grill boasts one of the most extensive beer lists anywhere in Boston, while serving some of the most mediocre food in town. It’s hell on earth with a good beer selection. I suppose most people don’t come here to eat, and it’s hard to argue with the overwhelming options of imbibery. The burgers are steamed in beer, self-described as “famous” to “preserve its optimal flavor and juices.” But if you start with mundane ground sirloin you’re probably going to end up with mundane sirloin, no matter how much beer you steam it in. Luckily, the burgers are relatively cheap; $6 will get you a hamburger, but why stop there, most add-on’s are around $1, and the fries come a la carte for another $2. Still in the under $10 category, although I’m not so sure that makes much of a difference here.  continue reading »

The Brickyard

June 28th, 2011 by Richard Chudy

Anything not in or around Boston usually has a tough time gaining recognition. Those poor suburbs never stand a chance in the food world, what’s great for us city dwellers may not be so great on the “other side.” But good food shouldn’t know any boundaries, I was hopeful Woburn could end up being a great burger destination, but in the end, The Brickyard comes up short. The menu is built around pizzas and burgers, what’s not to like? But the burgers have that chain restaurant-vibe. Redundant flavor combinations and the usual tricks, but not much flavor. The Brickyard Stuffed burger comes with bacon and cheese in the middle of the patty, or so they say. Most of the “stuffing” sits atop the burger, with nary a bit or two of bacon and just a touch of American cheese gushing out of the over-cooked burger. Theoretically stuffing a burger is a nice idea, but it just doesn’t work here.

Again, it’s about cooking things properly, I’m looking for seasoning and technique, always. If there had been enough flavor on these ground chuck burgers to compensate for a few technical errors all would be forgiven. But the burger has no crust, with minimal seasoning and certainly not a lot of personality. The burger is smushed between my old nemesis, brioche. Don’t let the buttery and shiny bun fool you, it really only makes sense in one out of every ten burgers, and this is not one of them. The fries are amazingly forgettable, I can almost guarantee deriving from the freezer, and lacking any seasoning whatsoever. The Brickyard tries to promise a unique and special burger experience, but with a good portion of the bacon raw and the burger way over-cooked, it makes a special trip outside of the city a big disappointment, especially when the next great burger is at steak.

Overall Score: 62