Location: Cambridge, MA
The Foodie: Recommends
Dutifully, I fulfill my role as a local burger forager – digging through menus and spelunking into restaurant dining rooms to report back on the state of the meat patty around Boston.
With the annual refresh of my Top 10 Burgers in Boston List fast approaching this Fall, I have been picking up the pace of discovery.
* Alden & Harlow has been at the forefront of my hunt for the area’s best burgers for a while now. *
So, follow me fellow foodies, as I put on my meat helmet, flip on my headlamp, and apply my beef gloves…
I’m going in.
- Sun Brunch…..10:30AM-2:30PM (until they run out)
- Sun – Wed…..5PM – 1AM (until they run out)
- Thu – Sat…..5PM – 2AM (until they run out)
TIPS ON ACCESS:
One has to be willing to organize their mealtime around the availability of Secret Burger if one wishes to eat Secret Burger. I have been told that only 3 dozen are prepared per night, and have been denied access on one occasion. Here are a few tips on getting some:
- Arrive right when they open for dinner – that means around 5PM or 5:30. They informed me over the phone that I would “definitely get the burger” arriving around that timeframe. You just need to be willing to hang with the early bird special crowd.
- Come to brunch – You are probably more likely to access the burger during a time when people are lured to breakfast-like things….or who said a burger couldn’t be for breakfast – particularly if you add a 60-degree egg on top.
VIEW FROM THE MENU:
SECRET BURGER* (limited availability)
Our 8oz House Creekstone Grind, Your Faith, House Made Roll – 15
A PEEK INSIDE:
NICK THE FOODIE’S BURGER NARRATIVE:
We live in a world where hamburgers are agonized over for years before hitting restaurant menus. The art of burger-making has become akin to hand-crafting a fine timepiece or weaving an Afghan carpet.
Alden & Harlow’s sandwich is no exception. Make no mistake – each component of the Secret Burger is agonizingly thought-through. Apparently, Scelfo and team tinkered with the burger grind for a year-and-a-half until they arrived at what goes into your mouth today.
Highlights of eating the Secret Burger:
- House-Made Bun: Hats off to whoever is responsible for creating these on a daily basis in the A&H kitchen. This is about as close to perfection as a burger bun can be. Soft yet sturdy, this bun is the perfect instrument through which to cradle the meat.
- Burger Patty: The most stand-out aspect of the meat patty is the signature smokiness that Alden & Harlow injects into it. I will not speculate further as to how they do it – but Chef Scelfo says it’s a closely guarded secret. The meat comes from Creekstone Farms which is a producer of Black Angus cattle that emphasizes humane treatment of the animals. I also respect the fact that the patty is minimally-seasoned to allow the beefy-ness to shine through as the main event of any burger. I was unsure of how I felt about the seasoning issue at first, but have come around to appreciate Alden’s perspective.
- The Sauce: A wonderful mixture that leans towards the thousand-island profile, the sauce incorporates things like ketchup, aioli, pecorino cheese, and anchovy. I like.
- The Cabot Cheese Tuile: Though inventive and flavorful in it’s own right, my personal preference is for melty cheese on my burger. Call me a purist…
This burger is true to its roots yet inventive in all the right ways. A pleasure to eat and an excellent addition to the Boston-area burger scene. A “must” for local burger enthusiasts, food writers/bloggers, and any carnivore. Yelpers – stay away and stick to reviewing your local shoe cobbler, gas station or McDonald’s.
Boston Magazine – “Anatomy of a secret burger”
Josh Ozersky – “More than lived up to its reputation”
Boston Burger Blog – “New favorite burger in town”
Top 10 Worthy? Yes