Archive for the ‘Top 10 Boston Burgers’ Category
Location: Somerville, MA (See on Map)
The Foodie: Recommends
Dude – I had the craziest dream last night.
I was wandering through a corner of Somerville one Fall night and caught a glimpse of a restaurant through the fog. It had a sign with a steak knife, a fork, and a fireball.
I pushed through the doors and stepped inside.
There was a wood-fired grill (complete with adjustable cranks) powering the kitchen.
A familiar chef was inspecting the dishes as they made their way out to a floor of hungry Somervillains.
– It was Tony Maws. –
I wondered – what’s going on at Craigie on Main? Is the place burning down? Squid tentacles, pig’s heads, snouts and trotters flying everywhere?
It appeared Chef Maws had grabbed a few of those trotters out ‘da air and planted them in a few recipes the next town over.
There were a bunch of bizzaro versions of people I know sitting at the tables. I took a seat at one of them and grabbed a menu.
The FOOD list looked like this:
We ordered. There were seasonal baller mushrooms on the menu and a new burger variation. A flurry of plates started arriving from smiling servers in flannel shirts. A Left Hand Milk Stout from the tap arrived in front of me. Under the dim lights, we ate these things:
Three Large Sardines.
Rare to find in many restaurants, KT&T grilled up three lull fishies for me. They arrive incredibly moist and flavorful despite a light hand on the seasonings…
Roasted Root Veggies.
In my dreamy haze I thought that the Trotter was only a meat-lovers palace. Turns out that wood-fired grill does amazing things to vegetables. The root veggies we ordered were scantily dressed and delightful – just like the imaginary babe beside me.
Oh, and did we mention that our “mushroom guy” sent us some baller matsutake mushrooms today? Boom! A truly humbling and slightly spiritual experience took place as I savored the rare act of eating wood-fired fungi over a nutty pesto.
As if things couldn’t get better – a burger arrived. It was a simple enough affair from the outside – poppy bun, provolone, horseradish cream, and a few thin slices of tater on the side. But that patented meat-wizardry that Chef Maws brings to the kitchen was definitely present in every bite of this tender, well-constructed patty from heaven.
The meats kept rolling in – next we had a slab of pork belly, two types of sausage, and kraut along with a trio of house-made mustards.
There were cheers, beer spilling, laughs, and huzzahs all around as my REM-friends and I devoured our meal.
As with most dreams, in retrospect it moved quite quickly.
Next we move into one of those fast-frame camera shots where I speed-up and slow-down walking my way out of the restaurant (you know, that film effect that they used to show in every episode of cribs).
Fog clears. I awake.
Not sure if it was all real or not. But I will be adding a new burger to my Top 10. I’ve got a new joint where I’d love to call myself a reg’lar. I can smell the wood fire already.
Location: Cambridge, MA
The Foodie: Recommends
I’m loving the retro-burger movement.
There have been many valiant efforts in recent years to deliver the promise of the quick-service burger joint without the side effects of McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy’s, and the other usual suspects. You may be familiar with some of the following symptoms after past experiences with said perpetrators:
- Fast-Food Hangover
- Slothfulness and general malaise
- Muffin top
- Wicked and sinful thoughts
One of the best-known examples of the retro-burger movement is Shake Shack, which failed to really wow me based on sampling the goods sold at their new Chestnut Hill location.
Tasty Burger, however, definitely drilled a sustainable, high-quality, hormone-free, responsibly-sourced mouthful of retro-burger directly into my soul.
Walking out the door after eating my Tasty Burger, I felt like I had just wrapped-up a swell date spent making out with my steady girl three-years my junior at the drive-thru neighborhood burger-and-fountain-soda place in our small town of Plainville, Indiana.
Tasty Burger is a local burger joint with three locations in Harvard Square, Fenway, and Southie. The enterprise responsible for this grand establishment is the Franklin Restaurant Group, which runs both Citizen Public House and the Franklin Café – two other beloved local restaurants.
Tasty Burger features a selection of retro-burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs curiously called “shafts”, sides, shakes and draft beers. Burgers are made from a 1/3 lb. of certified all-natural beef derived from cows that were never, ever, ever fed growth-hormones or antibiotics.
The signature burger here is called the “Big Tasty” and consists of a classic beef patty, cheese, diced onions and pickles, tomato and ‘tasty sauce’ which is the standard mix of ketchup, mayo and secrets.
You can also choose from a wide variety of other burger variations such as the Spicy Jalapeno, BBQ Onion, Kahuna Burger (complete with pineapple, grilled red onion, and teriyaki), and, yes, Veggie and Turkey Burgers too.
What differentiates us here at Tasty Burger from the pack? Besides our delicious selection of burgers, sandwiches and snacks, we offer a full selection of dank beers on tap including Left Hand Milk Stout, Brooklyn Lager, Ommegang Belgian IPA, and Lagunitas IPA. We also may be the ONLY thing open in the greater Boston area until 4AM.
Come on down today, tonight, or tomorrow morning!
The Big Tasty burger sends forth a perfect mouth-feel that combines the following:
- Plentiful melty cheese
- Tender, juicy, well-seasoned thin-ish burger patty
- Salty kick of onion and pickle
- Flavorful punch of special sauce
- Cool massage of tomato and lettuce
- Soft caress of pillow-y seeded burger bun
HOME ECONOMICS SEMINAR:
One burger not enough? Try the Sack of 5 deal that will get you five hamburgers for $20 bucks.
Tuition costs got you down? Try the Starvin’ Student deal: one hamburger or cheeseburger, a can of beer, and fries for 10 bucks.
Tasty Burger is mighty good. I will be adding the Big Tasty to my Top 10 Burgers in Boston List (stay tuned for the latest rev. later this year).
Students, I hope you’ve enjoyed this pre-reading for the Fall semester. Long-live the retro-burger and wishing you much fun and success in the academic year ahead.
Location: Lynn, MA (See on Map)
The Foodie: Recommends
In the history of this blog, I’ve taken you far outside the city limits of Boston in pursuit of good food. We’ve flown out of Logan together multiple times – remember those hotdogs in Chicago, those lobster rolls in Portland, the ceviche in Lima? Remember our pastries and romance in Paris (hehe)?
Well today, my friends in wanderlust, I am magically sweeping you off your feet to…well, Lynn.
After winding our way up the majestic Route 1, we found ourselves in downtown Lynn and settled into our seats at the Blue Ox – today’s destination dining spot.
As you might imagine, this neighborhood spot in Lynn didn’t enter my food dar by way of Thrillist, Eater, or other local food bloggers even – it landed on my “To Try” list the old school way – through the word-of-mouth grapevine. Which is fitting given the fact that chef/owner Matt O’Neil got his culinary career started on Martha’s Vineyard before manning kitchen battle stations at No. 9 Park, The Butcher Shop, and Copia.
Together with his wife and chef de cuisine Guaracyara Pimenta (aka “G”), Matt has an immensely popular, unpretentious, and fun thing going on in Lynn.
Their menu is eclectic and melds together your favorite gastropub, Italian joint, and salty New England seafood spot down by the wharf.
For those solely interested in food pictures and a brief blurb on the dishes – The highlights of my eating experience here were as follows:
- Fried Maitland Mountain Farm Pickles, grilled lemon & thyme aioli, and aged balsamic. One of the best beer pairings I’ve ever tasted, delightfully juicy, well-spiced, and nicely fried. These picklers are actually based out of Salem, FYI. If you like the pickles, you can get them in a spicy martini here too.
- The Blue Ox Burgers. Seriously in the running for my Top 10 Burgers list of 2013, these are two quarter-pounder sliders stuffed with gorgonzola dolce, topped with applewood smoked pig strips, and slathered in lemon/thyme aioli. Served on a fluffy brioche bun with fries and another awesome MM F pickle. The best part about these burgers is that the gorgonzola basically explodes into your mouth as you bite hungrily into your slider. Seriously exciting. Delightfully unique.
- Lobster Tacos. Served in grilled tortilla with avocado, diced tomato, scallion, chipotle aioli, and lime.
Other stuff that caught my eye for the next time here:
- Spicy tuna tartare with cucumber, scallion, cilantro, chive cream, chili sauce and house-made chips
- Blue Ox clam chowder with bacon, Tabasco, chive
- The “Sin” burger with bacon, swiss, and truffle aioli
- Pan roasted cod with wild mushroom risotto and fennel arugula salad
In the end, similar to Paris, Lima, and Chicago – the Ox was well worth the journey. I’m beginning the think that I should continue expanding my local radius outside of Boston, Cambridge, and the ‘Ville to keep bringing you hidden gems outside the city proper.
Get ready – you might be hearing soon about places in Lowell, Framingham, Milford, and who knows where else?
Build meat burgers, and I will come.
Well, dear readers, not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been slowly amassing a list of burgers in the Boston area that I feel is worthy of publishing for your eating pleasure.
It’s nearly election day and in case you haven’t had enough wall-to-wall coverage of the political machine in action over the last few months, here’s another politically-themed piece of commentary for you.
But rather than insane hair styles we’ve got funky sauces and toppings…instead of mud we’re slinging house-made ketchup…we have burgers for everyman and burgers for the top 1%…rather than the usual pollster questions we’re asking “Are your burgers better now than they were four years ago?”
There really is an ideological divide in the way people think about burgers these days. Some like a flat patty, some go for the “haute burger” and refuse to spend less than $20 on their meat fix, others dream of something closer to the family barbeques of yesteryear.
So, in the world of beef patties as in the world of voters, the list is only as good as the person who writes it. Before you read on, here are the hot-button burger issues that helped these spots get voted onto this Top 10 list:
- A dedication to the fine art and science of creating a burger that is true to the roots of what a burger should be – down home comfort joy that is better than cuddling with a snuggie.
- If deviating from comfort food bliss, creating a twist and adding something unusual that makes your burger stand out from the rest
- Demonstrating a bias towards the fatter, ball-shaped burger over the painfully thin variety
- Using only the finest beef cooked by veritable grill meisters
- Being unafraid to really cook a burger RARE.
With all that prefacing behind us, here it is, your Top 10 Burger List after a long hard-fought campaign:
There is no burger on earth that tastes better than the Blackjack at RF’s. A Cajun-spiced burger with spicy Creole mayo, melty cheese, and all the standard toppings. After hundreds (nay thousands) of beef patties across several states and countries over the years, these guys remain at the top of my list.
Whereas RF’s is the king of the comfort burger, Craigie really does make the best haute-burger creation in Boston. It’s true. This mysterious burger that lurks only on the bar menu and frequently runs out of stock is packed with culinary wizardry yet still manages to stay true to what a burger really should be.
3. Radius [No Longer Available - Restaurant Closed as of 6.26.13]
In perhaps one of the most brilliant twists on the original I’ve ever seen, Radius slathers their burger in horseradish sauce and lightly fried onion strings. Decadent, inventive, and at $20 it is the real reason why Occupy was protesting right around the corner.
Another spot that cooks up amazing twists on the classic burger while staying true to burger 101. I like the Inferno and have heard much noise about the Hot Mess, a burger topped with Sweet potato fries, chopped pickles, jalapeños, bacon, red onion, shredded lettuce and thousand island dressing (just avoid going on a date afterwards).
5. JM Curley
This newish player in the burger game slings a very respectable comfort burger that is juicy as hell and served simply with Russian Dressing and pickles.
6. Lord Hobo
This g-pub in Cambridge cooks up an incredible, flavorful burger wearing Irish cheddar and sleeping between two peppered challah buns.
7. Green Street
Green Street makes the list as the only real thin-patty burger in this year’s election. But add the fact that it’s a double-decker topped with slaw, bacon, and Russian dressing and we’ve got ourselves a winner.
You still have room in your gut for a huge burger after three dozen oysters, right? One of the top local restaurants in the shellfish game pays homage to their namesake by topping their burger with two fried oysters. Bomb-dig.
Another mysterious hard-to-get-bar-menu-only burger that stole my heart away. Made with brisket and bone marrow, this thing is insanely rich but good to the last bite and worth pursuing with gusto.
10. The Gallows
This g-pub in the South End serves up a comfort “Our Way” burger that leans to the thin side but is a joy to eat and keeps with tradition.
Location: Boston, MA
The Foodie: Recommends
§ A Brief History of the Gastropub §
A portmanteau of the words gastronomy and pub, the term gastropub originated in the United Kingdom in the late 20th century.
Like when the first Cro-Magnons discovered fire by rubbing two stones together, two Londoners stumbled upon a concept that would forever change the human race when they found you could please Englishmen with the drunken munchies by rubbing a pub and a kitchen together.
According to culinary beer lover’s lore, the first gastropub was born in Clerkenwell, London with the revolutionary “Steak-over” of the Eagle Pub.
The concept quickly spread far and wide when restaurateurs and pub owners alike stumbled upon an equation that puts Einstein to shame:
Dressing up a bar + employing a real chef + good beer + putting manly food on a menu = Scrooge McDuck-like Riches
Because words and trends travel quickly across the anglo nations of the world, the gastropub movement hit the United States at the turn of the 2nd millennium.
Today, you can find a g-pub in nearly any American city worth their salted fish ‘n chips, including that ever-historic town where our forefathers first raised their middle fingers in unison to the British empire – Boston.
I suppose us grizzly, bearded New England patriots have come to a point of compassion and forgiveness with our better-mannered cousins across the pond, because the gastropub is the biggest food phenomenon to hit the Bean since clam chowder.
In what has seemed like an explosion, Boston has witnessed the opening of Citizen Public House, Meadhall, Foundry on Elm, Saloon, Stoddard’s, Russell House Tavern, Five Horses, Lord Hobo, JM Curley, Park, and the Tip Tap Room. As I pound out these words, there is likely another gastropub under construction.
Today we turn our attention to the Gallows – a SoWA (South of Washington) South End destination that is one of the pioneers of the g-pub trend in the area. These guys are among the group of restaurants getting it right…
When Urrg and Gruurg first found fire, their cro-colleagues must have banged rocks together without success. Modern man suffers from the same issue, and too often gastropubs end up hitting the beer side without paying enough attention to the quality of the eats.
Unfortunately, most Boston g-pubs (think Russell House, Foundry on Elm, Park, Saloon) end up being simply snazzy places to drink a craft beer along with a nibble or two rather than propelling the food to the forefront.
The Gallows definitely joins Citizen Public House, JM Curley, Stoddard’s and Lord Hobo by successfully copying a technique that will someday lead to the next iteration of human kind.
Gallows presents a chill, classy, dimly-lit setting in which to enjoy good food and beer. With a nice menu that features several meat-and-cheese-laden “boards” (we’ll cover the charcuterie trend in a separate post), a few versions of the Canadian Classic poutine, sandwiches, burgers, and slightly more dainty dishes like grilled octopus and ginger soy tofu – the Gallows has something for both beer-bellied gluttons and vegetarians (good thing beer is plant-based).
I specifically ventured here for one item and one item only – the Our Way burger. A simple affair that is cooked in the West Coast thin tradition and topped with cheddar, griddled onion and pickles, the Our Way burger is a commendable thing that should be tried by any burger enthusiast. In fact, I have named it to my closely scrutinized and ever-evolving Top Ten Burgers in Boston List. I was equally pleased by the Pretty Things IPA and Duvel I enjoyed on draft.
As mankind continues to bang pubs and kitchens together to form sparks of frothy pints, fried food, and griddled meat parts, let’s keep learning from our less coordinated cave dwellers and really whip up flames with some decent food coming out of the kitchen.
Location: Boston, MA
The Foodie: Recommends
The quest for the Top 10 Burgers in Boston continues – and JM Curley just made the list.
Curley, marked by a black top hat, is an approachable and understated bar/restaurant serving-up a limited but very well-executed menu.
Any unassuming Bostonian innocently walking in here for a post-desk-jockeying-bevvy will be simply blown away with the food. I mean – Curley really is a hidden gem that I imagine hasn’t been largely discovered outside the realm of us local dining geeks and food blog dweebs.
HERE’S WHY JM NEEDS TO BE ON YOUR RADAR:
The Burger. As unassuming as JM Curley itself, this thing is a simple affair hidden under a nice coating of melted cheddar cheese that features:
- Nice-sized thick baller quality beef patty
- Griddled onions
- Nice slather of russian dressing and pickles
- Sesame-seeded soft burger bun
But with the first bite you immediately notice something special. As if that melted coating of cheddar parted and said “Say hello to my lille fren”
- So tantalizing juicy the savory meat liquid will practically knock your face off.
- The Russian flair, soft bun, pickles and cheddar are a nice complement to the meat but do not overpower the true star in any way
- The Curley Kitchen pulls this baby off without the slightest hint of pretentiousness. They stay true to what a burger really is – a comforting cuddly hunk of joy that you tuck into with glee.
As if the burger wasn’t enough. Curley floored me again during the appetizer round with something I had never seen before – Cast Iron Cornbread. This dish comes out served in a little mini skillet and literally must be grabbed from the oven by the servers on their way to the floor. So amazingly soft and topped with melty butter, honey and black pepper. My head was spinning.
In other news, Curley presents a respectable beer menu and features regular specials including burgers (the night we ate there they were touting a lamb burger).
Curley was so full of surprises that they rocked my worldview, changed my religious orientation, and had me questioning the meaning of life by the time I wandered back out onto Temple Place bewildered.
Hats off to you Curley, hats off.
Location: Cambridge, MA
The Foodie: Strongly Recommends
I am a man who loves the down-home comfort of a well-made burger. When I spend any significant amount of time abroad, the one Amuurican dish I crave is a nice succulent meat patty. When I tuck into a good burger all sorts of pleasure zones light up in my brain, my entire body fills with warmth, and images of childhood cookouts flicker around me.
For the experience highlighted above, I keep coming back to places like R.F. O’Sullivans, but I definitely enjoy a higher-end gourmet burger as much as the next b-snob.
But a “haute” burger still needs to stay true to its roots as traditional comfort food. It still needs to bring me close to tears with childhood nostalgia and blanket me in a warm tingle.
Too often, an upscale joint will pack their burger so full of foie gras it becomes unrecognizable…or they’ll invent some crazy sauce that distracts from the experience, or they’ll serve it on a croissant or French toast or some wacky shit like that.
MY MESSAGE TO UPSCALE BURGER INVENTORS – DON’T GET TOO DISTRACTED BY POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE. STAY TRUE TO YOUR ROOTS. BE LIKE CRAIGIE.
I was initially lured by Boston Burger Blog’s bold claim that this was the best burger in Boston.
Finally, the elusive Craigie Burger came within range of my bite. And I loved it. Some C.B. Facts:
- Only served at the bar, bar tables, and for brunch. They are strict about this.
- Limited quantity – so come for an early dinner Tues-Thurs or hit Craigie for brunch
- It’s one of the most costly burger meals you’ll eat around – but worth twice what you spend.
- The burger is life changing – featuring small-farm cheddar, a perfect house-made bun, mace ketchup, and nicely salted steak fries
- The burger patty is reportedly loaded with every chef’s secret trick you could think of. I’d go into it more, but you’re better off just enjoying the burger in ignorant bliss.
- Pay a few bucks extra to add the house-smoked bacon. Totally worth it.
Craigie manages to deliver a luscious pimped-out posh burger – taking just the right amount of risk and creativity to make it their own while remaining true to what a burger really is: soul-warming, child-reducing, heart-pleasing goodness that encompasses all of humanity and inspires world peace.
[Radius Restaurant is Closed as of 6.26.13]
Location: Boston, MA
The Foodie: Recommends
In my last post I admitted a dirty habit of getting into flings with gourmet burgers. My brief 10-minute affair with the Radius Burger was about as amazing as these encounters get.
First of all, the interior of this restaurant really gets you in the mood for culinary love-making. Classy, modern, upscale, dimly-lit – and the service really is exceptional. All I needed was a little Barry White or Al Green to complete the experience…
- Thick, soft, nice buns, slightly toasted
- Mounds of lightly battered fried onion strings packed in on top
- Perfectly melted VT cheddar wrapping the burger in all its goodness
- A lovely, dense, incredibly juicy and well-cooked burger that is right on with flavor. The burger patty is thick and probably made from tenderloin it was so luscious.
- All of the above is caressed by the most amazingly light, creamy, horseradish sauce that really “makes” the burger and ties everything together.
I complemented my meal with a couple Duvels and loved every minute of the experience. A truly exceptional night of burger romance that will definitely have me coming back for more.
Could this fling turn into something more? Time will tell…
Location: Somerville, MA
The Foodie: Strongly Recommends
Like political views, sexual fantasies, and spiritual orientations, burgers are a personal thing.
They mean something different to each individual, and one’s definition of the “best” is often a matter of debate. So let me tell you what a truly amazing burger means to me, and why RFO is in the know.
Hell, I definitely get hot for specialty gourmet balls of prime beef that sell for up to $20 – throw some marrow in your burger, top it with a fried oyster, kick it up with some nice aioli or unique sauce, rock the double-patty with slaw, or top it with VT Cheddar – and I’m game.
But in the world of burgers, the gourmet funky fling is my mistress and the down-home quality comfort is my life partner.
For me – the truly transcendent burger is a simple thing. It is selfless, it is generous, it is kind. It is the Buggha. The all-knowing, reincarnate, most comforting comfort food that holds the power to soothe and ease and make anything warm.
What R.F. O’Sullivan’s has that none other has matched for me is the feeling. There is something about their towering, ball-shaped, high-quality burgers that makes them a little more juicy, a little better seasoned, a little more comforting than any other. That secret lies with O’Sullivan himself (if there is such a man).
Walk into O’Sullivans and peruse a menu that is clearly focused on the art of the burger. A whole single page of variations on the theme screams out to you while a separate page of special renditions strikes your fancy. My ultimate favorite order is the Blackjack (a very well seasoned patty topped with a spicy Creole mojo sauce, cheese, and the usuals) cooked medium-rare with onion rings on the side and a good pint of Guinness….
Essentially the meaning of life boiled down to a bun. And that’s why RFOS is my top of the top in the Boston area. Anyone who says differently – read another blog.
Location: Cambridge, MA
The Foodie: Recommends
A second date with Bergamot at the berga-bar yields one of the Top 10 burgers in Boston. After hearing rumors in trains and whispers in corridors and seeing messages passed between meat lovers – I knew it was time to sample the fabled Berga-Burger.
No joke – I actually had Bergamot’s bar menu (they only serve this piece of art at the bar) sitting on my night table for a few months – a regular reminder that a heavenly hunk of ground meat was waiting not far away.
We patiently waited at the bar while sipping from a few local brews as the kitchen griddled up our creations – IF YOU READ ANY PART OF THIS REVIEW CHECK BELOW:
The Bergamot Burger, or “Berga Burgah” as dubbed by Nick the Foodie, is a thinner (not ball-shaped) patty formed from brisket and bone marrow with melted Vermont cheddar, marinated red onion, and an outstanding ‘tomato-bacon aioli’ on a hearty milk bun. The juiciness and flavor of this burger astounded me – the marrow adding a richness and sense of comfort that married well with the aioli. A true masterpiece and one I’m proud to add to the ongoing and ever-evolving Top 10 Burgers in Boston List.