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Rhett's, new burger joint at BU

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tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 08:05 AM

A new greasy spoon type burger joint, in the vain of Flat Patties and UBurger, has opened up in the BU student union food court. It's called Rhett's, and I believe it is an original, not a franchise chain.

My first though is that this is a HUGE blow to Uburger, as Rhett's offers almost the exact same type of menu, plus all conceivable ice cream options. However, its ability to challenge Uburger would, of course, depend on being as good as Uburger (not that that would be any monumental feat).

I had a burger there yesterday, but did not get a chance to try the fries...which of course will be a big deal. First observation, Rhett's and UBurger TASTE completely different. Rhett's burgers are grilled, not griddled like UBurger, and one cannot underestimate the effect that simple change has on taste. While UBurger has that greasy, flavor-bomb-esque fast food taste, Rhett's taste more like a backyard fourth of july burger. Frankly, I vastly prefer the griddle to the grill: I think that an open flame is a horrible thing to subject a burger to, when one could opt instead to have it happily sputter in its own juicy goodness. And, sure enough, Rhett's do seem a bit...dryer than Uburger, even given the fact that the burger seems to be a bit more pink inside. So, score one for the griddle, I'm going to give the nod to UBurger here.

Of coures, folks, like UBurger, you cannot have you burger cooked to a specified temperature, which I still think is a crock, but apparently I'm in the minority, so c'est la vie.

The cheeseburger I had was topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and a sauce that appeared to be EXACTLY the same as Uburger's spread. The bun was a bit bigger than Uburgers, which threw off the ratio a bit for me. Size of the two burgers was very comparable...I think about 1/4 pound.

I think in the end it will come down to personal preference. Both places make a decent, not great or even really good, burger. If you prefer the greasy-griddled taste of In 'n Out or Flat Patties, like I do, you'll probably stick with UBurger. If you like a backyard open flame grilled taste (think Flamers), then you might prefer Rhett's.

However, since almost nobody but BU students eat in the Union, I doubt most hounds will care. :-)

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  1. hiddenboston RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 08:38 AM

    Burgers? Oh, I care. ;-b What are their hours? Are they open to the public at all times?

    1. b
      Boston Scene RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 09:26 AM

      I would stay out of BU's student union. Or maybe I'm just bitter because I was forced to eat there or one of the dining halls for 4 years. Either way the only good thing about the student union center is Jamba Juice. Sometimes I even consider braving the B line to grab one, but alas I never build up the courage or the patience to do so. Do yourself a favor go to UBurger, its very comparable to In n' Out for all you West Coasters, but real meat, or so they claim. I've had it numerous times and have never been disapointed!! Go UBurger!

      8 Replies
      1. re: Boston Scene
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        tamerlanenj RE: Boston Scene Oct 31, 2007 09:31 AM

        I sympathize with you about the GSU, but Rhett's is by far the best thing that EVER has appeared there. It's, like, a real place, and the prices must be subsidized, because it is a much better deal than the rest of the places ($4.00 for an 8 ounce soup?)

        1. re: Boston Scene
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          lergnom RE: Boston Scene Oct 31, 2007 10:06 AM

          Aesop's Bagels is very good.

          1. re: Boston Scene
            t
            tamerlanenj RE: Boston Scene Oct 31, 2007 10:49 AM

            U Burger is about as comparable to In 'n Out as Boston House of Pizza is comparable to DiFara. Please.

            1. re: tamerlanenj
              hiddenboston RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 11:28 AM

              Actually, I was slightly disappointed by the pizza at Di Fara, but I'm sure it's still a million times better than Boston House!

              So I'm thinking that I should try Rhett's, Grille Zone, and Flippin' Burgers before U Burger?

              1. re: hiddenboston
                BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: hiddenboston Oct 31, 2007 11:36 AM

                You certainly need to try Grille Zone, ASAP. Definitely the new rising star of Boston burgers. What's Flippin' Burgers?

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                  hiddenboston RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Oct 31, 2007 12:51 PM

                  Flippin' Burgers is a fairly new burger joint in Newton Centre. Someone told me the place was great, but I haven't been there yet.

                  1. re: hiddenboston
                    b
                    bakerboyz RE: hiddenboston Oct 31, 2007 01:21 PM

                    I tried once, burger was good not great (I like Grille Zone better) and really disappointed with their fries which were frozen variety.

                2. re: hiddenboston
                  t
                  tamerlanenj RE: hiddenboston Oct 31, 2007 04:33 PM

                  I think UBurger is a bit better than Rhett's but they are comparable. As I said above, it depends on whether you prefer flame grilled or greeezy griddled. I'm a grease man myself.

            2. BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 10:34 AM

              This brings up a point I've been meaning to ask: where IS the BU student union? Here I've been living in Allston for over five years -- married to a former BU art history major! -- and I've never known where the thing is. Besides always being interested in a decent burger, I occasionally get intense cravings for the sort of smoothies that Jamba Juice does, which are surprisingly thin on the ground here. (They were a regular lunch of mine in my Albuquerque days, supplied by a local chain called Keva Juice.) It would be a handy addition to the list of things in walking distance.

              Speaking of Uburger: went there after the Sox parade, in the midst of an aggravating trip home. More recent comparison eats confirms my thought that this place has slipped to third behind Flat Patties and Grille Zone, but it was still an entirely tasty burger (very comparable to In N Out? er...no) and the black and white frappe absolutely hit the spot.

              12 Replies
              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                t
                tamerlanenj RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Oct 31, 2007 10:50 AM

                The BU student union is next to Mugar Library. It's called the George Sherman Union. It is mostly a terrible chow spot, with a Panda Express, a crappy Panera knock off sandwich place, a soup place, and a lousy burrito place. EVERYTHING is overpriced, and aimed at a lowest common denominator type crowd. However, I think Rhett's is an exception...it FEELS like a real burger joint.

                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                  Allstonian RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Oct 31, 2007 10:53 AM

                  You should have asked me! It's on Comm. Ave., the first main campus building you pass on the left once you've crossed the BU Bridge and that little parking lot. I didn't know it was open to the public myself.

                  1. re: Allstonian
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                    tamerlanenj RE: Allstonian Oct 31, 2007 10:55 AM

                    Of course it's open to the public. They're privately owned restaurants. You think they want to restrict their customer base?

                    1. re: tamerlanenj
                      Allstonian RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 10:58 AM

                      No need to be rude about it. The student commons in the basement of Memorial Hall at Harvard is NOT open to the public, for example, and back in my day (long before student dining halls became food courts filled with national chains) neither was the one in the GSU.

                      1. re: Allstonian
                        Bob MacAdoo RE: Allstonian Oct 31, 2007 12:34 PM

                        Allstonian, that just TJ's way.

                        Bottom line, the burger scene just keeps getting more interesting. Bully for us!

                      2. re: tamerlanenj
                        BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 11:00 AM

                        It's not unheard of. You couldn't get into the food court at my alma mater's student union -- which was also privately owned fast food franchises and the like -- without having flashed a school ID. Also, no need to be snappish at my wife, dude.

                        1. re: tamerlanenj
                          hiddenboston RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 11:26 AM

                          Do you know what the hours are at Rhett's?

                          1. re: tamerlanenj
                            l
                            lergnom RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 02:12 PM

                            To be clear, not all the restaurants are "private"; some are run by BU food services and through, I think, Aramark. Others are franchises. The burger place replaced D'Angelo's, which had lost popularity.

                            The prices are the same as anywhere else. BU students can use their dining points from their meal plans there.

                            There's also now an Einstein Bagels in the lower level of the management school (SMG).

                        2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                          Bob MacAdoo RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Oct 31, 2007 12:40 PM

                          What did you get BFP? After a couple of U Burger-free months, I made a pit stop Sat. nite for some pre-Game 3 fuel before hitting a local watering hole to catch the game.

                          Naturally, I ordered off the Red Sox menu (how could I not?). The 'Grand Slam' was a smash hit thanks to delectable grilled onions and mushrooms atop the burger (it also had bacon and cheddar - yum).

                          The kicker was the fries, which somehow were even better than I remembered.

                          Cosnidering that at 7:45 p.m., the scene was a mad-house, I could not beleive how fresh and hot the fries were.

                          1. re: Bob MacAdoo
                            BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: Bob MacAdoo Oct 31, 2007 12:52 PM

                            My usual: straight cheeseburger with everything, mustard instead of the house spread, order of fries doused with malt vinegar and salt.

                            Given how insane it was all around (this was like 2 in the afternoon yesterday, as the crowd on the lower end of the parade route had dispersed), I was surprised that Uburger was only half-insane: I was able to grab one of the last two indoor tables, and I didn't have anyone hovering waiting for me to finish. I think most of the crowd were getting theirs to go, given that it was a nicer than advertised day out.

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                              Bob MacAdoo RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Oct 31, 2007 01:03 PM

                              I usually go for the straight cheeseburger with the house spread with everything. Can't go wrong with that.

                              It must have been interesting to catch the parade on that part of the route. I have not been to a sports parade since the '86 Celts. Provided the crowd is well behaved in your locale, it's a whole lot of fun.

                              1. re: Bob MacAdoo
                                BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: Bob MacAdoo Oct 31, 2007 01:22 PM

                                Actually, Allstonian and I met on Copley Square to watch the parade from there...although it was so mobbed and I was running so late that although we were standing literally about six feet from each other as the flatbeds were going by, we couldn't see each other!

                                I ended up eating at Uburger simply because there was no way I could have gotten into anyplace else closer to where I had been, and I found myself right outside when the train I was on suddenly went out of service at Kenmore. Had I thought about it, I probably would have continued up the street to Grille Zone, but I was pretty seriously frazzled by then and just thought "Right, I'll get something to eat and THEN try to catch a 57 bus to Harvard Ave!" Although to be fair, the food was good enough (I'm still thinking very fondly of that frappe) and the vibe was convivial enough that I relaxed considerably while I was in there, and that's really all I can ask of a restaurant.

                        3. t
                          tamerlanenj RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 04:31 PM

                          Having had Rhett's twice now, I can definitely say that UBurger is better...and since I think UBurger is pretty medicocre, that says a lot. Fairly dry patty, though some will definitely appreciate its home-grilled taste. The fries do look good, but I haven't tasted them yet. Its still ten times better than anything else in the GSU.

                          1. t
                            tamerlanenj RE: tamerlanenj Oct 31, 2007 04:35 PM

                            Comm Ave. from Babcock St. to Kenmore makes for a nice little burger corridor now with Grille Zone, Rhett's, and UBurger. A nice thing, when you consider that Boston had almost no Burger culture beyond Bartley's and the pub style burger a few years ago.

                            1. s
                              shraquel RE: tamerlanenj Dec 12, 2007 03:09 PM

                              Rhett's is really bad. I have eaten there a couple of times and had the burger and the turkey burger and there is nothing there beyond lackluster college cafeteria fare. That being said, the ice cream is very good. But it is no better than just buying Ben and Jerry's or any other super-premium store ice cream. It seems that the BU dining services people were just trying to capitalize on the popularity of Grille Zone and Uburger. Definitely not a place for a hound to bother with.

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