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Sep 19, 2010 06:50 AM

Radius Burger/Lounge Review

I'm a huge burger aficionado, and I think I may have finally found the Holy Grail of burgers (this after having eaten the "best" in Chicago, LA, DC, and NYC). I know people are going to vary in taste, and most won't share quite the same enthusiasm for a burger from Boston of all places, but I just had to give Radius an excellent review for the experience of burger nirvana.

Photos at:

You might be wondering, what is it that exactly sets the Radius Burger apart? Well, there’s not really one identifiable factor, as Radius nails everything, beginning with, to my very pleasant surprise, the ambience. It’s classy enough for you to have a 7-course meal in it (and they do offer one), while casual enough for you to go in there with jeans and a t-shirt for a drink and a burger. In that sense, it’s just the right blend of elegant/formal and layback/casual, with really nice loungy couches and chairs on one side and simply decorated, spacious tables on the other.

Regardless, it’s quite the intimate experience, as the restaurant is dimly lit, but in a very unique way. Red lights reflect across the top in a semi-circle (hence, going with the idea of radius/circle), chic spherical lamps hang from the top of the bar area, and small candles shimmer on the classier dining room tables. Overall, Radius exudes an extraordinary vibe, fantastic for a date.

Does that really justify $19 for a burger, though, especially one that comes with few gourmet ingredients? The burger is a behemoth, coming loaded with Vermont cheddar, a landslide of horseradish cream, and a mountain of fried onion strings, as well as a tray of fries on the side. That may not sound like it would cost all that much to produce, so $19 is definitely on the pricey side.

It doesn’t matter, though, because the burger is sheer perfection. The meat is not just cooked perfectly, but it is succulent as can be. The onions give some great oil and a phenomenal crunch in every bite. The buns never give out in any way. Best of all, though, the sauce leaves you with a complex symphony of flavors, like a yogurt mixed with pepper, spice, and some tang. As long as I can remember, I’ve hated anything with horseradish. Yet, this burger uses it so subtly, giving the cream such a light touch of that tangy spiciness, that it has single-handedly forced me to reconsider my whole stance on horseradish. Nothing short of perfection could cause me to do that.

So now I return to the question of value. Perfection has a price. Factor in the extraordinary decor, and you’ve got somewhat of a steal.

There’s really nothing left to say. Radius delivers not just one of the hottest scenes in the city, it even produces a burger that is perfect, no questions asked. Everyone needs to try this burger at least once.

8 High St, Boston, MA 02129

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  1. I agree Buster. Radius is not that popular here and I suspect a lot of hounds never get past that with regard to actually trying the Radius burger. It is my favorite, and in particular far surpasses that at Craigie St. and Neptune, two much better restaurants over-all.

    The bartenders at Radius are decent as well. One could do far worse than walking in off the street, taking a seat at the bar, having a martini followed by that burger. Just ignore all the expense account and special occasion diners in the dining room.

    As for the horseradish sauce, it began a phase for me where I find every excuse to eat it with beef, they are such a natural combination.

    1. That's a very slick blog, Edmund. I'm curious, since your reviews on The Food Buster cover a lot of ground: wines, chocolate, restaurants in DC. Are you an amateur, or are you being compensated in any way by the vendors and restaurants you review?

      2 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Nope. I'm just an average law student, paying out of my own pocket, which is why I typically try only the specialties. I traveled the world awhile back, and in every country I picked up a new food obsession. Hence, the chocolates (Germany, Spain, Argentina), wine (South America), and the extensive reviews of the South American dining scene.

        Plus, honestly, I don't know if I'm the "critic" type. I like to think like an average consumer, looking at the value too much. For me, it's about whether I'm getting a good deal, not whether a $50 meal beats out a $10 one.

        What about yourself? I just checked out your blog and noticed the in-depth reviews--a lot more professionalism than I typically see in blogs.

        1. re: The Food Buster

          Glad to hear it: too many food bloggers are effectively doing PR work on behalf of the industry without disclosing their ties.

          Thanks for the kind words, though clearly my blog looks like a Tinkertoy thing next to yours. The blog content is amateur, the links are to my professional reviews for several local publications and one or two national ones.

      2. Maybe it's on your blog, but perhaps you can post here what other bugers (including the "best" in Chicago, LA, DC and NYC, as well as in Boston) that are high on your list, and perhaps those that are well regarded by others but not by you.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Blumie

          I haven't really gotten around to posting the ones in NYC and Chicago yet, but a brief rundown of my faves in each city:

          LA: Pie n'Burger for the Classic Diner Burger; Counter for a gourmet burger
          Chicago: Hot Chocolate's. Nothing else from the 5 or so I tried struck me as great.
          NYC: Shake Shack for Fast Food; Stand for a burger milkshake combo (best milkshake ever!)
          DC: Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington (probably the best value of any burger I've ever eaten).

          I'd go into more detail, but it seems like the wrong topic for that.

        2. so, uhh, any comments on the burger?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Carty

            I'll repeat what I've said a few times here about the Radius burger: very good, but not my favorite among the circa-$20 burgers in town. Good individual components, but it didn't add up for me. And the brioche bun is a cardinal sin against burgers, in my book. Good fries, though.


          2. I was not at all impressed by the burger and have permanently removed Radius from my list.