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Oct 29, 2010 12:39 PM

Best Burger and Fries combination in the Back Bay

We're new to the Back Bay and I craving burgers and fries. We were happy with SDLT's burger but want to try something new but don't want to walk far tonight. Any suggestions???

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  1. The Back Bay Social Club's burger is great, though very pricey. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can get dirt-cheap greasy burgers at the Pour House. The true cost in on your health--napping afterwards is normally required.

    Pour House
    907 Boylston St Ste 21, Boston, MA 02115

    10 Replies
    1. re: redelephant

      i like the burgers at bukowskis and at Rattlesnake.

      1. re: teezeetoo

        Bukowski's is horrid. Eastern Standard is solid.

        Eastern Standard
        528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

        1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      2. re: redelephant

        I did NOT like the BBSC burger. It was not... burgerish. It was very nice steak ground, overly formed and manipulated into a burger. Texture was just wrong, beefiness was very good, but would have been WAY better with just good old ground chuck.

        1. re: StriperGuy

          sort of agree, tastes like steak, not a burger, and you can't convince me there isn't a huge difference. delicious of course, but is it even a burger anymore?

          1. re: rchudy

            You seemed happy with it on Where would you go in the area for a great (price no object) burger?
            and how are their fries?

            1. re: justbeingpolite

              I was happy with it, it's a delicious "burger," but probably tastes more steak-like than burger, if that makes sense. Fries were good, but it was the last of the three burgers of the day and I was stuffed. I'll have to go back when the camera isn't rolling and the chef and PR girl aren't kissing my ass, then we'll see how it really is.

              1. re: rchudy

                I was mostly kidding. I'll kiss your ass, too, and tell you it was one of the better clips I've seen on
                Thanks for the clarification. Thinking I've got to try that burger at least once, but of the expensive burgers, should I have BBSC, COM, Toro, Towne or one of the Steakhouses' ?

                1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                1. re: justbeingpolite

                  heh. I kind of felt like an idiot, maybe I just hate watching and listening to myself being filmed, but who doesn't. The Toro burger certainly isn't expensive, only $8 but with no fries. COM will always have a special place at the top for me, haven't been to Towne yet.

                  1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                  1. re: rchudy

                    I caved and had the BBSC burger. Delicious. A little dense and "steaky", but definitely a burger and very good. Not sure I'm crazy about caramelized onions on my burger. The fries were thin and well seasoned. A few crispier fries were perfect, but most were just a little soggy. I'm sure some batches are fabulous. Now I'll have to hit Toro and COM. I'd had the Miracle of Science burger a few days earlier. A nice burger, and I think I preferred their softer, chewier bun, but really unfair to compare the burgers.

                    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                2. re: rchudy

                  Thank goodness ass-kissing area chefs and local food-PR gals would never be among the participants in the Boston Chowhound community. Phew!

                  * * *
                  In my opinion, the Back Bay Social Club burger tastes better overall than the Towne version (now that I've tried it). I like the flavor of the beef better, and the leanness of the bun.

                  I'm also not wholly convinced by the argument being made here that all burgers should have a patty with a loose texture. To me, it's like saying all cakes should have an airy crumb. Different styles of cake—génoise, pound, yellow, sponge, angel food...—yet they're all cake. Personal preference, no?

                  Calling a burger "not burgerish" seems a little dogmatic, not to mention oddly tautological. In my book, ground meat shaped into a patty, then grilled or griddled and put between two halves of a bun = the definition of a burger. Within those defining parameters, a chef is free to play around with details.

        2. Division 16! Oh, it is closed? You mean to tell me they show "Pretty in Pink" in the TCM channel? Then, a moment of silence for what was the best burger in the universe.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Uncle Yabai

            I remember that Division 16 burger fondly, too. But the place suffered a long, slow decline, and nothing in that space since has had food that's any good.

            The one I miss is the Tim's Tavern burger. I remember dragging a bunch of young people from our office nearby, and seeing their skepticism at the shabbiness of the place. They were quick converts, ended up making a weekly pilgrimage right up to the time it closed. Coda, its successor, actually does an excellent burger, and the fries are pretty good, though I'm not sold on that black-pepper brioche roll.

            The bar at Brasserie Jo has a nice little slider plate, and the restaurant serves a good traditional burger at lunch, both notable for having some of the best frites in town.

            I hate to flog any Back Bay Restaurant Group restaurant, but Charley's on Newbury does a pretty fair burger, though I recommend not letting them put that pile of skinny onion strings on the burger itself. It's too bad that Newbury Street Capital Grill doesn't do lunch; their other outlets do a good luxury-steakhouse burger at lunch only. The sliders served at the bar at Morton's are a good deal, three for $7, made with prime beef. I've given up on Abe & Louie's, which can't seem to properly cook a medium-rare burger.

            Poe's Kitchen at the Rattlesnake does a kind of budget take ($18) on one of those Boulud-type luxury burgers: American Wagyu topped with with lobster, foie gras, black truffles, house-cured whiskey bacon, avocado, and Irish porter cheese on brioche. But it's one of his dishes where the ambition trumps the execution: it's just not very good. His simpler burgers are better, and a better deal.


            1. re: MC Slim JB

              Back Bay Social Club's is my favorite burger in the city right now. I haven't tried Towne's, but a few friends swear by it. I do love the one at the Back Bay SDLT.

              1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                I have said this before and I'll say it again..the burger at Joe's American Bar & Grill is excellent. (They have a location on Newbury Street.) Good fries too. I found the burger at Abe & Louie's to be pretty much identical (not surprising as they are both a part of the Back Bay Restaurant Group.) So my guess is the Charley's burger is the same too. So really, three spots where you can get decent burger & fries in Back Bay.
                Also, FWIW, I did not have a problem getting a medium rare burger at Abe & Louie's the one time I went there --granted, only one time, so perhaps my experience was the exception.
                Regardless, I think all three of these spots are good bets. Even though they are all likely the same burger, I think the one at Joe's is probably the cheapest --maybe $11? Charley's is probably similar in price, Abe & Louie's a bit more but you're just paying a little extra for the atmosphere, i think.

                And yes, I also miss the old Tim's burgers. Definitely a class by itself....

                Abe & Louie's
                793 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

                1. re: twentyoystahs

                  I've never had an overcooked burger at A&L either. And they have some addictive sweet potato fries.

                  Charley's is actually the least expensive of those BBRG places. It's burgercomes in at just under $10.

                  1. re: BBHound

                    I must have the worst luck in the world at A&L: three burgers ordered medium rare (all at lunchtime), three burgers delivered well done. The third one was the "never again" moment.


                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Have you had similar experiences at Charley's or Joe's?

                      1. re: BBHound

                        Been a long time since I've been back to either. The BBRG restaurants just kind of bum me out in general: can't escape that casual-dining-chain feel.


                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          >can't escape that casual-dining-chain feel.

                          ..because when you eat a burger, you want it to feel special? ;-)

                          1. re: LStaff

                            The emphasis there is on "chain". There's a, how do I put it?, a factory quality to the group's restaurants that bugs me.


              2. re: MC Slim JB

                The Palm serves a luxury steakhouse burger for lunch. I've only had it once, and it was overcooked, but it may be worth another try.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  OMG. Haven't thought about Tim's Tavern in years, probably because every time I do I want to cry that it's gone. I am not a diehard gotta have it burger fan, but I think of those burgers and weep. Loved that place.

              3. We ended up going to Cafeteria. I think it was pretty solid, and perfectly cooked medium rare. The drinks there are also fantastic. After leaving there we heard from some people that they just had the burger at the new Met and it was great.

                As far as the BBSC goes...I just can't fathom paying over $20 for a burger of any caliber. I must draw the line somewhere.

                Still in serach of the perfect burger/fry combination....

                1. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Since I originally posted this thread I have tried the $18 burger at the new MET in the BB and I was very disappointed. It was extremely charred on the outside, overcooked and had no flavor. The bacon was burnt on the burger and they really skimped on the onions. The duck fat "fries", which were more like wedges were not seasoned at all. Pretty sad for $18

                  2. Just the other day I had a great burger at Post 390 (did not get the fries). The meat was really flavorful and the bun was toasted with butter. $15, but I looked at it as a cheap dinner.

                    Post 390
                    406 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pemma

                      thought it was totally boring and mediocre, especially for $15. Fries tasted hard like they had been sitting out for hours.