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Boston's best burger?

I'm going to be in the Boston area very soon for business and some pleasure.

The critical thing at the top of my list, even before lining up a comfortable hotel room, corralling friends, sightseeing, shopping, and etc, is getting a good burger.

And by good I mean, TREMENDOUSLY good.

Where is the BEST burger I can find? Money isn't necessarily a consideration, but I don't want to pay $30 for some frou-frou abomination of the good grease-and-cheesy. I need quality, I need my tastebuds to wilt in ecstacy, I need my arteries to raise the white flag in perfect surrender.

Whereabouts would I find some of your prime beef product?

Any help is greatly appreciated.

 
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  1. Where are you staying? Where are you coming from and what burgers do you like there? Context always helps. The link below should provide you plenty of info to start.

    http://www.chow.com/search?query=burg...

    10 Replies
    1. re: Gabatta

      So many strong opinions on this topic, myself included.
      For me you can't go wrong with:
      Craigie on Main
      Toro
      Harvest
      Flat Patties
      Radius
      Eastern Standard
      and on and on..
      www.bostonburgerblog.com

      -----
      Eastern Standard
      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

      Toro
      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

      Flat Patties
      81 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138

      Craigie on Main
      853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

      1. re: rchudy

        This is a great list. Can't go wrong with any of these. I love the Craigie burger for the burger itself and its beefy flavor. I like Radius for the burger as well as the flavors that go along with it (crispy onions, aged cheddar, horseradish mayo). Finally, I like Toro's burger (midweek lunch only) for the flavors that accompany it when its ordered messy (aioli with cotija cheese and espelette powder slopped on top). Sel De La Terre makes a pretty awesome burger too.

        Overall, if you want a fancy meat-centric burger go to Craigie. If you want a fancy burger with great flavors, go to Radius. If you want a ton of flavor on a less impressive burger, go with Toro (also only 8 bucks).

        -----
        Toro
        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

        Sel De La Terre
        776 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

        1. re: rchudy

          Nice work on the radio today! You were particularly diplomatic when discussing burgers that are "not for you".

          1. re: yumyum

            thanks! I was doing my best...but they kept asking about places I hate!

            1. re: rchudy

              It must be hard to only like 10 or so burgers in Boston.

              1. re: ponyboy

                I don't agree that I only like ten. I can run-off at least 20 or so I would recommend. Maybe more of a reflection of Boston burgers and less about my snobbiness.

                1. re: rchudy

                  I don't get that sentence construction. Do you like most burgers everywhere else? Again and again we hate on our city on this board. It makes visiting here such a bummer.

                  1. re: robwat36

                    I'm not hating, if anything I'm defending our city. I think there are plenty of worthy burgers here, it that bums you out it shouldn't.

                    1. re: robwat36

                      I don't get your sentence construction. Do you live here or are you visiting? In any case I don't agree that rchudy hates on our city, but rather loves burgers and seeks the best among the many available options.

                      To the topic, I finally had the Radius burger tonight and I can cross it off my bucket list. In future I'll be drawn to Radius not for the burger but rather for dessert and sherry which I know is fantastic. The burger was fine, at first I was really into it, but after a few enthusiastic bites it was a burger topped with crispy onion strings and horsey sauce. Good, but fortunately I won't be craving it as it's available just a few dangerously short blocks away. Sel de la Terre at Long Wharf is, to me, still more interesting for its smokey and spicy flavor contrast, and fine burger texture. I look forward to trying the many other burgers on the list.

                      -----
                      Sel de la Terre
                      774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

                      1. re: Niblet

                        Rats! I've been dying to try that Radius burger and now it sounds like I'm the last one in the pool! I will admit it's only to cross it off my bucket list too and it doesn't sound like I should burn rubber to get over there.

                        I actually had a yummy burger at Tavern on the Square in Porter watching the Celtics this week, and a piss-poor one at Gargoyles last week. So it goes to show you, you never know where your next great burger will come from!

        2. Make sure you read through rchudy's blog ( linked in his post, above)with his archived reviews of all places burger in boston. Very well written and informative.

          1 Reply
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            you are being way too kind. when are we meeting up for a burger?

          2. My absolute favorite is Craigie, with the caveat that tomatoes are in season.

            My general day-to-day favorite is Russell House Tavern. IMO it ranks right up there with many of the other notables, but it comes with a big hunk o' fries and only costs $11.

            -----
            Russell House Tavern
            14 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

            1. I think this is one of those frequently asked questions that merits a clarification now and in the future:

              There are two basic American types of burgers, with many variations thereof, and it matters which you think is better:

              1. Thick, rounded patty (more classic in the East) - this is a burger that is often best served medium rare and can therefore be made with somewhat leaner mixes of beef (and therefore quality can vary a lot more)
              2. Flat patty (more classic in the West) - this is a burger that is by design is cooked more or less through but is usually made with fattier cuts of beef so it's still juicy anyway.

              A lot of burger wars are conducted unnecessarily between fans of either camp - what's more important are the quality variations *within* each type, if you've got a decided preference between them.

              For example, I grew up with the first type, and only settle for medium rare in that type, but have learned over the years that I really prefer the second type (I am particularly a fan of the Patty Melt).

              10 Replies
              1. re: Karl S

                Very good point, it's important to be clear what type of burgers you're discussing. The best guide I've seen is from A Hamburger Today: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

                1. re: Karl S

                  The most notable local purveyors of flat patties (my preferred style as well) are Flat Patties, Uburger and Tasty Burger, which for some reason I still haven't gotten around to actually trying yet.

                  Flat Patties and Uburger are roughly equal for me in terms of quality, although I think my ideal would be a place that served a Flat Patties burger with Uburger's fries and frappes.

                  -----
                  Flat Patties
                  81 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  Uburger
                  636 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02215

                  Tasty Burger
                  1301 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                    What are your thoughts on Whataburger, Jenny ? Tasty is not far off from that.

                    1. re: Nab

                      My favorites right now:

                      Back Bay Social Club
                      Radius
                      Sel de la Terre
                      KO Prime
                      Island Creek Oyster Bar
                      Middlesex Lounge
                      Toro

                      And maybe in that order.

                      1. re: Nab

                        As a native Texan, don't screw with me on this topic, which I hold very close to my heart: Tasty Burger is like Whataburger? Seriously?

                        We were looking at finally checking out Lucy before our last BSO date of the season tomorrow...this might change.

                        -----
                        Tasty Burger
                        1301 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Heh. I had a feeling that might catch your attention. They are reminiscent of the Whataburger style, but I also order mine in that fashion (ie, dressed in that Texas style). It's not gonna take you home, but I think you will enjoy it. Go to Lucy first though. ;)

                      2. re: Jenny Ondioline

                        Jenny O, you should try Tasty Burger...you might just find that Flat Patty/Uburger combination you're looking for. My new favorite "fast food/flat patty" burger in Boston.

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Perhaps you could add Green Street's burger to that flat-style list? Double burger Big Mac style with Russian dressing, plus bacon. But the potato chips that come with it are not to my liking.

                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                            What type of frappe do you recommend Jenny O from Uburger? I've tried 2 there - 1 hit (creamsicle) & 1 BIG miss - the chocolate. Chocolate frappe seemed to consist of Hershey's syrup, milk, Hershey's syrup, ice cream .......... & Hershey's syrup. Had to actually thow it away since it way WAY too syrupy - you couldn't even taste the milk or ice cream. I usually will have to tell a place (including what used to be my old standby Brigham's) to only put 1 squirt of syrup in since a lot of places load up on the syrup, which hides the flavor of the ice cream - or masks the tase of cheap ice cream (or milk that's going bad).

                            I'll have to give them another shot some time, especially since the creamsicle one was so good (& not too sweet).

                            1. re: southie_chick

                              Get the black and white: chocolate syrup/vanilla ice cream. It's the easiest way to avoid chocolate overload. I'm also a fan of the straight strawberry frappe.

                        2. Does Red Bones make a burger? Oh, man, how I miss...

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: tj442x

                            On Sundays...and it's crappy.

                            1. re: rknrll

                              anyone try the burger at the Butcher Shop?

                              1. re: rchudy

                                rich, the new Aragosta on Battery Wharf lists a kobe burger w/ short rib (in patty or on side?-i have no idea). Pick a nice day to be by the water! btw, isn't it true that 'kobe beef' is , like champagne in france, only found in japan; if it's raised in the states it'll be called wagyu or other?

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  I almost went on my birthday, did the Rialto burger instead...that was a mistake.

                                  1. re: rchudy

                                    rich, wanted to make sure you saw Slim's take on aragosta; sounds like you need to NOT try that burger!

                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/783850

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      I remember it sounding good on paper, but we've been fooled by that before.

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                        OC, I'm confused. I don't see any mention about the Aragosta burger on the MC thread you linked to.

                                        Sensing had a Kobe (Waygu) burger special for lunch at $5. Great fries and a mediocre salad made it hard to beat.

                                        I mostly cook my own burgers, and the highlight of Waygu is a high fat content..great in a steak, Waygu burgers seem sort of pointless to me; just grind in more fat to non Waygu, the capers, Dijon and shortrib do have some appeal to me to try.

                                        1. re: 9lives

                                          9,
                                          I'm with you.DIY is all i've ever done here at home in Boston. I've made wagyu burgers but they didn't do anything special for me. So the meat is cut off the shortrib and combined with your other chuck before chopping/grinding, you think?

                                          Oh, slim didn't mention the burger at Aragosta; but what he did mention would not lead me to going there to try their burger.(that's what i meant in my post to rich.)

                            2. Pizzeria Posto in Davis Square has a nice burger made with shortrib and sirloin. It's served on a brioche bun with some pretty tasty pickled vegetables.

                              -----
                              Pizzeria Posto
                              187 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

                              1. Lineage in Brookline also has a great burger.

                                1. Do tell us what you tried and how it was!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    The Bristol Lounge - a classic burger.

                                    -----
                                    Bristol Lounge
                                    200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                  2. Ashmont Grill in Dorchester has an excellent burger.

                                    -----
                                    Ashmont Grill
                                    555 Talbot Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: bizkat

                                      When was the last time you had their burger? I went about 6 weeks ago and was not satisfied. A few years back I would have said they had a very good burger, but the latest wasn't a masterpiece by any means. It resembled an overcooked hockey puck. The carpetburger at The Gallows is great. I heard unpleasant ratings about The Gallows recently, but I had the carpetburger about 2 months ago, and it was fantastic.

                                      1. re: Guinness02122

                                        Last summer. Maybe I was lucky.

                                    2. Another great burger to add to the list of Boston's "best" contenders... a friend gave me a hot tip that the hamburguesa at Estragon is worthy. And it sure is.

                                      Described as 8 oz Kobe burger with Tetilla cheese, fried onions and french fries, this hamberguesa arrives perfectly medium rare and juicy. I don't typically LOVE cooked onions on my burger, but these crispy onion strings added a nice textural counterpoint to the meat and tangy cheese. The bun is sturdy but soft, and stood up to the meaty juices just fine. Meat itself was pretty aggressively seasoned (might have been a tad salty) but very flavorful. Is it really genuine Kobe? Who knows, it's genuinely yummy!

                                      When discussing burgers at Spanish joints in town, this compares favorably to the messy burger at Toro, although I like them both. I also hear Tico does a good one, so that's on the list too. Buen Provecho!

                                      -----
                                      Toro
                                      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                                      Tico
                                      222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

                                       
                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: yumyum

                                        mmm...at least $18, I assume?

                                        1. re: barleywino

                                          $14.

                                          Add bacon or fried egg for $1 or Serrano ham for $2. I think the bacon or ham would take this over the line to salty town, but the egg might be nice.

                                          1. re: yumyum

                                            nice!

                                      2. I have tried the Radius burger and it is excellent. I thought The Bristol Burger was nothing special at all and the $21 price tag is ridiculous. The fries were also nowhere near as good as at Radius.

                                        1. Hands down, for hamburgers and all their food and atmosphere, The Gallows on Washington Street in the South End. Amazingly fabulous and fresh! Fun place too!

                                          1. Had Flat Patties over the weekend. I couldn't have had a worse experience. I've had most of the big name burgers in Boston and this wasn't much better than McDonalds.

                                            Cold, stale bun, medicore toppings, poor fries. I haven't disliked a burger like this in a long time.

                                            1. Where did you end up going and how was the burger?

                                              1. Based on the review on Boston Burger Blog, got the Burger at jm Curley on Friday night. Great meat flavor, right amounts of salt and fat (read: a lot). Definitely deserves to be on this list.

                                                15 Replies
                                                1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                                  Agreed. This is now my favorite burger in Boston (though I thought the fries were undercooked and oversalted). Really fantastic cocktails as well.

                                                  1. re: maillard

                                                    well surely rich has great taste in recommending burgers. i've been bugging him for a long while to try Strip T's burger, with lemon aioli, smoked miso, and house pickled onions. He did have it recently (i must check his blog to see if he's written it up yet). But have you and Scotch tried it yet? Would love to know that you loved it!

                                                    edit- well darn; it didn't thrill him into a top rating. Now i am gonna have to try this jm curley one. but first i have to find out where jmcurley IS! oh no, it's on Temple Pl, by the Common.. Oh NO! My Love does not the T, or pkg lots.(Just his thing, what can one say?) Can one ever find street parking down there- maybe Sundays, in a snow storm?

                                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                      Agreed! I also found JM Curley's through Boston Burger Blog. It seems that Rich and I have similar taste in burgers, since most of my favorites were rated highly.

                                                      I haven't had the Strip T's burger (haven't been there at all yet, argh!), but it's on my list. Top of my burger to-do list right now, though is Lineage.

                                                      I don't know at all about parking near the common. Maybe you could find street parking late at night? I think their kitchen is open fairly late. I hope you find a way to make it there!

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                        OC, you could try Post Office Squre around 6PM for parking - the meter will only cost $2 & it's not too far a walk. Going back to the car - especially if it's 10PM or later, I'd suggest NOT walking back thru Downtown Crossing - it can be kinda sketchy there at nite. I'll usually take Tremont to Court, & then go down Congress to get back to that area late at nite.

                                                        1. re: southie_chick

                                                          thx southie, that's super helpful!

                                                    2. re: maillard

                                                      maillard, i couldn't help myself from posting this, for you and sands and all the other burger aficianados out there. I was unsuspectingly perusing a brunch menu for The Landing in Marblehead, and I came across this grotesquery.
                                                      (Warning: before reading further, you might want to cover/protect your keyboard from potential projectile accidents)

                                                      The Benedict Burger
                                                      One of our Angus burgers grilled and served on an oversized English
                                                      muffin topped with Canadian bacon, poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.
                                                      Served with cottage fries.
                                                      12

                                                      oh nooooooo, Mr. Bill!................Is that right up there with the most disgusting burger varieties you've ever seen?

                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                        Two-thirds of the grotesqueries on the Bartley's menu sound more disgusting than that.

                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                          You can find nearly the same burger on a bajillion menus in the city.

                                                          Second, what the hell is wrong with this? People have been putting bacon on burgers forever. I first saw eggs on burgers over 20 years ago, and I have to imagine that hollandaise would be tasty on that combination.

                                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                            Ha! I am a burger purist and don't like much more than maybe some onion and mustard on my burgers, but I do think it's kind of funny that they just added a burger to a breakfast dish. They should've served it with hash browns, I think...

                                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                              The "most disgusting" burger I've heard of oc is "The Luther Vandross" - guess he liked his burger served on a Krispy Kreme glazed donut ,sliced in half, instead of a bun (think it also had cheese & other toppings on it too).

                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                The Goober from Bukowskis sounds nasty, but I've heard good things.

                                                                1. re: southie_chick

                                                                  Aka "The Luther Burger" which has now risen to some level of prominence (IIRC even Paula Deen featured it - of course many people now think that she invented it).

                                                                  Done well, the combo is actually quite delicious.

                                                                2. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                  On a different note the Landing has great Lobster rolls/Lobster salad.

                                                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                    To me, a bigger sin than topping pileups is two patties. This just throws off the balance in a way that almost never works for me. My preferences are generally simpler, but I can be convinced that a bunch of toppings add up. I almost never feel that way with a double-burger (sorry, Charlies).

                                                                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                      I think for quality thin patty burgers that the double patty can work, as you get a bit more meatiness to sink into. Depends on what else is in the burger, what the stack order is, etc. But it can also be one of those things that sounds better than it really is.

                                                              2. There may be a better burger than the one that I am about to recommend, but I doubt it. That would be the american wagyu beef sliders made with bacon ◦ 2 year aged grafton cheddar ◦ chili mayo at Mbar at the Mandarin hotel in the room which is Asana. On Boylston St. near the Pru. You will not be disappointed.

                                                                1. I've haven't tried a lot of the places reviewed on Boston Burger Blog, but my two current favorites haven't made it to the site yet (maybe because both are kind of out of the way in Somerville): Bull McCabe's near Union Square and Olde Magoun's Saloon in, yup, Magoun Square.

                                                                  I guess neither place does anything especially fancy, but the burgers are always cooked perfectly and both have a page of their menus dedicated to different options -- the Lone Star at Magoun's is a personal favorite (chili, caramelized onions, cheddar and BBQ sauce).

                                                                  There was one other Somerville burger joint I used to like but I dated a waitress there and it didn't end well so I don't go anymore.

                                                                  --

                                                                  Olde Magoun's Saloon
                                                                  518 Medford Street, Somerville, MA 02145

                                                                  Bull McCabe's
                                                                  366A Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: camberville

                                                                    Recently popped into Bull McCabes for a beer after never giving it a second look. It seemed like a quality neighborhood pub, and as I recently became part of that 'hood I think I'll have to go try that burger.

                                                                    1. re: camberville

                                                                      Where was the waitress burger joint? Unless I dated her too, I might want to go there for a good burger.

                                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                        Or a good laugh, depending on what she looks like. But in all seriousness, your failed love life shouldn't deprive us of burger knowledge (unless she was prone to spit on customers food or something).

                                                                      2. re: camberville

                                                                        I tried Magouns on a friends recommendation for a decent burger and it was terrible. Asked for it medium rare, and apparently that was too much to ask. Well done was how it came. I would have sent it back, but the waitress avoided the table for the next 20 minutes as the beers went dry for out whole table. When she came back, I hadnt touched my food..and insisted that they refire and i declined..was pissed by that point. Never again.

                                                                        1. re: ctroutman

                                                                          Finally was able to try the burger at JM Curley this past Saturday evening. I went in with high expectations and I am happy to report that they really delivered. High on beefy flavor and with a really nice crust that didn't compromise the perfectly med. rare juicy interior. The basic sesame seeded bun maybe didn't hold up completely to the preparation of the burger but I thought it fit the vibe of the restaurant. I was kinda shocked to hear this wasn't a blend but purely 80/20 ground chuck from a specific farm with an Angus program in Kansas; I thought the beef had a bit more nuance then I am used to with normal chuck.

                                                                          I was thoroughly impressed and would put this right in line behind Craigie and Toro. I haven't been as fanatical about keeping up with the Boston burger scene over the past year and have gone back to my favorites when in the mood....BUT JM really delivered and I will be adding some of the other suggestions to my Fall list....Lineage is up next.

                                                                          Also have to mention the bar staff at JM was really friendly and service oriented, had 3 pretty solid cocktails and will be back for sure.

                                                                          1. re: YoChief23

                                                                            I have read, and in fact was told by an employee at JM Curley, that they add "Beef Suet" to the meat, but that people didn't like hearing that. Not sure they add what we normally think of as beef suet, but it wouldn't surprise me if they are adding some extra yummy fat or cut of meat to their burger. Doesn't taste like any 80/20 I have ever made (even with fancy beef).

                                                                            1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                                                              That makes more sense, I believe Craigie also adds suet to their burger, as it compensates for it being leaner grass fed beef. I like your handle by the way, any connection to the Central NY restaurants?

                                                                              1. re: YoChief23

                                                                                Homage to the restaurant on N. Washington street that closed in the early 90's

                                                                                1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                                                                  That's what I thought. Many good times there..:)

                                                                      3. I remain surprised that the hamburger has become one of the big trends of the last couple of years in Boston restaurants. No complaints about the extraordinary ones, just didn't see that one coming.

                                                                        I had a very good though essentially fast-food-grade burger on a recent Sunday, 11am or so, at Lee's Place Burgers in Newton Centre, with a pile of rather respectable onion rings. The last drink of the previous night was hurting my head a bit (always blame the last drink, not the series that preceded it), and this really set me right.

                                                                        Not phwoah-holy-jeebus! in the way of a Craigie burger in high tomato season, but solidly put together, and with a Cel-Ray, under ten bucks. Just the thing at the time, in a way that the default plate of eggs and breakfast meat would not have been.

                                                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                          I have no doubt that to some a 25 dollar hamburger or 30 dollar pizza is a reasonable indulgence.

                                                                          I am not one of those people. There is a point (fairly modest point) where, even while i am eating, my mind travels to the response, "this cant be worth what i am paying for it".

                                                                          I have spoken before of the "Christopher point", so named for my near genius brother, who, at one point, described for me an actual scientific principle. Too dim to actually properly use said principle i have bastardized it over the years to embrace a theory that observes a point where the curve flattens out to where no matter what one spends above a certain amount, pleasure does not increase apace.

                                                                          Lee's Place Burgers hits this point dead on for me.

                                                                          Perfectly fine burger, cooked the way i want it, in a modest no-frills joint. No feeling that management has taken 2.50 worth of ingredients, charged a 1000% mark-up, and underpaid their mostly Brazilian staff.

                                                                          I could spend twice or three times as much. But why?

                                                                          1. re: hyde

                                                                            I don't think that there's much of a causal relationship between the amount of money you spend and the amount of enjoyment you get from something in the first place, but you're talking about diminishing marginal returns, which is more of an economic principle than a scientific one (no offense to anyone who'd argue that economics is science).

                                                                        2. I had a downright very good burger at P.J. Ryan's (Teele Sq.) this week. Ordered medium rare and it was. Nice cheddar, fresh lettuce, onion, though the tomato was admittedly pale - the bun was toasted, heavily sesame-seeded and very firm - did not break down at all with all the juice from the patty. decent fries and rings. Nothing to make a special trip for, but as bar food goes, it's pretty much near the top of my list.

                                                                          1. BoMa's is excellent; all should keep it in mind, if you ever find yourself there.