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Dec 13, 2012 05:46 PM

Nice experience at Boston Burger Co. tonight

At the risk of sounding like Granny Swank, I was very impressed with the young people at Boston Burger Co. tonight. Mr. Swank, Young Swank and I popped in spur of the moment and were whisked to a table right away. Dining room was crowded, though not packed, and Christmas Carols were warbling in the background. Nice lights in the windows overlooking the square. Our server was very friendly and immediately brought chalk and a chalkboard for Young Swank to doodle. Mr. Swank and I enjoyed our burgers (Texan and Green Monster, respectively). Chili cheese fries were somewhat of a letdown -- I prefer a thinner fry; these are more like potato wedges. The chili is very meaty and a bit dry--I like my chili smooth and spicy (DC's Bens Chili Bowl sets the standard, IMHO).

Anyway, we were sandwiched among groups of Tufts students (at least I assume -- could be Harvard) and it was easy to eavesdrop. All of them were so polite to the servers, friendly to Young Swank, and upbeat. I know it seems silly, but when you hear so much about the boorish or entitled "Stuck Genaration," it was nice to overhear students talking about their internships and pulling all-nighters on term papers, and treating servers with respect.

I then bopped across the street to CVS, where I witnessed a man get into a fight with a cash register. But that's for a different message board, I suppose.

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  1. Man. You mean after two years since my last visit, it's time to stop dismissing this place as "Guy Fee-eddy loves it" and give them another shot? Sheesh. ;)

    1. About a week ago I had lunch at the Davis Square Boston Burger. In the spirit of "you only live once," I tried one of the day's specials: a deep-fried bacon-wrapped burger with chipotle mayonnaise. It had some other stuff on it, too, that I can't remember, mostly because nothing stood out flavor-wise except the breaded coating on the burger, which was not so good. Burger itself was overcooked, but I can't really complain because I was warned. I asked for it medium rare but was told by our server that deep-frying doesn't allow it and it will come out medium. Anyhow, I ate most of it, which finished me for the rest of the day. I skipped dinner because I could feel that hunk of breaded burger sitting in my gut for many hours. I know: I got what I asked for. First and last deep-fried burger I'll ever eat.

      1 Reply
      1. re: katzzz

        this is sad to hear, since with a little attention to technique, they could have provided a rare, deep-fried burger easily and cheaply.

        Slow-cooking the burger to your desired doneness, then frying for 30 seconds to develop a delicious brown crust, makes for a fantastic burger. For burgers, even sous vide doesn't require expensive equipment like vacuum sealers (contraindicated for overcrushing ground meat) or immersion circulators (a hot bucket of water will do fine).

        Or they could just pull the burger from the deep fryer a little earlier. If necessary (which I doubt), par-cook the bacon.

        And what the hell are they doing wrapping the burger in the bacon, which will basically eliminate maillard reactions in the beef, resulting in crisp bacon around a steamed burger? If you're going to cook it to death while insisting on browning (as deep-fryers do), mix the bacon with the ground beef so at least you get some browned beef flavor.

        Yeah. The more I think about it, the more the "deep frying doesn't allow it" sounds like the lamest of excuses for "I don't know how." Or, less charitably, "I don't care."

        OK, wow, this comment started as a mild complaint, but I kinda built momentum as I went. I'm the juggernaut.

      2. I enjoy their burgers, though their specials are getting a little too "wacky" -- when your burger arrives and it's nearly a foot high with all the stacked-up toppings, that's just inedible.

        Honestly, the big problem with BBC is getting in there. Every time I try to go, they tell me "one to two hour wait". Not worth it!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Boston_Otter

          They expanded and doubled the seating place in Davis. You won't have much of a wait, if any.

          1. re: katzzz

            That's what I'd been hoping for, but I called last Friday around 7pm and was told there was up to a two-hour wait.

        2. Okay, I visited. Thanks for nudging me to try it again - I liked it better than I remembered, but for me, not worth returning to. I gave them the best chance I could by basically ordering a patty melt (american cheese and sautéed onions), instead of setting up a cheap shot by asking for lettuce, tomato, mayo and ripping on the mayo.

          The burger was cooked to my preferred medium-rare, and the meat wasn't overpacked. Juicy. There wasn't much searing on the burger - it was more steamed than seared - and it wasn't rested, so the burger lost a lot of juice. The flavor of the beef seemed tame. And once again, I confirmed that they pack their own burgers but don't grind their own beef (?!).

          The chips seemed old, overbrowned, and undersalted. I am not a thick fry person, and sweet potato fries take specialized skill thanks to their odd starch ratio, so again I gave them a pass and didn't order the fries.

          The fresh, white bun, was only toasted enough to slightly change the texture - no browning at all - and, unforgivably, seemed to be brushed with cooking oil. I love a buttered bun. A cooking-oil-brushed bun seems disgusting to me, especially untoasted, and I am not one who needs "real" ingredients. Would you like cooking oil in your bread service at a corner Italian joint? Yech. It may have been "butter flavored" or rancid. (I _really_ doubt it was rancid - they probably go through a lot.)

          I'm filing Boston Burger Co. into the sadly overlarge "Davis Square Posers Who Do Not Need Passion Because They're Doing Fine" file, alongside "Proper Ale, Sam Adams Style" (Foundry), "pouring Sazeracs by counting" (Saloon), and "our fries have tasteless mayo, but we're from Yurrop" (Amsterdam Falafel). I can't fault them for this; they seem to have hit the sweet spot for making money in Davis Square. But does bother me to see places call themselves singlemindedly passionate, when they are actually only trying to flatter the Jumbo and Adult Kickball market with good marketing.

          TL;DR: gave Boston Burger Co. a free penalty shot; they shot closer to the goal than I expected but still managed to convince me they do not actually care. Also, I am cranky about Davis Square.

          8 Replies
          1. re: enhF94

            Good lord I love this post. Thanks for the chuckle. Swank I'm glad you had a good experience. I'd wager those were jumbos beside you. We are typically nice and polite. ;-)

            I tried BBC once. And done. The end.

            1. re: yumyum

              uh oh. here all these yrs and don't know what a jumbo is. yum?

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Jumbos = Tufts students. (Jumbo is their school mascot, an elephant)

            2. re: enhF94

              Thanks for the post, it cracked me up. I disagree with pretty much everything you're cranky about, but it's still a fun read :)

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                Hee hee all. The point of my post wasn't that Boston Burger is an amazing burger spot (it's fine -- not great not horrible). Just that it fills a nice niche in the neighborhood and people seemed happy to be there.

                1. re: Swankalicious

                  Happy to entertain - and in my heart of hearts, I am beside Swank, because after all, happy folks sharing a meal together is really what it's about. And Boston Burger Co. does, honestly, fill a nice niche with happy customers. "Not great, not horrible" sounds about right to me, too.

              2. re: enhF94

                I wish you'd tried those fries. When they first opened, I confirmed that they were buying frozen pre-cut fries. I have since been unable to confirm if they are starting with actual potatoes at this point, and I am completely unwilling to go back until I know this, as a matter of principle. Anyone?

                1. re: Parsnipity

                  It would have been unfair as I'm not partial to thick cut and wanted to give them an honest chance.