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Burger Dive - Assembly Square, Somerville

Prav Mar 30, 2013 11:49 AM

I finally tried this place last night, after having driven by it numerous times without even noticing it.

It was a strange experience, a weird vibe but I can't exactly place why. I counted about 12 employees (and 4 customers, including my DC and me). You can order through a clunky computer system that's confusing (comic sans, no less) and doesn't let you customize, or you can order at the counter and take a number. The space is weird - a sort of industrial, exposed-metal-beam look, and was way too dark. Wouldn't describe it as pleasant.

The service experience was strange for some reason. I think the combination of being over-staffed, under-patronized, and giddiness of ending a work-shift on a Friday night made everyone seem childish - almost rambunctious. Can't blame 'em, I guess. :)

Anyway, back to the chow. They ask you if medium is okay, but your only choice is to move up to 'medium well' or "well done'. They won't cook you anything below a medium. I ordered the Dive Burger, which had lettuce, tomato, "dive sauce" (which was described as - ketchup, mayo, black pep...shit, I don't even remember), and I added pepper jack cheese. Buns did not have sesame seeds, to my relief.

The burger came out in a reasonably timely fashion (they call your number and you pick it up). It's a flat-patty style burger, but the patty was highly irregular, and as expected, way over done. I could not detect "dive sauce", and the pepper jack got lost in a squish of grease. It was a pretty mediocre burger.

Also ordered sweet potato fries, which were actually the best thing we tried. Thin and crisp, and there's a self-serve bar of assorted dipping sauces.

DC got a chili cheese dog, which was just 'OK'. We shared a Peanut Butter Banana milkshake, which was too thin, not PB-y enough. We decided to pitch it halfway, as my homemade Vita-mix protein shakes tasted comparable and are more nutritious.

I don't think I'd be back, even though there were some interesting sounding burger combos (e.g., a sort of Frito pie style, with chili and fritos). Everything was just average.

Now, who knows when Shake Shake hype will simmer down so I can try it without waiting 30 minutes.

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    surferbettygal RE: Prav Mar 31, 2013 04:18 PM

    I actually like this place. I get the frito chili burger with plain fries. I've only tried their strawberry shake and it was really good.

    I prefer this place over 5Guys.

    1. enhF94 RE: Prav Mar 31, 2013 06:11 PM

      this mirrors my experience visiting their second day open:

      "The burger came out in a reasonably timely fashion (they call your number and you pick it up). It's a flat-patty style burger, but the patty was highly irregular, and as expected, way over done. I could not detect "dive sauce", and the pepper jack got lost in a squish of grease. It was a pretty mediocre burger."

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        5thAndNowhere RE: Prav Apr 1, 2013 07:27 AM

        i like their burger. small patty, perfect amount of runny juices, good bun, sauce bar, tater tots. and the basic burger is like $5? And $6 for a proper milkshake is what youll pay anywhere!

        The space is meant to mimic a garage. the industrial look is very "in". it does get loud - concrete, glass.

        1. Boston_Otter RE: Prav Apr 1, 2013 11:56 AM

          I'm most curious about the patty they sell made of 50% ground bacon. That sounds potentially amazing and potentially horrendous.

          1. Boston_Otter RE: Prav Apr 24, 2013 06:01 AM

            I visited here this past weekend and likely won't be back.

            They seem to have given up on the computer ordering system; the terminals were down and they were waving people to the counter. I got a Baconator (half-beef, half ground bacon) and my DC got the Bleu Burger & a chocolate shake. Their prices are on the high end: a burger, fries, and small soda combo was $12.

            The idea of a ground bacon patty is better on paper than in reality. It didn't really taste bacon-y at all, but was a lot chewier and drier than a beef patty. No sauce on the burger at all, and buns are cold and dry... I saw a huge bucket of their pre-branded buns (all buns have their logo burned into the top, which is cute) next to the griddle.

            I appreciate the large sauce bar with lots of unique choices, including "Louisiana Hot Sauce", "Dive Sauce" (a mustardy sort of thing) and "Old Bay Mayo", which was pretty terrific.

            DC's $5 chocolate shake was truly awful -- it had that fake-shake-mix flavor that McDonalds' shakes have, and absolutely no chocolate flavor at all. If I'd tasted it with eyes closed, I'd have assumed it was vanilla. He had it remade & it ended up the same.

            Honestly, the biggest problem with this place is their dining space. It's a metal garage filled with metal furniture, with tables butted up just a few feet from the food pickup and drink refill stations as well as the back door, so it's incredibly loud and chaotic, with employees and diners squeezing around each other just to walk around normally. With other less-chaotic, less-pricey, and better-quality burgers around, I don't see why I'd go there again.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Boston_Otter
              enhF94 RE: Boston_Otter Apr 24, 2013 02:20 PM

              Wut. Now I'm going to have to try the Old Bay mayo considering the sauces I had there were devoid of flavor or any other properties.

              No bun-branding when I went very early on. Someone is working hard to make things work, given that and the no-more-computers.

              I wonder if the weird vibe is from the seemingly-very-large numbers of staff, plus sound-bouncing walls.

              1. re: Boston_Otter
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                total13 RE: Boston_Otter Apr 25, 2013 05:12 AM

                I just got there for the first time this weekend too and was likewise unimpressed. $11 for a cheeseburger, tater tots and bottle of water (wish I'd seen the nice ice filled water dispenser). As mentioned, they ask if medium is ok and that's what I prefer but this was cooked beyond medium, wasn't juicy or tasty. The sauces are a good idea. The tots were great, nice to have that option. I don't mind the space and the ratio of workers:customers was normal on a busy Sun. afternoon. Just not that great a burger IMO.

              2. l
                l0b0SKI RE: Prav Apr 24, 2013 06:57 AM

                The prices are high but I like that the burgers are not super thick like every where else. I have been to so many places that make a thick patty and the grill cook has no idea how to cook it. I spoke to a manager regarding this matter and he said that thick burgers are "in fashion now"

                1. hotoynoodle RE: Prav Apr 24, 2013 07:47 AM

                  i don't know that i'd be judging anyplace with what was going down last friday night.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: hotoynoodle
                    Boston_Otter RE: hotoynoodle Apr 24, 2013 08:19 AM

                    This was on Sunday afternoon. The place was packed with families and a birthday party for an elderly group using walkers, and none of them could navigate around the tables.

                    It was a crazy weekend, true, but that doesn't affect the quality of their crappy shakes or make the prices artificially higher than usual.

                    1. re: Boston_Otter
                      hotoynoodle RE: Boston_Otter Apr 24, 2013 12:49 PM

                      the op mentioned "a weird vibe" on friday night. that was one of the weirdest nights in boston. ever.

                      that's all.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                        l
                        LeoLioness RE: hotoynoodle Apr 24, 2013 01:16 PM

                        The OP wrote that post on March 30....

                        1. re: LeoLioness
                          hotoynoodle RE: LeoLioness Apr 24, 2013 07:26 PM

                          didn't realize this thread had gotten a recent bump, sorry.

                    2. re: hotoynoodle
                      MC Slim JB RE: hotoynoodle Apr 24, 2013 01:12 PM

                      I'm giving a huge mulligan to a place where I had a horrendous experience last Saturday night. I've been there several times before, had much better food and service, so I'm chalking it up to post-bombing delivery disruptions, staff shortages, and general wigged-out-ness. (It wasn't a Back Bay restaurant, either.)

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                        hotoynoodle RE: MC Slim JB Apr 24, 2013 07:27 PM

                        yeah, i had 2 very weird experiences -- thursday and saturday -- places that are in my normal rotation.

                        i felt weird enough myself, so will not chalk up any demerits.

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