Sunday, November 3, 2013

Siena Tavern -- The Verdict

A wide range of opinion about this Italian specialist's burger offering. For some "a tepid result," that was "not terribly flavorful at this price."  Others like the Italian twist on the American burger, highlighting the Fontina cheese topping.  We liked the juiciness and proportions, which were as ample at the $16 price point.  We also thought, collectively, that the burger leaned more sweet than savory, with an interesting tomato jam.  (The sweetness may explain the divergence in reviews.)  Lastly, as a group, we found the burger was a bit more overcooked than ordered, so plan accordingly.  Low of 69; high of 86; average of 80.

Exhibit 40 -- Siena Tavern

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bull & Bear -- The Verdict

Much to like about this venue, starting with the table taps that bring the beer right to your table.  Also much to like about the burger.  Most of us loved the flavor of the beef, the char added by the chef, and the wide variety of options.  In particular, one of our reviewers raved about the "combo of arugula, Parmesan, and bacon aioli."  A couple demerits for over-cooking on one order; and one reviewer found his burger "lumpy."  The kitchen also was a little slow for our particular lunchtime outing.  ("One of the best tasting burgers I've had, but I'll gladly take a less tasty burger faster.")  Further, while the regular and truffle fries didn't get rave reviews, the sugar-dusted sweet potato fries were "fantastic."  Low of 79; High of 93; Average of 86.

P.S.  Ask for Colleen:  Best.  Waitress.  Ever.  We'd go back for a veggie burger, if she was serving.

Exhibit 39 -- Bull & Bear

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Fifty/50 -- The Verdict

A pity we're not judging the chicken wings.  They were out of this world.  Huge, spicy, tasty.  The burgers, however, had a lot going for them, but the verdict was just so-so; I guess that's par for the course at a place called Fifty/50.  Interestingly, while we agreed that there was a lot to like -- ample size, great pretzel bun, creative sides and combinations, swift and attentive service -- we had different reactions to the burger itself.  First off, there were some who found no fault at all ("big, juicy, and messy"; "great").  Some didn't like the BBQ sauce topping ("too sweet, too boring"); some thought the meat was bland ("meaty, but not flavorful"); some thought the chef screwed up in the preparation ("The bones of a good burger, but the fingerprints of a bad chef.").  Interestingly, though, we all had a good time, and there seemed to be an appetite to come back again.  Maybe next time.  Interestingly, despite the disparate comments, the numbers were closely aligned.  Low of 80; high of 84; average of 83.  

Exhibit 38 -- The Fifty/50

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tortoise Club -- The Verdict

An impressive burger, served in an old world steakhouse vibe.  Dark wood, white table cloths, amusing caricatures, but not without a sense of humor and self-awareness.  Classy, and unlike, say, Prime Cut, you can actually have a conversation here.  Enough about the room; how was the burger?  It was great.  Cooked to perfection.  Delicious beef.  A solid presentation.  Tasty, herbed fries.  Attentive service.  Just about everything you would want.  The only demerit came when our server didn't fully identify what was on the burger (some in our group would steer clear of pickles and, perhaps, the onion jam), but there was no debate about the quality of the meat, perfection of the preparation, professional service, and warmth of the experience.   Low of 83; high of 91; average of 88.  P.S.  We've never done this before, but we're adding 2 bonus points to the final score here for an exceptional post-meal experience.  After we were done, we were approached by the owners/managers who were genuinely interested in improving our dining experience.  We discussed the non-disclosure issue, and we feel confident it was addressed before we ever set foot on State Street.  Well done.  Tortoise Club deserves a 90.

Exhibit 37 -- Tortoise Club

Little Market Brasserie -- The Verdict

The Fredo Burger:  "I know it was you.  You broke our heart."  There was so very much we liked about the experience:  great service, great fries, great bun, great concept ... but there was something very wrong here.  Several of us agree:  a fishy taste and smell that was remarkably off-putting in a burger.  Come for the fries, leave before the burger.  Umami fail.  Low of 48; high of 81; average of 68.5.  We'll round up to 69.

Exhibit 36 -- Little Market Brasserie

Friday, February 15, 2013

Allium -- The Verdict

Allium -- or "Alli-YUM" as one reviewer noted -- is latin for garlic.  A new restaurant in an old space in the Four Seasons.  While the physical renovation didn't appear overwhelmingly different, the kitchen has it goin' on.  "Kick ass attention to detail."  "Wonderful meat work."  "The fanciest Big Mac I've ever had."  Allium had its fans, which found the burger wonderful, the fries perfect (and perfectly seasoned), and wonderful drinks, deserts, and service. There was much to justify the $19.00 price.  Those that didn't give scores in the 90s felt that the bun was a tad on the thick and dry side, while others thought it was well suited to handle a juicy tower of burger.  Our highest scorer wrote that the "bun was hard to understand, like a great magic trick."  Another suggested that the burger tried to do too much, and that only absolute perfection justifies a $19 price point.  But, for its fans, this was a burger not to be missed.  "I shall return, after I win the PowerBall."  Low of 83; high of 96; average of 91.

P.S.  As just one small example of the attention to detail here, the brown paper bag containing the fries was lined with a thin layer of plastic, so that the grease would not stain the bag.  Well done!

Exhibit 35 -- Allium: An American Restaurant & Bar