Battle for Best Burger

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Boston Burger Company celebrates first month at new Mass Ave location.

By DANA FERRANTE and ADAM WONG

02.26.15. ArtsBostonBurgerPhoto

There’s nothing like a good burger: 8 oz. (maybe even 16) of perfectly grilled cow, nested in a toasted bun, globs of ketchup spilling out the sides, meat juice trickling down your chin. But from Tasty Burger to Shake Shack, B.Good to Mr. Bartley’s, Harvard Square is so inundated with burger options; it’s hard to know which is going to give the best burger for your bite.

And yet, another contender has been added to the mix. This past Monday, Boston Burger Company celebrated its first month anniversary at its new location at 1105 Mass Ave, just a two-minute walk outside of Harvard Square.

Taking advantage of another day off from school, The Crimson Crave, plus a few friends, took the opportunity to check out how the new eats compare to our old favorites. Somewhat comparable to Mr. Bartley’s and Charlie’s Kitchen, Boston Burger Company offers a menu of decked-out burgers. With everything from the standard Boston Burger, to the stacked 420 Burger (mozzarella sticks, fried mac & cheese, onion rings, fries, bacon, golden barbeque sauce, and American cheese), BBC is more or less a classic burger joint with some unexpected twists.

Each burger comes with a sizable 8 oz. patty made in house—that is, unless you get the Jumbo ,which is an entire pound of beef, smothered in cheddar, caramelized onions, bacon and BBQ sauce. Instead of fries, homemade potato chips play the role of supporting actor to each burger. Skeptical? We were too, but surprisingly these chips are a perfect combination for any burger. That’s not to say BBC doesn’t have an impressive range of fries; while we were too full to order any, the buffalo cheese (buffalo sauce, cheddar jack cheese, and bleu cheese dressing) and the BBC sweet potato fries (sweet potato fries tossed in caramel and cinnamon) looked quite promising.

We strategically selected six different burgers in order to test the range of the menu. Like having the midnight munchies for lunch, the 420 Burger (mentioned above) looked and tasted as if all of the items at Eliot Grille were stacked neatly inside two buns for support. The Killer Bee definitely got the award for height, boasting an impressive stack of onion rings atop a cheese-covered patty. With its fried egg, ham, bacon sautéed peppers, mushrooms, and three types of cheese, the Kitchen Sink Burger tasted like the breakfast burger you’ve only dreamed of. Another favorite came from the special menu; it’s called the Sophie Burger and it was covered with prosciutto, goat cheese, balsamic reduction, arugula and candied walnuts. Comparably, the Jumbo and Bruschetta Burger were not as awe-inspiring. Devoid of toppings, the jumbo lacked flavor and intrigue. Tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and pesto accompanied the Bruschetta Burger; however, the usually delicate flavors fell flat under the weight of the hefty beef patty.

The kitchen definitely knows how to cook a burger to order, something you unfortunately can’t always take for granted. Although the beef patties themselves were not the most flavorful, we found that the best burgers were cooked to medium. For those of us who got medium rare or well done, the undeveloped flavors of the burger were more apparent, and we ended up stealing bites from the people who wisely ordered medium burgers. Hey, what are friends for?

In the end, at Boston Burger Company, it’s really the creative, artery-clogging toppings that add flair and quality to the burger.  Compared to Bartley’s, BBC is definitely the better choice for larger groups. It has a spacious dining area, complete with seats available at the bar, and some high tables that are the perfect place to catch the game. With full-length windows at the front, natural light adds to the open atmosphere making it a perfect setting to enjoy a burger with your friends.

The Boston Burger Company completes its stylish industrial interior design with a full bar that features as much variety in their local draft beers as their burgers. The decorative tap handles showcase the twelve delicious beers that flow freely, tantalizing those of us who are still underage. The bar is the perfect setting to eat a massive burger paired with a stout brew while watching the game and shooting the shit with your buds. Overseeing it all is an excellent staff with very friendly and attentive servers.

Though the beef patties left something to be desired, we went home with the now-it’s-time-to-take-a-nap feeling, which is all a group of hungry students can ask for from a $12 meal. And maybe Harvard Square didn’t need another burger joint added to the mix, but with a burger called the Mac Attack, it’ll be hard to stay away.

Editor’s Note: This restaurant review was originally published on Crimson Crave, an up-and-coming food blog by Harvard students for Harvard students. For more information, please visit their website, www.crimsoncrave.com.