Sunday, October 19, 2008

Burger Quest 2008

FWIW, I heard this slogan tonight: “Fill up with a foot long at Subway…” oh, that’s so ripe…

A few weeks ago, on “How I Met Your Mother”, there was an episode entirely dedicated to the quest for the perfect burger in New York City. Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the burgers in New York, but the show had a number of funny lines, as each character waxed poetic about their burger experiences. Regardless of my repulsion for NYC, I started wondering about the best burger I’ve had locally. What is it about the burger, the sandwich staple of most bars and restaurants that causes us to recall with fondness the best burgers we’ve ever had?

Could it be the sublime combination of meat and toppings, ranging from a slab of tomato and a leaf of lettuce, or could it be the combination of cheese and bacon (for you traife-eating heathens)? Is it a charcoal-grilled burger, kissed by flame, or a griddle seared burger, cooking in its own fat that makes your mouth water (remember, as the senior Palate says-“the flavaaaaaah’s in the faaaaaaat!”)? Do chain restaurants have any hope? Will Luke finally marry Laura? Will anyone actually recognize Miley as Hannah Montana? Stay tuned…

So, within the past month, and for the next few weeks, I have been, and will continue to journey across the MetroWest and Boston area in search of a great burger. While I will report on some of them here, and over the next few posts, the full narrative report will be heard on the Jordan Rich Show on WBZ 1030AM, midnight, on November 8/9. Tune in, for the dulcet tones of the Critical Palate!

Watch City Brewery, Waltham, MA—I met a friend for lunch there a few weeks ago, and decided to throw caution to the wind and get a burger for lunch. I usually avoid heavy lunches, because I have found that limits your afternoon work more than a heavy lunch. An hour after finishing, it’s “hello, food coma.” But, I was going to be out for a while, and I figure the worst that could happen would just be a car crash. (Mom, stop reading here) So I dove into a mushroom cheeseburger, with onion rings (which, for my mother’s benefit, I didn’t finish).

The burger was good, really good. Not the winner in my personal “sew my ass shut” sweepstakes, but a solid entry in the burger sampling, and a good way to start “Burger Quest-2008”.

Nobscot’s, Framingham, MA--In an earlier posting about my trip to NH, I talked about those hidden jewels, the diamonds in the rough that you might otherwise skip. Thinking Nobscot’s was one, we ventured inside.

The food was adequate, but not exceptional in any way. Nobscot’s is a bar, with a dining room attached. One of the junior Palates had Buffalo Tenders, and they were tasty, but the rest of the food was just ok. You can never really embrace a place that serves their mushroom and onion burger with canned mushrooms. I bet you even Brother Ezekiel of the Pennsylvania Dutch eats fresh mushrooms on his burgers. One last insult-I didn’t want fries (although I saw, from a distance, that these were “steak” fries, which I really like), and asked to substitute cole slaw. The waitress told me that it would be a $1.50 side dish, because they don’t substitute (this is always a bad sign at a restaurant-one that doesn’t care enough about their patrons to allow them to swap out a relatively inexpensive item for a cheaper one). I decided that $1.50 was a small price to pay for my cardiac health, and was cheaper than a Lipitor, but I thought that was pretty cheesy of them to up charge you for cole slaw, which I’m sure is cheaper than the frozen steak fries from Bayonne, NJ. The burger wasn’t good enough for me to rush back.

Ted’s Montana Grill, Westboro, MA--Third time back to Ted’s was fine too. I got, no surprise here, a mushroom cheeseburger, with salt and pepper onion rings (once again, for my mother’s benefit, some left behind on the plate). Of the two times I’ve gotten burgers here, they’ve both been prepared right, and the onion rings have been delicious. If you can get beyond Hanoi Jane and the eco-friendly happy horse crap, it’s a pretty good burger experience, though pricey. Saving the environment costs a lot of money, along with those paper straws.

Some of kind readers have made some suggestions-Wild Willy’s in Watertown, Kennedy’s Pub in Marlboro, and one of you, apparently jerking me around, suggested that Ruby Tuesday’s “Triple Prime” burger was a real winner. Yeah, a winner of the Kentucky Derby-I didn’t know frozen horsemeat packed in Secaucus, NJ came graded as “prime.” Keep the suggestions coming.

You’ve been great. Enjoy Weird Al Yankovic…


Unknown said...

You should try the burgers at The Met Bar in Natick Collection..

Anonymous said...

Eating all these burgers and onion rings (some left behind, I doubt) can't be good for your heart or colon. I do know the senior palater loves the fat, it adds shine to the dogs coat too. So I've heard I don't give the dogs fat.

Why don't you report on vegetables or at least veggie burgers and save yourself from Lipitor and save some cows?

Anonymous said...

If you ever get back to Teds for lunch try to catch the french dip. It's made from the left over prime rib. It' not on the menu and not always available, best sandwich to date. You can always get the 1\2 and 1\2 fries & rings.