So, some of you may remember that Josh and Rich did a review of Boston Burger Company a couple years ago. I've been going there since their opening in Somerville, so I was happy as the day is long when they reviewed it. Since moving to Cambridge, near Harvard, I was even more excited when they opened a Harvard Square location on Mass Ave. I made sure I went back to re-read Josh and Rich's blog from before, so I didn't step on well-worn territory.
Initially, I didn't go in for the burgers, I went in specifically to review their new FREAK FRAPPES. But, its not like i'm NOT gonna get a burger. It's also worth mentioning, I have a problem with extremes. I tend to lean towards "this was the best!" or "this was the worst!" In true fat-guy fashion, I'm sentimental about food... and I think i'm often surprised that something doesn't suck. For a fat guy, food is supposed to be a substitute for all that love and approval you never get elsewhere.
Let's start with the Freak Frappes. Oddly, despite my mission of solely reviewing the beverages, I had less to say about them. I went in excited for these, not only because of the cool flavors, but also because who doesn't love a good shake with their burger? What I didn't know going in, they're alcoholic! I've tried two of the four offered Freak Frappes: The Bulleit Bourbon Blizzard (pictured above), and the Nutella Cream (pictured below). Firstly, I feel like I got screwed over. Twice. The pictures I've seen (and ones being brought to tables while I awaited my own drink) have all kinds of toppers (one being a slice of cake, what looked like rice krispee treats, and one with MnMs?), I got none of that (some nilla wafers and not-quite-pirouettes). And the presentation of the Bourbon Blizzard above is somewhat lacking. Also, mine wasn't made with Bulleit Bourbon. I was seated at the bar, half-watching it being made, and observed a different bourbon being substituted. When I asked the bartender, she stated they were out of Bulleit. I then pointed out the bottle on the bar (which was with the label facing away). She offered to make me a second one, but I declined. Presentation aside, I loved the Bourbon Blizzard.
Now, clearly the presentation of the Nutella Cream Frappe (Nutella, Bailey's Irish Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream) is better executed. It was okay. It had a decent flavor, but the flavor of Nutella didn't really come through, not as much as I expected it to. It was also not very cold, perhaps could've used more ice cream. It was thicker than the other one, slightly, like drinking a thin pudding. What I will say for both, the booze to sweet ratio was perfect. I thought that both had just the right amount of alcohol coming through into the frappes, obvious but not overwhelming. I'm assuming in a general way, all 4 Freak Frappes are essentially the same. But out of these two, the Bourbon Blizzard was better. I wish I had tried the Guinness Frappe instead of the Nutella, and they also have a "New England Mudslide" which sounded good. Even though the flavor does come through while you're drinking them, it's easy to forget they're boozy, when washing down a nice burger. So tread lightly, sweet children.
The real stars of BBC are obviously the hand-made, never frozen burgers. My usual staple here is the "Killer Bee", which is a bacon cheeseburger with onion rings stacked on top in the shape of a beehive, with BBQ sauce all over it. In the previous BBC review, Rich mentions the BBQ sauce, and how good it is (reminiscent of gold-fever wing sauce at the 99). I whole-heartedly agree, it's the best. I've also tried the "Green Monstah" and the "Artery Clogger" (which Josh reviewed). Now, after refreshing my memory before writing this, the only thing I don't agree with those guys on is the chips vs fries. I love Boston Burger Co. chips. They're airy, a little soft, but still crunchy. They're special, and a great side to the burgers. I never once missed having fries on the side. I also am not a fan of the fries at BBC. They're potato wedges, and they ARE good, and have a variety of flavors/seasonings. It's just not my thing, I stick with the chips. Always. (Dipping the chips in their BBQ sauce is also recommended). I do wish they had some "more traditional" skinnier hand-cut fries, but it's merely an afterthought.
This time around I went outside my "Killer Bee" box and ordered the "Porkasaurus". This is a burger, TOPPED with pulled pork, cheddar jack cheese and pickles. At first glance, I thought it looked a little dry. "Where's the sauce?" I asked. The bartender brought me a side of BBQ. LUCKILY, I didn't just dump it on my burger. I needed to learn to trust. I tried the burger first with no sauce, and then with a little... and guess what, it was better the way they handed it to me. They know what they're doing. It was incredible. The burger was cooked to perfection (always at BBC), and the flavor and texture of the pulled pork (which look like strips vs shreds) really made this burger. All that coupled with the pile of pickles, it was perfection. (I ended up using my side of BBQ sauce for dippin').
During my round-two visit, since I was trying a different frappe, I figured I'd continue trying other burgers they have to offer. I decided to go with the Mac Attack burger (which was featured on Diners, Drive-in's and Dives... hosted by that idiot who puts his sun glasses on the back of his head). Mac Attack is simple, it's a burger with frickin' macaroni and cheese on top... oh and BACON. Duh. It's almost as if someone said "Hey you know hamburger helper? What if we threw some bacon on top and stuck it between two buns?"
At first glance, it's magnificent. Beautiful. A work of art. They aren't stingy on the mac (look at the pictures, can you even see the burger?!), which means the burger is not lacking in the cheese aspect. Love the flavor of the mac, it stole the show. Suddenly I was forgetting all about the burger, and just wishing I had a giant bowl of that mac'n'cheese. I wouldn't think all the carbs would go so well together, but it really did, no texture took away from another and the taste was good. The bacon does add some much needed flavor, because most of the taste is cheese (not that there's anything wrong with that!). The bacon adds balance. Oh, and since this is BURSTING with cheese, I love the flavor of the "burnt" cheese that touched the grill.
If I did have a complaint about my Mac Attack, it's that I had ordered the bacon "extra crispy" (yeah, i'm high maintenance, deal with it). Though the bacon was adequately cooked, it was not EXTRA crispy, it was barely crispy.
But bacon is bacon and it was delicious, none being spared.
The moral of the story is: Boston Burger Company makes my favorite burgers. They are huge, hot, juicy and full of flavor. It doesn't matter which one, you will leave fat and happy. I will definitely be back to try the other frappes I haven't explored yet, and maybe i'll work up the cajones to try The King (Elvis) Burger, which has peanut butter and caramelized bananas on it.
*I also really respect BBC because they send out emails with recipes and tips on making great burgers at home. None of that "it's our secret" horseshit. It's like the owner was fed up with the state of burgers in this country, and decided to bestow upon us these culinary gifts. And for those who need a little extra help, you can check out BurgaBox (by Boston Burger Company) which is similar to those mail order meal services, but without the chia seeds and crap like that; you get all you need to make dope burgers in your own kitchen. I thought about ordering one so I could add it on to this review, but since I live a 10min walk from a BBC, it wasn't cost effective to cook my own dinner.
Review by Dave James, who currently lives in Cambridge, MA... snoogans.
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