Meat done well

News Outlet:
January, 2007

From a distance, it’s hard to tell if Uburger — the new hamburger joint in Kenmore Square — is even open yet. The old Café Belô icon has been erased from the awning above the restaurant, but no replacement has been provided; what’s more, Uburger’s corrugated metal walls suggest construction is ongoing. But don’t be fooled. Uburger is, in fact, open for business — and it’s well worth a visit.

Before you go, though, you should know that the staff insists on cooking all burgers medium-well, no matter what customers request. As a dedicated medium-rare man, this initially threw me for a loop. But I got over it.

My maiden Uburger voyage featured a Cowboy Burger ($4.75) — a quarter-pound patty topped with barbecue sauce, jack cheese, mushrooms, and bacon — and a side of fries ($1.75). The former was excellent: the sautéed mushrooms were fresh and flavorful, the bacon crisp and (relatively) grease-free, and the mellow richness of the house-ground sirloin put McDonald’s to shame. The fries — hand-cut to pencil thinness, served with just enough skin on, and expertly cooked — were equally impressive.

On visit number two, I added a second patty (for $1) and topped my Uburger with American cheese (25 cents a slice) and grilled onions (35 cents). It’s a combination I recommend. Because Uburger makes your burger when you order it and serves it as soon as it’s prepared, the heat of the meat gets to work its magic on the accompaniments: when I started eating, the onions (tender, but not overly so) and cheese had melded into a glorious golden sauce, making ketchup totally unnecessary. Like the fries, the onion rings ($2.25) were cut thin, and fried in what must have been exceptionally fresh vegetable oil.

It was a sense of obligation, really, that made me try the Hot Chick chicken sandwich ($4.50) on my last visit — but it proved a fortuitous decision. Topped with blue cheese, lettuce, and hot sauce, and anchored by a lean but tender grilled chicken breast, the Hot Chick was far from burdensome. As for the chocolate frappe ($3.50), I’ll just say this: while commendably chocolate-y and (to my mind, at least) just the right consistency, it’s not the best set-up for a productive afternoon at work.

Uburger, located at 636 Beacon Street, Boston | Open daily, 11 am - 11 pm | 617.536.0448.



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