Thursday, June 28, 2012

R.F. O'Sullivan and Son

I had the above burger today at R.F. O'Sullivan's in Sommerville, MA. It's called the Black & Blue and is one of the most popular on their menu of almost 30 composed burgers and always a favorite of mine. It is comprised of ground sirloin (as are all of their burgers) that gets heavily peppered before hitting the grill, cooked to a freakishly consistent temperature (in my many experiences there) and topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, and blue cheese dressing.

Price Point  is extremely reasonable, with my burger today costing $9.25, sides included, and every burger on the menu coming in under $10.

The Style of Burger here is the epitome of the Burger Joint burger. Almost 30 options (choices being the main differentiation between a restaurant burger and a burger joint burger) not including your choice of cheese and side. You leave the meat cooking to them and pick what goes on top.

Meat quality is always great at O'Sullivan's and I reiterate, the temps are always spot on. Many folks rave about being able to get a perfect rare burger there, though I always go med-rare.

Accoutrements are tasty, if not always the most culinarily driven (i.e. the blue cheese is likely purchased rather than made in house, but that's OK, it still does the trick). Produce is crisp and fresh.

The Bun is everything it needs to be when meat quality is this high and the focus is clearly on the toppings - a lightly toasted sesame seed bun that remains intact even after being thoroughly saturated with blue cheese and delicious burger juice.

Eatability remains high despite the inclusion of blue cheese dressing, as it is applied as just a dollop on top, not a hand-soaking deluge. The restraint shown here makes all the difference when the burger is already quite large.

Ordering is always easy, never rushed, and the servers and bartenders are always happy to accommodate substitutions, omissions, and the occasional extra side of black jack sauce in which you might want to dip your fries or onion rings (write that one down).

Amenities at O'Sullivan's include their sides: big hand cut french fries (and I mean big, I'd guess 8 fries out of 1 potato) and equally massive deep fried onion rings. They also have a modest selection of beers  comprised of few craft brews, but plenty of just-fine accompaniments to a fist of meat topped with melty cheese (today I had a tall Narragansett). There are also appetizers offered that I skipped today, but have had great luck with in the past. Simple stuff, jalapeno poppers, nachos, buffalo tenders, but satisfying pre-burger bar food.

The Overall Experience is what one would expect from an Irish/sports pub about 4 miles from downtown Boston in the heart of Sommerville: very neighborhoody with plenty of regulars, a handful of young professional locals, and plenty of TV's (though not at all a garish amount). The cherry on top of what is already an appealing neighborhood bar at which one could sip a beer and watch the game, is one of Boston's very best burgers.

R.F. O'Sullivan and Son
282 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 492-7773

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Mission

A great burger is kind of perfect. It visits almost all levels of the food pyramid which, although it has been ignored as of late (thanks for nothing Dr. Atkins), is still how I decide what I need to eat: meat, cheese, starch, and veg (with some seasoning involved, hopefully...and some pork if I'm especially lucky).

I decided to start this blog because Boston has so many burger options, so how does one choose? This blog isn't about judgement, it's about burgers you need to eat and the amenities they come with.

There are a few different styles of burger one could be looking for in Boston:

Take-out Burger : This burger arrives quickly and travels well. A temperature is often not taken, and it relies on its accoutrements and its balance in flavor to make it great. 

Burger-joint Burger : This burger doesn't necessarily come from a lower-tier restaurant, just one that leaves the burger decision up to their guests. It should have meat that's cooked and seasoned well and a number of options for toppings and cheeses.

Chef's Burger : This is a burger that's usually served without much room for improvisation. Items can be omitted, but not added - this is the chef's vision of a burger. The meat quality for this category should be uncompromisingly high and the temps should be spot on. 

Based on this criteria, I look forward to chowing on any and all 'fists of meat' (read: burgers) that Boston has to offer and cataloging my burger-crushing experiences right here. Let's do this.