In the heart of Greenfield—a throwback of a town if there ever was one—sits throwback patty joint Brick Wall Burger. The wooden booths, shake machine behind the counter and stark decor give it an old time feel. To further that atmosphere foodwise, the meat is ground in house and surrounded with local, all natural complements and homemade ketchup. The chef is Seth Crawford, who once manned the kitchen at the now-closed Holy Smokes BBQ in West Hatfield.
All burgers are encased in what I like to call "brown paper towel brioche." It's light like brioche but less sweet, a little chewier and without that shiny, eggy finish. The inner surfaces get a good buttering and grilling to amplify the richness quotient.
All meat is ground fresh in-house. Burger choices include beef, chicken, pork, black bean, portobello mushroom and ground corned beef. All patties are 7-ounces, with the straight beef also available in a 4.5-ounce size. You can choose from a handful of signature prefabricated combinations or customize to your own specifications.
The 7-ounce beef burger ($7.99 with cole slaw) had a decent crust that brought no seasoning I could see or taste, but the pristine beef had a refreshing purity that was immediately noticeable. Inside, the loose ground meat released a torrent of juices on first bite and continued to flow throughout. This was a solid burger that hit medium rare perfectly and had a nice overall feel and flavor even without seasoning or funk. In any event, it was obvious that this was some very well-cared-for beef.
The St Patty's Melt ($12.50 with cole slaw and choice of fries) was an easy-to-choose option because of its ground corned beef patty. This arrived a little less sturdy of crust but a little more well done. The corned beef flavor was certainly not lacking; if anything, it was a little too strong, delivering enough funk for both burgers.
As is my custom, I added bacon ($1.00), Cheddar ($0.50) and grilled onions ($0.50) to the build-it-yourself burger. The cheese got as melted as you can get without dissolving or dripping and the onions did a nice job too, but neither really asserted themselves. Long strips of crisp, slightly chewy (in a good way) bacon were a steep step upward, but in the end, this burger was all about the simple elegance of the beef itself. Was that enough to make it one of my favorites? Probably not, but this was an undeniably good burger.
Toppings and condiments kept the intensity of the St Patty's Melt's corned beef patty in check. The sauerkraut may have accentuated the funkiness, but the slightly melted Swiss cheese took the flavors in a slightly different direction. The star of the show was a fabulous stone ground mustard that kept things under control flavorwise while providing whole seed explosiveness texturewise. I now regard the corned beef burger as more of a novelty than something I'd order again—I'd instead return to that beef patty, keep the toppings fairly simple and let it stand on its own. But I'd find a way to get that mustard again.
The Fries (and such)
The hand-cut, skin-on fries ($1.99) lived up to the menu hype that compared the interior to mashed potatoes, but didn't quite deliver on the implicitly promised crispness of "double fried." Both the wobbly exteriors and the salting were a little too light for my liking.
Sweet potato fries ($2.75), on the other hand were outstanding, easily and by far the best I've ever had. Cut long and thick with skins on, these nailed the crispness, the buttery interior, the right seasoning and a deep, natural sweet potato flavor completely unlike what you get at most places. I'd recommend Brick wall Burger on this item alone.
Thick, coarse (and still smooth) house made ketchup is less sweet than the bottled variety but no less intense. I spent much of the visit dipping fry after fry into the stuff to figure what was in it that I liked so much. Maybe it was what wasn't in it that was so pivotal. But either way, I liked it. Get it on the side so you can experiment as I did, and if you figure out the secret, let me know.
Two cole slaws are available, served complimentary with your burger. The standard one was crisp with a semi-thin mayo/vinegar condiment that reminded me of my mother's version. The real winner was the spicy cole slaw, which had a thinner, more vinegary condiment and a lot going on besides just cabbage and carrot. It's one of the best cole slaws I've ever had. (I know that's the second time I've said this in the last few paragraphs. For those of you reading this as your first exposure to my reviews, let me assure you that I don't go throwing around superlatives like this capriciously.)
The Bottom Line
The fresh, juicy beef burger came in closer to good than great, but so many of the little things were great that I'd certainly want to come back for another taste of Brick Wall Burger.
Yelp reviews of Brick Wall Burger
Urbanspoon reviews of Brick Wall Burger
||'Like' PigTrip BBQ Reviews on Facebook to keep up with all of the reviews and much more content not available on the site.