The Butcher Shop is part wine bar, part butcher shop and part restaurant. It's also part of the Barbara Lynch empire that includes No. 9 Park and Menton, so be prepared to part with some serious cash for the privilege of test driving The Butcher Shop Burger ($18).
From a hightop stool perch you can gawk at artisanal sausages hanging from the refrigerator case, live meat cutting on a demonstration style butcher block or even the pretty young things sipping wine before noon on Saturday. But if you're like me, you're gawking at all of the above plus the parade of towering burgers that emerge from the kitchen to at least half the clientele on that same Saturday visit.
The Butcher Shop Burger had been on my radar for more than a year, but I never took the time to investigate that burger to the point of seeing a photo. Then, by accident, it hit me: thumbing through the pages of Boston Magazine a week before my visit, I saw the burger in a feature of Boston's best dining bargains, and it was love at first sight. How any $18 burger can be considered a bargain, I'm still not sure. How I managed to get through an entire week without hightailing it down there, I'm also still not sure. For a Saturday lunch I joined a burger maven with restaurant experience and a top-secret burger project in the works.
Tall with a hemispheric dome, the shiny tan vessel had a strong and alluring sesame flavor (almost like something from a Chinese bakery, minus the sweetness) from the density of the seed distribution and maybe some sesame oil too. Crusty outside and lighter inside, it was an impressive creation that would have dazzled had it been a little fresher.
Ordered medium rare, this burger arrived closer to medium and without much seasoning or surface character. Inside, the beef was juicy but didn't have much flavor. Not as thick or as wide as in the Boston Magazine photo, the patty struggled to reach the outer edges of the bun. Texture was okay, but I didn't encounter any added lusciousness from butter being added to the blend. Don't get me wrong, it was
good, just nothing special.
The meat in the patty was't special, but the bacon was as special as special gets. Fantastic stuff, it was the highlight of the sandwich and the only thing worthy of "butcher shop" quality implications: very porky and fruitwood smoky, with good contrast between its dark, crisp edges and thick, chewy interior.
At first I thought the mayo peering out from beneath the patty was butter, because as the meat juices dripped into it, the mayo took on a melted butter consistency. This was an interesting effect, even more so if it was intentional, but there was just too much of it.
I didn't really notice the cheese even though it was perfectly melted to near-liquid goop (and when I say "goop" I mean no disrespect) and not lacking in quantity. The mayo simply dominated. Iceberg lettuce added height but not much else.
Caramelized onions had a soft texture but none of the sweet jam presence as, say, Back Bay Social Club. Here they still retained some of their bitterness.
Waffle fries closer to chips than fries were crisp and light. A thick garlicky mayo dip was nice, but there was already more than enough mayo in the burger.
The Bottom Line
The Butcher Shop Burger was certainly good. With a fresher roll and the meat cooked right and seasoned right, it's arguably better than good, but what I got as a whole on this day wasn't worth $18. I guess the bargain was the free ad in Boston Magazine.
Boston Magazine's Dining Bargains: The Butcher Shop Burger
Yelp reviews of The Butcher Shop
Urbanspoon reviews of The Butcher Shop