February 28th, 2014 by Richard Chudy
The folks behind The Beehive in the South End opened up the Beat Hotel in Harvard Square and pretty much made a similarly delightful burger. The Prime Burger ($15) is a tall one, staring right back at you like many classic pub-looking burgers before it. The menu offers no hint of what’s to come, but after digging a little deeper I learned this burger comes with a Port Wine aioli, crispy tobacco onions, served on a Hi-Rise potato roll and a side of vinegar slaw. Interesting that none of that is listed on the actual menu and even more interesting that I probably found it more favorablebefore I learned all that, since you could barely taste any of it. But I digress; it’s forgivable because it’s quite delicious no matter how you slice it.
The beef and the beef alone is the clear star of this burger. It may seem obvious but too frequently burgers are engulfed by too many toppings and misguided choices of buns and accompaniments. There is no hidden agenda regarding the Beat burger: it’s beefy, thick, juicy throughout, and seasoned just about as flawlessly as you can get. Grill marks give it some decent char, which creates a bitter element that works well to counteract the big, bold, beefy flavors that are fully represented. It is cooked to medium-rare mostly across the board and those juices are slow and steady, seeping into the bun which is sturdy and holds it all in. At first glance the bun looks like an oncoming train-wreck because it appears much too tall and thick. However, despite being over-toasted with a crunch that is borderline excessive, the bun is actually light on the inside and ultimately is a wise choice for those aforementioned juices. Melted cheddar (an extra 50 cents) is assertive, very pronounced, and easily worth the price of admission. The aioli was nowhere to be found, and I’m still convinced it was not even on there, and a few sprinkles of not super crispy tobacco onions end up mushy under the bun and pressed up against the patty. The side slaw is refreshing and light, high on the vinegar and not a bad couple of bites after such a rich and decadent burger. A side of fries are similar to The Beehive; thick slices are presented differently from the norm and are crazy crispy and even crazier on the salt content, bordering on much too salty but definitely better over than under seasoned.
The burger at the Beat Hotel isn’t necessarily original but it hardly matters. I’m, okay with the $15 fee because you can tell the quality of the beef and it is executed the right way. The fries, slaw and bun work their magic but the beefy, salty and juicy burger that is the showcase really comes through.
Overall Score: 87