October 21st, 2014 by Richard Chudy
The places I go to review are rarely, if ever, random. I stay as current as I can with online burger chatter, professional reviews or readers’ suggestions to me. A recent Chowhound post pointed me in the direction of Precinct Kitchen + Bar at the Loews Hotel in the Back Bay. Available at the bar only, the $14 burger hits what it needs to hit on paper, sounding quasi high end but with an affordability to go along with it. Vegas Burger Blog and I went out for a little brotherly burger research, to hopefully add another go-to burger spot to our list.
Dry aged beef is the first thing that grabbed me when glancing at the Precinct menu; it’s often a badge of honor in the beef game, although I’ve had my share of disappointments with what is supposed to be superior meat. Vermont cheddar, Nueske’s bacon and parmesan-truffle fries round out the meal. A soft, airy, brioche like bun is fresh and light. It has a light toasting and a pillowy interior, guiding the juices just so and is an admiral choice. The beef lands somewhere on the medium-rare to medium spectrum, and is heavy on the char. Grilling brings out that char, a great and natural flavoring for any red meat, but an aggressive one at that. It’s juicy as hell, but probably needs a dusting of salt and the heavy dose of char all but eliminates any hope to highlight the dry-aged beef. Melted cheddar is liberally applied and one of the featured flavors for sure. Nueske’s bacon is divine; with an intense smoke and a hint of sweetness, it’s among the better bacons I’ve ever had, but the kitchen undercooks it, which results in a slightly chewier than desired product. Parmesan-truffle fries almost feel like they have a layer of coating before being fried, but they are tasty and pretty well seasoned, if nothing new and innovative.
An overpowering char and undercooked bacon may prove that the team at Precinct isn’t as adept at handling the meat (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) as they could be. The promise of dry-aged beef is unfortunately overshadowed by a heavy hand on the grill, although the accompanying bun and cheese make for a solid effort. The components are there, and for $14 it’s borderline an adequate value. The patty is definitely juicy and everyone plays nicely with each other. I fear it may be a consistency issue, not that there is anything fundamentally wrong here, but a top tier burger contender it is not.
Overall Score: 82