The Divine Burger Quest

by Marisa Olsen


I’ve decided to keep a running post on discovering the perfect burger and all that it can be. Now, my philosophy is that a burger can encompass a variety of desires, so this posting will research and reflect the discovery of a variety of perfect matches; the Gourmet Burger syndrome, the Burger Joint syndrome, the Most Creative Burger syndrome, so be it.
For instance, the Burger Joint hidden away in the Parker Meridien offers a perfect NY Burger Joint offering. Just simply hidden behind a curtain (follow the grease smell), you will unearth this cult classic-- a small dive with fake plaster graffiti-ed walls, tacky red cushioned booths and a line out the wazoo. It is greasy, rushed and slightly anxiety-inducing, but damn, their burgers are good. I like them with the works: mustard, mayo, ketchup, onions, tomato, lettuce and a pickle for fun. Their fries are even better and are served in a brown paper bag that really has the ability to show off the grease factor. You can also order a pitcher of Sam Adams, but only this. No thrills. Perfect. The food is more based on atmosphere, or lack there of. This isn’t an angus beef burger, it’s just beef, plain and simple with a tacky and crazed atmosphere to pump up the volume. But it’s fun and a great place to go with friends and colleagues, if you can battle out the line and get your order down to perfection.
A similar Boston counterpart would have to be Charlies in Harvard Square. Charlies is a lot less frenetic and hidden, but has that same basic burger joint idea. The main counter top bar is decorated with a marquis and surrounded by fake red leather stools. Plastic red booths are set up around the perimeter and the salt and pepper are served in corona bottles (nice use of recycling). The menu is pretty expansive and their specialties are of course burgers. Mostly double burgers as well, making my suspicion confirm that this was going to be a real burger joint, with mediocre meat, as opposed to the amazing kobe beef burger with crispy onions served at Harvard Gardens. I was right, well partially. My date ordered the double guacamole with cheddar, served with a side of chips (um...well I guess they're for guacamole bits). I had the regular burger with the works, plus bacon. It was pretty good. Thin patty-ed meat, decently crisped fries, but all around, a standard greasy burger joint.