I ate at Gordon Ramsay’s new burger restaurant; here’s what it’s like
“Burger, fries and a milkshake” isn’t the typical order you’d expect from a Gordon Ramsay establishment. But at the celebrity chef’s new burger restaurant in Boston, that order can get you an awesome dinner in downtown Boston for $30 before tax and tip.
For $15, you can get the “Backyard Burger.” It’s just a normal cheeseburger complete with American cheese. But the beef simply sings and leaves your mouth tasting like a cookout. It takes all the classic elements of a burger and celebrates them, instead of trying to gussy them up.
For $6, you can get what’s labeled as “Just Fries.” They’re, well, just fries. But they’re awesome fries, coming out crispy, hearty and flavorful (along with two types of house-made ketchup).
Then for $9, you can get the “Oreo Crème Brûlée Shake,” which at first glance does seem like a needlessly fancy spin on a milkshake. Against all odds, it was one of the tastiest, best-balanced milkshakes I’ve had in a while. Thank goodness for that, because it’s the only permanent dessert item on the menu.
Is it ideal to pay $6 extra for fries? Not really. But considering it costs $65 for the Beef Wellington at Ramsay’s other restaurant in Boston, this is a pretty good rate for a celebrity chef establishment.
What it’s like to eat at Gordon Ramsay Burger
As opposed to its sister restaurant, Ramsay’s Kitchen at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Gordon Ramsay Burger is pretty approachable. Ramsay’s Kitchen was booked out for months when it first opened and it had some pretty steep prices.
This new burger joint? According to the staff, it’s been on the quiet side in terms of business (though, that could change when Celtics and Bruins seasons kick off). For now, walk-ins look pretty easy.
Gordon Ramsay Burger is located between Faneuil Hall and Haymarket as part of the Canopy by Hilton Hotel, putting it right in a nice walkable area downtown. You’ve got your standard modern gastropub setup downstairs with booths and high chairs. But upstairs, there’s a nifty rooftop bar with a nice view of the surroundings.
The menu is on the smaller side, focusing on fewer options and really knocking them out of the park. The burgers range from $15 for the standard burger to $21 for the specialty burger of the month.
There are options for appetizers like street corn dip, spicy wings, onion rings, nachos (ranging from $12-$17). You’ve also got some token salad options, including a $15 Caesar Salad ($6 extra for chicken) and an $18 “Hellfire Chicken Salad.”
In terms of drinks, you’ve got a serviceable amount of options for beer, wine, cocktails, mocktails and sodas. There are four beers on tap, plus more options in cans. There’s also a small-but-solid collection of cocktails (all $15) and mocktails (all $12).
But let’s be real. The move here is to get a burger and fries -- and maybe a shake.
OK, so how good are these burgers? Here’s what I tried out when I went to visit during the late lunch window:
Backyard Burger ($15)
(American cheese, bibb lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles)
This isn’t something I expected from a Gordon Ramsay restaurant: a traditional American cheeseburger served on a metal tray on parchment paper. But boy am I glad I got this.
The first thing that stood out about this burger (which was ordered medium) was that it really nailed juicy elements you look for in a burger. The way the patty was seasoned and cooked really makes the beef stand out and join the chorus of flavors you get when you bite in.
It wasn’t overloaded with toppings or sauce. In fact, this burger didn’t have any sort of sauce on it (which may be an issue if you order it more well-done). This actually makes for impressive moisture management. Even after sitting a bit, the bun never got soggy.
You can taste the beef, the cheese, the veggies, the brioche-style bun. It was impressive how well each of the individual components stood out. You can also taste this overall buttery taste that lays a flavor foundation for each bite.
But above all, you taste the beef, with that smoky flavor from the meat lingering in your mouth after each bite.
Hell’s Kitchen Burger ($17)
(Mozzarella, roasted jalapeño, avocado, roasted tomato)
At first glance, I thought this was an instance of a celebrity chef getting too fancy with asinine avant-artistry. But when I took a bite, it all made sense. The ingredients aren’t there to be outlandish, they’re they because they play well together.
The flavors are savory and creamy, with the sweetness from the roasted veggies on top doing wonders. Because the jalapeño and tomato are roasted, they’re easy to bite through. As opposed to a lot of burgers, where solid topping have a tendency to shift around or slip, the Hell’s Kitchen Burger lets to take nice, clean tasty bites as you take crisp cross-sections with every chomp.
The burger isn’t overly spicy. But there is a background of heat. Meanwhile that spice and the acid breakup all the carbs and protein to make a delightfully balanced burger.
Just Fries ($6)
These fries are awesome. They’re hearty, crisp, light and tasty. The way they were fried left the potato pillars with this airy coating that breaks down into little crunchy crystals of flavor when you bite in, with the fluffy interior providing some wonderful flavor.
There wasn’t a bad fry in the bunch. The thick, long fries were just as crispy as the thin edge pieces.
You get two types of ketchup with a side of fries. The first is a house ketchup that tastes very much like a tomato-forward BBQ sauce. The second is a chipotle ketchup that is heavier on the vinegar and the heat.
Oreo Crème Brûlée Shake ($9)
At first glance, this shake sounds over the top. But I’d come back to get this again and again.
The bulk of the shake consists of a standard cookies-and-creme milkshake that’s topped with what they call a “crème brûlée pudding,” which is a delicious vanilla custard that has some torched sugar on top. You also get whipped cream and an Oreo cookie -- because what’s a $9 milkshake without flashy toppings?
The shake is thick, but not icy or chunky. You can scoop it up with a straw or spoon. But you can also sip it cleanly through the thick straw.
One note: The shake does pass the “Can you dip a fry in it?” test.
Shake passes the fry test
Thick. But not icy or chunky. You can scoop it with the straw, but also sip through it.
So, is it worth eating there?
This isn’t a particularly cheap restaurant. But then again, few restaurants in downtown Boston are. If I was near Government Center, Haymarket, Faneuil Hall or the aquarium, I’d put this high on the list of places I’d visit.
The final word
I visited Gordon Ramsay Burger at 1 p.m. on Thursday. I was surprised to see so much space in the dining room (though the roof area was more popular). It looks like you can pretty easily get a walk-in table (at least if you’re away from peak hours). That’s a stark contrast from the reservation bonanza that surrounded the opening of Ramsay’s Kitchen.
Forget the whole “celebrity chef” aspect. This is a solid choice for a lunch or dinner if you’re in the area.
“I ate it so you don’t have to” is a regular food column looking at off-beat eats, both good and bad. It runs every other Thursday-ish at noon-ish.
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