It’s Part II in our look at the three latest entrants in our local designer burger wars. Last week we checked in on the new Shula Burger in West Delray, next week we’ll tackle Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack in Boca Raton. This week, though, it’s the patty purveyor from Chicago chef Allen Sternweiler in Boca’s mammoth Town Center mall.
Butcher & the Burger is at once the most upscale (in terms of price) and the least comfortable (in terms of amenities). It’s just a counter like all the other counters in mall’s cavernous and excruciatingly noisy food court, which means unless you’re getting your burger to go, you have to find a seat in the midst of what resembles a rugby scrum and eat amid a cacophony that can cause your ears to bleed.
The roster of burgers and burger bling is nothing if not ambitious. Along with your regular patty there’s Wagyu beef, bison, turkey, chicken and vegan, with a choice of four different buns, spices from steakhouse and salt and pepper to umami and coconut-curry-honey, assorted cheeses and sauces, and “extras” like truffled mayo, caramelized onion and duck egg.
I stuck with the basics: Butcher burger, cheddar cheese, mustard and mayo, and LTO. It’s a sizeable patty, at least 1/3 pound, cooked a proper medium-rare (essential, to my mind) and with real beefy flavor, as close to a good home-made burger as you’ll find in a “fast casual” eatery.
The catch is the price: $8.95. Not that it isn’t worth it; you can pay more for less in plenty of fancy white-tablecloth restaurants. But when you throw in some fries (pretty good ones, btw) and a drink you’re pushing $15 bucks, which to eat in what feels like the fast lane of I-95 in the middle of Friday rush hour seems like an awful lot. Sorry, I just don’t see it.