>> Monday, April 18, 2011
This burger is probably the most expensive burger in Boston.
Ringing in at a whopping $19, it beats out Craigie on Main’s famous $18 grass-fed beef bone marrow burger. Its price also blows away other very very famous burgers in the Boston area, such as Bartley’s (around $10), R.F. O’Sullivan’s (around $8), and burgers from top notch steakhouses (Smith & Wollensky’s prime steak burgers, for example, are a bargain at $13).
Is Michael Schlow’s unique burger, piled high with fried onion strings and dressed with horseradish, worth it? Of course there was only one way to find out.
We took a seat at the trendy bar on a cold, blustery winter evening in mid-February. Though we were keen on trying the burger, we decided to use this unique opportunity to try a variety of Michael Schlow’s dishes.
Though Radius is often cited for its burger, it actually stands strongly on its own right for its entire menu.
Here's just a bit of background. Chef owner Michael Schlow opened up Radius as his first restaurant back in 1999 after training extensively in New York. Within a year, Schlow won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef in the Northeast.” Early on, Radius was recognized as one of the top 25 Best American Restaurants by Gourmet, as well as “Best New Restaurant” by Food and Wine.
To get a sampling of the entire restaurant, we decided to try a mix of bar menu items as well as items off the dinner menu (all available at the bar).
Fancy Schmancy Popcorn with togarashi butter ($5), Tasting of Adrienne's Pickles ($6), and Amuse Bouche of a fruity shooter and a tiny bite.
For fun, we began with some starters that looked interesting. The togarashi butter popcorn was priced reasonably at $5, although we found it to be just a bit soggy from the slight over-use of melted butter. Adrienne’s pickles were a delight – we had never tasted pickled cauliflower before and were pleasantly surprised by how much we liked it. The pickled beets were excellent as well.
Handmade Potato Gnocchi - braised rabbit, wild mushroom, celeriac, fines herbs ($18)
The rabbit potato gnocchi (from the regular dinner menu) was flawlessly executed and one of my favorite dishes of the evening. We loved the rich, earthy flavors of the rabbit and mushroom sauce. The freshly made gnocchi also had incredible texture - pillowly soft yet slightly resistant at the same time. I couldn't stop eating it.
"The Burger" - Vermont cheddar, crispy onions, horseradish sauce ($19)
The famous burger was absolutely delicious - perfectly-cooked, juicy, and very flavorful. The onion strings provided an added dimension of flavor as well as a satisfying crispiness to each bite. Bryan loved the strong horseradish sauce, which gave the burger a wonderfully hefty kick.
Vegetables 5 Ways - our changing plate of fresh and originally prepared vegetables ($32)
I'm not much of a meat eater, so I decided to try the "Vegetable 5-ways" off of the regular menu. Personally, this was my least favorite item on the menu. I thought the "soba" with dipping sauce was a bit too salty, and many of the other tastes were only "alright." Overall, this was not worth the $32 price tag. I'd skip this and order something else next time.
Pilon de Chocolat - bittersweet chocolate cone, fenugreek ice cream, peanuts, raisins, caramel ($12)
The waiter highly recommended this dessert, which we both thought was solid.
Overall Initial Thoughts
Bryan and I had a great time chilling at the bar at Radius. The ambiance at the restaurant is elegant yet relaxed at the same time. I like how you can choose to just have a simple drink, a casual burger, or the most expensive entree off the dinner menu - the choice is totally yours. Although we only tried a few dishes from the dinner menu, we can see that the overall quality of the food at Radius is excellent. Chef Schlow and his team are clearly good at their craft and execute some pretty incredible dishes. If you're a burger fan and you love horseradish, you have to try this burger. I would also highly recommend the rabbit gnocchi, one of the best dishes we had that night.
If Radius were just a bit closer, I could totally see this becoming a regular haunt. Alas, it's a bit far from our place in Cambridge, so we'll just have to save it for the times we find ourselves in the city.
Highly recommended - looking forward to going back again.
8 High St
Boston, MA 02110