We needed a respite.
Katrin and I had spent a grueling morning wine tasting – fun certainly but work also. Since Sel de la Terre Back Bay was close at hand, we decided to eat there. A Groupon clinched the decision. It was a fortunate choice. We arrived after the lunch rush – there were just a few tables of diners, a few bar patrons. We were seated at a window overlooking Boylston St. – the streetscape somewhat gritty but always interesting. And we unwound from our busy morning. Sel de la Terre has been designed with comfort in mind. There is no decor crying out for attention – “Look at me! I’m so hip!” Rather the resto is done in warm, soothing colors – a very comfortable space. The staff, though somewhat young and perky, added to the feeling of calm. Katrin zeroed in on the burger; I followed suit. We both ordered the Quivera Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in wonderful Healdsburg, CA.
The menu description –
“SDLT burger: grilled New England ground beef, Vermont cheddar, crispy pancetta, spicy aïoli; rosemary pommes frites $14”
My assessment is as follows –
- The appearance. As the photo attests, the burger arrives at the table quite boldly – not hidden under a roll or garnishes.
- Temperature. The burger was ordered “Medium Rare” and came as such.
- Taste. Flavorful, juicy beef, seasoned and local to boot.
- The garnishes. Bacon is beloved by many, but the crispy pancetta – and it was quite crispy – added a more subtle pork element. The spicy aioli was just that, contributing a bit of heat. The cheese – not too much or too little – was perfectly melted.
- The roll. Sel de la Terre is famous for their boulangerie and why was shown in the house-made bulkie roll. The roll, made from a somewhat lean dough, stood up perfectly to the juicy burger.
- The sides. The burger came with the signature rosemary frites and a small salad of spring greens – baby arugula and frisee – and a several house-made pickles – all tasty.
- The price. This burger is priced at $14! In the Back Bay! In the shadow of the Mandarin Oriental! Obviously, a bargain.
- Perhaps this should be a “Pro” but there was actually too much food. I was unable to join the club. And incredibly, that’s the only negative for the SDLT burger.
Overall Assessment – A
As I wrote earlier, Katrin too ordered the burger. And her assessment? She stated that it’s possibly the best burger she’s ever eaten.