Left at the Fork

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Savenor’s Butcher Shop, Cambridge MA

REVIEW

Savenor’s Butcher Shop of Cambridge, MA is not listed on any “Best Burger in Boston” list. You won’t find it on one of those sprawling “Best Burgers in New England” lists from some obscure blog that pops up on your Facebook feed. They don’t even have the best burger in America. What they do have, however, is this: Savenor’s has the best burger in the universe. And it’s only available on Fridays (and now Saturdays) from noon to 3 p.m.

The Special burgers rotate weekly, but this one is traditionally topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion.

The Classic burger, with Savenor’s tangy pimento cheese mousse and magnificent English muffin bun

We’re not kidding. We love burgers more than many things in life, and this is the best burger we’ve ever eaten in our lives, and we’ve eaten it five times so far. It’s the type of burger that after the first bite, you immediately realize its potential. After the second bite—taken much more slowly and gingerly this time—you start to wonder what makes this burger so darn good. Halfway through, you mentally rearrange the list of all the great burgers you’ve had and place Savenor’s in the top bracket. With two bites left, you start to get sad because you know that this transcendent eating experience is coming to a close. And as you savor the final morsel, you know that this is your life’s best burger and that Savenor’s is a very, very special place.

New Orleans purists will scoff at this muffuletta, made with bologna and mortadella, but the focaccia bread and relish push it over the top for picnics or simple noshing around town.

New Orleans purists will scoff at this muffuletta, made with bologna and mortadella, but the focaccia bread and relish push it over the top for picnics or simple noshing around town.

Taste memories of that burger haunt you all day: the luxurious texture of the beef, its perfect on-the-rare-side-of-medium-rare chewiness, the tang of the cheese, the crunch of the grilled bun. You wake up the next day, thinking about that burger and why you didn’t order a second one. Would it have been overkill? Too much of a truly great thing? More importantly, how quickly can I get back to Savenor’s to have another?

The house pastrami is tender and delicious, even if it’s a bit light underneath a mantle of sauerkraut.

The house pastrami is tender and delicious, even if it’s a bit light underneath a mantle of sauerkraut.

But what makes it so good? The key to the highest quality is their beef: it is USDA Prime, and it’s ground with butter. This is not a Wisconsin butter burger, which is cooked in butter then topped with butter. You can actually see the shreds of butter in the uncooked patties—which, of course, they sell to take home. The butter keeps the meat extra juicy, and they’ve even solved the problem of juices dribbling down your chin or on your shirt with the bun. It’s a homemade English muffin from Stone & Skillet in nearby Medford, and it perfectly absorbs the juices for a virtually unmessy meal.

Savenor’s was Julia Child’s butcher during the eleven-year run of her TV show The French Chef. Fans can see her “Bon Appetit JC” message scrawled in the sidewalk near the store.

Savenor’s was Julia Child’s butcher during the eleven-year run of her TV show The French Chef. Fans can see her “Bon Appetit JC” message scrawled in the sidewalk near the store.

The Classic boasts house pimento cheese mousse and smoked tomato aioli, while their Specials rotate weekly. One time, we had the 10-cheese blend, lettuce, tomato & onion; another time we enjoyed caramelized onions with gochujang & miso aioli. They also make noteworthy grab-and-go sandwiches: the pastrami (house brisket with bacon remoulade, provolone, sauerkraut) is excellent, as is their loose interpretation of a New Orleans muffaletta (bologna, mortadella, summer sausage, provolone with olive-cauliflower relish).

The only miss is their housemade pickles (which comes with each burger), which are nowhere near as scrumptious as those from local brand Grillo’s Pickles—which, sadly, they don’t carry. They do stock, however, sundry gourmet items, like Queen Charlotte Pimento Cheese from North Carolina, that’re sure to titillate your palate as much as their burger does.

Savenor’s Butcher Shop is open Tuesday thru Saturday, 11:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

92 Kirkland Street
Cambridge MA 02138
617-576-6328
Savenor’s Butcher Shop’s Website
Savenor’s Butcher Shop on Facebook

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BEST THING TO EAT: Classic Burger

4 Comments

  1. Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle

    October 19, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Butter ground into the beef – great idea! Those burgers look amazing, especially the one topped with pimento cheese. A pimento-topped burger in MA!

    • Seriously! Pimento cheese is definitely NOT what I expected on this burger. But the patty is so incredible that literally any topping is going to work well with it.

  2. Wow! On the list for my next visit!

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