Charcoal (#249, 2/25/13) – 47

I don’t like to wait long before checking out new burger joints; and this time, it took me about 11 days to get to Charcoal on Magazine Street (at intersection of Jackson). I linked into their Facebook as their official website is pretty much worthless.

I was pretty excited to check this place out as it has some very interesting sounding burger – bison, to start with, always like a good bison burger, but also venison, elk and antelope. Crazy. I’ll probably pass on the deer, but I’ve never eaten those other creatures and I sure want to. Having said that, for my first trip, I figured I was best off going for a bison burger so I could properly evaluate it.

And it turns out it was….okay. Paying $15 for a burger is a bit crazy, and in this case, it was more bread than meat; and it probably could have been cooked a little more. I opted for the Hawaiian Sweet bun, just too much bread and the patty itself wasn’t substantial. So an average burger, not a good start at a “gourmet burger bar.” They do have sweet potato tater tots which I thought were quite good. Also homemade chips come with each burger and they were decent. So out of 50 possible points on food, I will give this a 25, for average (probably loses points due to high prices – Cowbell burger is much better and cheaper, with fries).

Atmosphere was not impressive at all. They have bar-style seating along the walls and against the counter and it’s not that comfortable – seemed pretty crowded in general. It didn’t seem to have any “feel” to it at all. Just a neutral place – I hear they have an upstairs area, which was closed, so I’m not sure if that’s better. I’m going with a little below average for atmosphere, so 12 out of 30.

The service was pretty bad – though being so knew, I can understand struggles. You order at the counter, then find an open seat. Keep in mind, you need to get a clipboard to fill out your order in advance. Of course, the clipboards are at the counter, so you can wait in line for 10-15 minutes, then realize you have to fill out the paper, which holds everyone up even longer. The women I dealt with at the register struggled quite a bit, but made it through. I would recommend they get some sort of self-service screens and let people enter their order themselves, then pay at the end. I see no reason this wouldn’t work. Anyway, service, I’ll go with 10 out of 20 (and only that high due to new-restaurant benefit-of-the-doubt).

Final total: 47.

25. February 2013 by Sudsbury
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