Anger and Disappointment: Grass Fed

A few months after my original review (below), this time in January 2013, I tried Grass Fed for a second time because my new foodie girlfriend was curious. They still insisted they are unable to cook burgers to less that medium. Perhaps we shouldn't have ordered it takeout. When we called, the girl who took our order told us it'd be ready in 15 minutes. We got there in 5 minutes and then waited 5 more minutes to go in, so that we'd be only 5 minutes early. When I walked in and inquired, my bag of food was already sitting on the counter.

"Oh the takeout order? The takeout order... Oh, hello, yeah, it's right here. That'll be $20.05."

It seemed to me like our food had already been sitting there for a bit. Long enough at least that it wasn't immediately on her mind. I mention this because the burgers were not just not a good use of meat this time, they actually tasted bad. They tasted like old burgers. It reminded me of the premise to the old TV show Teen Angel (TGI Friday Nights, what what!) Thank god we didn't wait the full 15 minutes she suggested. So, a tip to takeout places, especially those with really time sensitive dishes: Ere on the side of fucking underestimating how long it'll take! I would much rather wait on a chair for a few minutes than receive my food ten minutes after it was ready.

The Classic Cheeseburger with caramelized onions added - $6 - The inside of this burger is brown (as well as cold!). I would like to refer the Grass Fed cooks to this chart:

The Cali Burger - $6.75 - "5oz of grassfed beef with avocado, pepper jack cheese, mesclun, shaved red onion & cilantro-lime aioli," with jalapenos added - Again, brown and cold.

Left: Harissa Aioli - Pretty good, though not as good as Russell House Tavern's Harissa Aioli
Right: House Mayo - Wait, let's take a closer look.

Is this egg salad?
Let's recall the house made mayo I got the first time:

Where did this amazing house mayo go? Why did I receive some kind of bland egg salad? Had it curdled?

The truffle fries (small - $3) were good.

The Spicy Fry (small - $3) wasn't actually spicy or anything, but they were decent fries.

I recommend getting any or all of the fries, a side of whatever aiolis they've got on tap, and try your luck at house mayo roulette. Whatever you do, avoid the burgers.

Grass Fed on Urbanspoon

My mouth had been watering for weeks for its chance to make out with a hormone and antibiotic-free, grass fed, local, fresh (as in never presumably never frozen and explicitly ground on premises) all beef burger from the Ten Table's chick's new burger joint: Grass Fed (Jamaica Plain). I finally had my chance Monday afternoon.

Having read someone else's review who explained that his burger had been overcooked but that he'd thought it was partially his fault because, while they probably should've asked him how he wanted it cooked, he hadn't specified, I approached the counter prepared, "I'd like a Classic Burger - as rare as possible."

The Classic Burger - $7.50: 5 oz. of grass fed beef with shredded lettuce and diced onion

"Sorry, we can't accomodate special requests.  We serve all our burgers medium."

My blood pressure rose. Why would anyone commit such a heinous crime on beef in general, but more than that, what the fuck is the point of fresh grass fed beef if you scorch the thing and take all the flavor out? I had specifically come at lunch on a Monday so that it wouldn't be too busy in there to accommodate me. I looked around. It wasn't all that busy.

"Our burger patties are too thin," the cashier explained, "So we can't cook them less than medium like we can at our Ten Tables bar." So basically, if you want to be able to taste the burger, you have to pay $14 for it.

Face clinched, I said, "I.. I guess I'll still get one," just to review it. Fucking shit, I added mentally, What a goddam motherfucking waste of a cow.

A look inside the burger, which wasn't even pink at all.

I would've called this medium well at best. Sheesh. The burger patty was plenty thick enough to have been cooked rarer than this. I could've cried. It wasn't juicy at all. This kind of burger doesn't taste bad, you just can't really taste the good quality of the beef. It's disrespectful to the cow really. At least the potato bun was nice. Everyone loves a potato bun.

My lunch companion ordered a po boy with white fish. She lived in New Orleans for a while, where she ate lots of po boys, and she wanted to see how theirs compared. The cashier asked, "And do you want any toppings?"

"Well," my friend said, "What comes on it?"

"Just what the menu lists, so, the fish or the shrimp with cajun aioli. You have to add any other toppings you want."

"Really?" My friend was a bit incredulous since it was widely considered foolish in her New Orleans experience for people to order a po boy and not get it "dressed."

"Po Boys should really be as minimalist as possible," the cashier doled out this idea as if this was a "fact" she'd learned in college.

This claim of what should be on a po boy seemed particularly incongruous when one of the two things they apparently believe does belong on the sandwich is a "cajun aioli," as if you'd ever get such a foodied dressing on any kind of traditional po boy.

I've subsequently read a number of articles and opinions online about this, and it seems to me that either "dressed" or undressed are both traditional enough, with a leaning, if anything, toward dressed being the norm.  My friend, who had to defy the gospel of this cashier by ordering the apparently taboo dressings, was charged $.50 each for a bit of shredded iceberg and a few slices of tomato, one of which still had a bit of stem attached.

Fried Wild White Fish Po Boy - $10 + $1 for lettuce and tomato

All that being said, the po boy was delicious.  The fry was crispy, the fish juicy, the cajun aioli a wonderful, kickin' creamy delight.

It was hard to choose between truffle-parmesan fries, spicy fries, onion rings, and beet fries (there are also regular sea salt fries), but we finally settled on the beet fries for this trip.

Small order of beet fries - $3

Now these were the shit.  I love beets, so having little seasoned, parsleyed, fried, nuggety strips of them  was rad.  They were delicious.  They weren't all that crisp, but they're beets, so I wasn't really expecting them to be.  Anyway, I actually really like limp fries.

What did I dip them in, I hear you asking?

Boo yah! Cilantro Lime Aioli!

For $.25 you can get a side of this, or Horseradish Mayo, Homemade Tartar Sauce, and presumably also the Cajun Aioli, Harissa Aioli and House Made 1000 Island listed elsewhere in the menu.  The choice for the first visit (and probably on every subsequent visit in addition to whichever new ones I try), was obvious.  And it was not disappointing.  Oh man, I love a good aioli.

House Made Mayo

I guess because my burger would've come with mayo on it if I hadn't ordered a different sauce on the side, they also gave me a side of the mayo. Or maybe they throw mayo around all the time.  What I do know is that this shit was so good that I actually thought it was the cilantro aioli for an embarrassing three or four minutes. I fucking love me some good house made mayo.  Damn.  You just go on ahead and dip your fries and burgers in both of these.  Mm mm mm.

In all my excitement about my creamy sauces, I almost forgot about the sweet tooth-satisfying ones.

Out on the counters they've got pitchers and cups for water, ketchup, mustard, A10 Sauce, and a House Made BBQ Sauce.  I've heard of A1 Sauce (and am not a big fan of the tangy stuff), but never A10.  Having done a little research, I've come to the conclusion that they made this stuff too.

You can see from the random bull shit results, that A10 is not "a thing."

The House Made BBQ, though tasty, was a little sweet for my buds. I really enjoyed the A10 though. It had a little heat, a nice salty savoriness, and easy on the sweetness (like I like my women?).  

My lunchmate wanted to get down on one of their organic milk milkshakes. The choices are chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and creamsicle.

Chocolate, duh!

I downed some Lactaid and had a few sips.  It tasted good.  You could really taste the creamy milk.  The chocolate wasn't as rich as you might secretly hope for while you describe this as a more subtle, smoother chocolate.  My friend said she got ice crystals in some of her sips.  My sips were fine.  Would it ever be worth $5 to me to get a simple milkshake? Nah, you've gotta lure this asshole in with funky milkshakes involving ingredients I've never heard of or at least multiple flavors I've never thought to combine in one dish.

That being said, I totally wanna try their adult milkshakes.  They've got a salted caramel shake with vanilla ice cream, caramel vodka, a shot of aguavero tequila, sea salt, and whipped cream.  It's eleven fucking dollars, but still. Tequila in a salted caramel milk shake?  Interesting!  I'd like to think, "Oh I'll just do that at home some time instead of paying $11."  But you know you're never gonna fuckin' do that shit at home. Even if you do, you'll probably go easy on the tequila and heavy on the salt and fuck shit up. I want it.

Burger Rating: I guess a 6/10. Goddamn, I would love to have a go at a rare burger and see if I couldn't bump that up 2-4 points, but no burger cooked that much could ever be higher than a 6. That 6 is basically because I love potato buns.

They also do have a decent beer selection, though all bottles. Add to that five cans, four 22 oz. bottles, a cider, a non-alcoholic beer, and a gluten free beer (Estrella Damm's award-winning Daura - a lager from Spain), plus a dozen wines, artificial bullshit-free sodas and MEM teas, and they've just covered all the little bases, haven't they? Well played, Grass Fed, well played.

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