There’s a reason you hear people groaning in agony at Alden and Harlow during dinner. No, there’s no anguish-inducing sporting event on TV; people are bummed that they’ve sold out of the burger. The Secret Burger — ironic in every way, as it has a prime spot on the menu, and fails to be discreet among patrons — is actually not the crown jewel of Chef Michael Scelfo’s award-winning Harvard Square hot-spot. However, it’s the one that keeps you (and me) up at night, after being lucky enough to score an order during dinner service.
The restaurant only makes a specific number of the burger, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s not unlikely, come 5 p.m., the burger will no longer be available, and you’ll be stuck pouting over a plate of their ubiquitous kale salad and chicken fried local rabbit instead. (Both are excellent, so this isn’t totally sad.)
Scelfo divulged in great detail the secrets of the not-so-secret Burger to Boston Magazine a while back, erotically describing the pillowy Parker House roll-inspired house baked bun and the brisket short-rib-beef plate blend that makes up the patty in a way that makes my mouth water. But it’s really just the divine wholesome and satisfying nature of that burger — with special sauce, pickles and Cabot cheese, like the burger you’d make in your backyard, but way better — that forces me to be “that person” who goes to a James Beard semifinalist’s restaurant and orders a burger.
I really wouldn’t have it any other way.