Review Date: 10/19/15
Visit Dates: (09/30/15) (10/13/15)
A coveted corner location in downtown Lynn is the unlikely choice for Rossetti Restaurant, the expansion of a Winthrop classic. The cuisine is uncomplicated old school Italian, but the space is as modern as that area gets, with dim lighting, an open kitchen and understated decor.
Rossetti Restaurant is also plunked mere steps away from and practically centered between two much discussed burger destinations: gastropub Blue Ox (modern food, old school digs, three straight Burger Battle wins) and RF O'Sullivan's (a Somerville import, spherical patties, 20-minute cook times). So who'd guess the red sauce joint would have arguably the most ambitious and arguably the best burger of the three?
Say what you want about the Phantom Gourmet as far as recommendations go (I discard them completely), but the restaurant segments often showcase hidden gems. Their video of the Rossetti burger immediately placed it high atop my want list. It's also placed high atop their own menu as "The Burger," an object of pride and not just an obligatory nod to the current burger fad.
My burger reviews often talk about the very different kinds of buns all lumped under the brioche umbrella. Some are light and airy; others are dense. This one is somewhere in the middle but closer to the denser variety—or perhaps there's an illusion of denseness based on the diameter larger than that of the patty. The bun is of high quality, only faintly sweet, fresh and lightly toasted without butter. Some well-received feedback to chef Bobby Rossetti regarding the diameter discrepancy on visit 1 translates to a correction on visit 2. Good ratio this time and great feel in the hands.
Flown in from the west coast, the beef blend is a heady mix of Wagyu chuck, choice short rib and filet mignon tails—the result of exhaustive experimentation and refinement. The exterior gets a well formed crust from the grill, while the interior is pink (spot-on medium rare both times), tender and leaking juices. The grind is loose and the texture is very gentle, lending a perfect bite. Seasoning isn't all that noticeable on visit 1, but there's enough going on with the strong beefiness and toppings that it's a minor infraction. Ditto the pendulum-swinging barrage of salt on visit 2. Heavy salt or no salt, this is a very compelling piece of beef.
The caramelized onions grab immediate attention, even before the plate hits the table. Fittingly, they're given just as much attention from the kitchen, spending much time cooking down to unleash their natural sweetness, enhanced ever so slightly with Balsamic vinegar. Though not called such, they impart every bit as much flavor as the so-in-vogue onion jam. Bacon is a twisting and turning addition that's on the brink of underdone on visit 1 and further from the brink on visit 2. It's soft enough to yield the textural stage to the beef while bringing saltiness and cure to the equation. The cheese is aged Vermont cheddar: fully melted on visit 1, partially melted on visit 2 and both times supplying just the right nudge to accentuate the beef.
Arriving in a tall cone, the fries are equally tall on flavor: potato, Parmesan, garlic and truffle oil. A little too strong for me, but some will love them. With all those additions, they're still fairly crisp.
The atmosphere (dim lighting, candles) makes Rossetti Restaurant a great choice for a date. When reserving, be sure to convey your choice of a table in the rear dining room to avoid the too-close-for-comfort deuces in front.
The presentation of the burger on a cutting board and the fries in a deep cone brings enough class that you won't have to worry about looking sheepish ordering a burger in an Italian restaurant.
The Bottom Line
An under-the-radar burger with a couple of minor flaws, but the irresistible beef flavor, juices, onions and overall harmony of ingredients make "The Burger" at Rossetti Restaurant one of the better burgers I've had this year.
Phantom Gourmet video of Rossetti Restaurant (burger at 2:13)
Yelp reviews of Rossetti Restaurant
Zomato reviews of Rossetti Restaurant
Tabelog reviews of Rossetti Restaurant
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