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Bukowski's, Inman

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Bukowski's, Inman

glenn | Jul 11, 2003 02:22 PM

Paid my first visit, last night, to the not-so-new-anymore Bukowski's that took over the Jae's space in Inman Square. I'd never been to the downtown Bukowski's, either, but one of the people I was with was very enthusiastic about it, and our original plan looked bad (Koreana, which was packed solid).

The menu basically has burgers and hot dogs on one side, and alternate pub-style food on the other one. Two of my companions had the grilled cheese sandwich, which looked fairly amazing. Another had the Reu-Burger (vaguely Reuben-esque), which was quite good. I had the Suzi Swiss and Pesto veggie burger, out of arguably misplaced health-enthusiasm, and was quite pleasantly surprised. Burger places sometimes do veggie burgers desultorily, as if they feel they ought to get credit for having them on the menu without having to actually cook and serve any, but this one tasted like they wanted me to be pleased I'd ordered it. Nicely melted cheese, a flavorful pesto, OK bun. Nothing to scare O'Sullivan's on pure burger terms, but solid for what it is.

Burgers come with fries, chips or mashed potatoes, and nearly everybody I was with opted for the mashed potatoes, which are also quite good. Creamy, and not too overloaded with anything. We also split a basket of very nice sweet potato fries, which were done in a thin, almost-shoe-string style, not too heavy either.

Next time I'll try some form of hot dog. There's a "sandwich" listed that involves, if I recall correctly, a hot dog, mashed potatoes, onions, shredded lettuce and maybe 1000-island dressing all rolled in a lavash.

The main downside of the experience was the noise. They seemed to steadily crank the music volume up over the hour and a half we were there, until they had it on so loudly that I could barely identify it (and it was an album I own), which made conversation a shouting exercise, and even with shouting at least two of our six people were left out at any point. I don't really understand the point of this. I suppose it was condusive to unaccompanied drinkers working themselves into self-pitying stupors, but I didn't actually see any of those in the restaurant at the time. The physical layout of the place is also strange, like they shoved some booths in in a big hurry and never got around to thinking through how they should really be arrayed. And service was pretty slow, even for prime dining hours on a Thursday.

Still, better burgers than you'll find anywhere else on that particular block. And very convenient to dessert at Christina's, where I can report that Gina's Mocha Explosion has lost none of its magic.

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