Miss Portland Diner is one of those classic places that serves up exactly what you’d expect – nostalgia and comfort food.

Burger from Miss Portland Diner

In spades.

When I crave meatloaf and gravy, an Irish benedict, or a slice of pie, I mosey over to the historic Worcester Lunch Car on Marginal Way.   I’ve always enjoyed my hearty, homemade meals at Miss Portland – to the point of developing a soft spot for the peculiar, open-faced haddock reuben (huge hunk of lightly breaded fish, classic thousand island dressing, a craven covering of melted cheese).

The food isn’t great. But it is good – and plentiful.

So, I felt I was on solid footing choosing Miss Portland as my “diner destination” in round one of a food blogger series on burgers (click here for details and links to other reviews).

Unfortunately, the burgers seem to be the least homemade thing on the Miss Portland menu. Here are my impressions:

The Meat:
Billed as sirloin, the meat patty was high quality if a tad overcooked for my medium-rare order. Forgoing cheese (in order to really taste the cow), I found there just wasn’t much to taste. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, it offered nothing to either complain or rave about. I doubt it was hand-rolled in the kitchen with bread crumbs and spices.

The Fixins:
One fridge-flavored, color-sapped tomato and two leaves of romaine added nothing, so I soon pulled them off.

The Bun:
A standard burger bun, it was a step above most grocery store fare, but essentially boring white bread. Full of air and, again, kinda tasteless.  When I ditched it and snagged one of my meatloaf munching companion’s fresh, warm dinner rolls – it was as if night had turned into day. A slightly larger version of the dinner roll would elevate this burger into “pretty good” territory.

The Sides:
Miss Portland’s 1/3 pound sirloin burgers cost $6.50 and come with a pickle and a choice of chips or cole slaw. An upgrade to French fries costs $.75. After a quick glance at the recently frozen crinkle-cut numbers a table over – I stuck with the chips.

The Bottom Line: Go to Miss Portland – get that haddock reuben, the chicken pie, a hot turkey dinner – or whatever is on special. If you need a hunk of beef, I can highly recommend the meatloaf. Just don’t bother with the burgers.

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