Sleeper burger at Burwell’s

The $16 burger and fries -- or, as a server called it, fries and burger -- at Burwell's Stonefire Grill (Hanna Raskin)

The Charleston area isn’t exactly hurting for burgers.

Not only is the city the birthplace of the Husk burger, which routinely turns up on lists of the best burgers in the country, but it’s the rare restaurant that opens here without a burger on its menu: Seven out of the last 10 restaurants I’ve reviewed serve a burger (and two of the outliers specialize in Asian food.)

So it’s not entirely surprising that a few excellent burgers escape public notice. For example, I never thought to try the burger at Burwell’s Stonefire Grill until Sean Mendes of Roadside Seafood told me two people with palates he trusts recommended it to him.

I’ve had a few burger disappointments lately. I finally had an opportunity to try the vaunted Two Boroughs Larder burger, and am nearly certain I caught the kitchen on an off-day. The Bibb lettuce was fresh, and the mornay sauce was as rich as any glutton could wish, but the patty itself was off-puttingly mushy. I always order my steaks rare, but I’m not sold on undercooked ground beef. In addition to posing a real food safety risk, a patty that’s bright pink throughout usually can’t stand up to all of the toppings piled on it, physically or flavor-wise.

Burwell’s serves a very different burger. When I ordered it, the bartender beamed: “It’s great,” she said, bringing the number of endorsements from strangers to three.

At Burwell’s the burger is made from ground steak, so it’s slightly leaner than most. It’s topped with a fully-melted slice of provolone and an orderly collection of three sautéed mushroom slices and two purple onion strands; the bun, also minimally finished, sports about two dozen sesame seeds.

Perhaps the bun was a mite thicker and firmer than I prefer, but I have zero complaints about the burger itself, which was beautifully crusted, beefy and seasoned in such a way that it tasted of black pepper, but not overwhelmingly so. It’s definitely a burger worth trying, even if your next burger is only a meal or two away.