Friday, March 5, 2010
If you wanted to show a foreign exchange student the essence of the U.S. via food, you would bring them to Plan B Burger Bar in West Hartford for its beer, burgers, and bourbon trifecta. The Burger Bar, perhaps more aptly called a Burger Temple, is a glowing tribute to the All-American classic, and produces a variety of burgers where the emphasis is on the holistic subtlety of the meat and toppings. Not one flavor stands out in any of their custom burger compositions. Instead, all of the components complement each other to form a harmonious and understated gestalt. The focus of the burgers is the actual patty, which scores high marks all areas and are themselves magnificent testaments to the potential of ground meat. Thus, dining at Plan B is a pilgrimage for the hamburger purist.
The characteristic subtlety is also true of their fries. They use a fine cut for their fries and consistently accomplish a crispy texture, never soggy. The Truffle Fries offer a hint of truffle flavor, although not as powerful as we had hoped. The Parmesan fries are a textural sensation, but without the true Parmesan flavor we craved. The Disco Fries, however, Plan B's take on Canadian poutine, is the overall winner in our book. How Plan B manages to create a delicate dish out of the traditionally messy combo of French fries, gravy, and cheese sauce is bewildering, but we sure are happy they've done it. Plan B also offers tater-tots, sweet potato fries, green bean fries (basically green beans flash fried), onion rings, and side salads. We've sampled a few items from their appetizer menu, including what amounted to blue cheese nachos, and we've never been disappointed (except by the fact that we usually can't finish our burgers!).
If you're a hamburger buff, you really need no other reason to go, but for all those who aren't convinced, there is also a rotating seasonal beer menu (domestic beers only), a few vegetarian options, a few diet-conscious options, large salads, a mac & cheese that is to die for, and an atmosphere that is at the same time humble and sophisticated, making Plan B good for a quick bite or a night out.
Renee’s go-to burger is the New Englander, an all beef burger topped with lobster, smoked gouda, roasted onions and a corn spread. She says that the sweetness of the lobster offers a surprising balance to the beef patty. Scott prefers the Cuban (ground pork, bacon, spicy mustard, cheddar and pickles on a grilled bun) and the Squeeler (a half pork, half beef patty with bacon, cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomato, mustard, and mayo).
3 things we like:
1. The variety of options for burgers, fries, sides, and a rotating beer menu means endless possibilities and endless excuses to go back.
2. The atmosphere of the restaurant is both upscale and laid-back.
3. When Renee is babysitting in West Hartford, she can always lure Scott to come visit by offering to go to Plan B.
3 things we don't like:
1. The name sounds like an emergency contraceptive.
2. Food (including meat patty) tends to be undersalted. Fear not, Plan B chefs! Salting the burger will not destroy the taste of the meat! See this very important article for more information.
3. Scott understands the whole Americana themes but thinks it wouldn't kill them to offer a few import beers. Every once and a while, burgers call for a Guinness.
Will we go back?
Well, we pretty much go all the time. :)
Plan B Burger Bar
138 Park Road
West Hartford, CT
http://www.planbburger.com/flash.html Check out their menu and awards! Yum!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Shabu Tatsu, East Village
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Please open up a restaurant that has a decent raw bar. Scott and I have recently become really addicted, and we are tired of traveling to West Hartford (Max's Oyster House) and NYC. Also, we tried to open our own clams from Big Y ourselves and I almost cut my hand off.
Renee & Scott
Umberto's Clam House, Arthur Ave, Bronx
Friday, March 27, 2009
Here at Waterbury Foodies, we like to paint a picture of a socially and culturally diverse Waterbury. But every once in a while, things happen that make us curse the very city of our birth, and last night was no exception. Scott was dying for Los Arcos tacos, so we stopped by to see our good friend Paula. We hadn't been in a while, both because we are on diets and because I was in Ecuador. The outside looked a little different, and when we went inside, we realized that Los Arcos was no more, the family was forced to sell the business. No more tacos, no more chats with Paula and the kids, no more mole. The new owners were selling only some groceries, no fresh food. I was so upset that I almost cried. Although I no longer had an appetite, Scott suggested that we go to the Peruvian Corner to cheer me up. Approaching the Peruvian Corner, I noticed unfamiliar colors...A PUERTO RICAN BAKERY?!?! This one was a real shocker. I knew Los Arcos was struggling, but the Peruvian Corner was hands down one of the best restaurants in Waterbury. I WAS DEVASTATED. I know I should be at least thankful that they have been replaced by other cultural food places, but it kills me to see them go. You can argue that the economy is to blame, and it is, in part. But what I will never understand about Waterbury is why places like that fail so miserably, meanwhile there are lines outside of Chili's and The Olive Garden. It actually disgusts me. Do people not appreciate real food and diversity? How could the Olive Garden even EXIST in a city with the largest Italian American population in the state and more Italian restaurants than you can shake a fist at? I cannot for the life of me understand the mentality. Are people afraid to try something new? What is wrong with this city that it falls into the trap of commercialization, chain restaurants, and a billion cell phone stores, all the while letting local businesses suffer? It really makes me ill. And do you know what makes me even more ill? Last night we ended up eating at Brass City Bistro, which is celebrating its one year anniversary. We ordered 1 drink each and two appetizers, and it cost us $50, which is about 6 times what we would have spent at Los Arcos for a much better and more filling dinner. Additionally, Brass City Bistro is not even a bistro, it's horrendously overpriced. The food was decent, but their menu was EXACTLY THE SAME as every other Vasi's/Mario's/Bacco's/Diorio's/Nino's/San Marino's/Gagliardi's/Aldo's of Italy/City Hall Cafe/Ragozzino's/D'Amelio's/Paisano's/La Tavola/Grotto's/Bertucci's/Pizza Castle/Carmen Anthony's. BRANCH OUT, PEOPLE. With minor exceptions and slight variation, these places all have THE SAME MENU. Is no one else's palate sick of it?
Okay, phew, I'm glad I got that out. And BCB, sorry for hating on your restaurant, your food was actually pretty tasty (or what I could afford of it anyway) and your waitstaff was gracious and helpful. You just caught me at the worst possible moment, at the height of my frustration with the Waterbury food scene and commerce culture. Tonight I will dust myself off and try to get excited about Waterbury food again...
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
If you can't find Ecuadorian food near you, you can always make your own! I suggest you visit one of my very favorite food blogs, which has loads of great Ecuadorian recipes and mouth-watering photos: http://laylita.com/recipes/