When I think of a neighborhood restaurant I think of a relaxed atmosphere, consistently good food, and a good selection of beers. So that is probably why, even before I moved to CT, Plan B Burger Bar in West Hartford was one of my favorite places for a casual night out. The menu has lots of comfort food options, but the burgers are the #1 draw.
The burgers at Plan B are the best I've ever had, and the flavor of the meat is incredible. This is because they grind their own meat for the burgers, and use only beef that has no chemicals, hormones and is certified humane. Their beers on draught change often - but they always have a great mix of craft beers (and will let you taste test if you aren't sure what you'd like).
When Rafe and I usually go - we always get the same things....We each get our preferred burgers, he gets parmesan fries and I get truffle fries, and we generally leave full and jolly. On a more recent trip however, we used a Groupon and decided it would be a great opportunity to try some new things.
If you live in the area and haven't tried the mac and cheese you're missing out. The Mac and Jack with pulled pork and barbecue sauce is outstanding. And for someone like me, who loves anything inside a cast iron french oven - the presentation of the pasta inside a staub coccote had me erupting in squeals of joy that drew an amused look from our waitress.
The rich cheesy sauce enveloped every noodle with salty, savory goodness - while the barbecue sauce provided sweet smokey notes, and the pork gave an earthy richness. Sometimes frustrated by restaurant macaroni and cheeses with too much or too little cheese sauce - I felt like Goldilocks when I thought to myself - 'this is just right'.
Another dish that is very 'hit or miss' at restaurants are the french fries....floppy, burnt, and undersalted fries plague my dining experiences. But the golden, handcut, parmesan fries were crisp and flavorful. I don't recall even reaching for ketchup - they were perfect.
Then there was the burger. It's something I know Plan B Burger bar does well and this trip did not dissapoint. A perfect burger is rare (get it?) which you may know if you follow Katie's search for the best burger in Boston - I wish there was a Plan B in the Boston metro area, because then she wouldn't have to look any further. (Katie, come visit)
I ordered the blue cheese burger. There are two options for doneness - no pink, and some pink. I went with some pink (of course). My burger came with a slightly pink hue, smothered in caramelized onions, blue cheese, and bourbon barbecue sauce.
Both meals split down the middle, and washed down with a Whale's Tale for me, a Brooklyn Lager for him, this trip to Plan B ended like many that came before: Two full and happy customers, walking to their car with delight that only the perfect casual meal can bring. No pretense, but perfectly executed comfort food is what Plan B is all about.