A&B Burger Compliments Beverly’s Restaurant Row.
By The BaldOne
On Monday we made a sudden decision to venture over to Cabot Street for a mid-afternoon lunch.
We had a place in mind that has a reputation as a good place for burger and a cold draft beer. We put on our hat to begin the journey.
On arrival we discovered that our desired destination is not open until 4 P. M. on Mondays. Cursing the fates we began a trek that ended up being much longer than planned. The journey took us from the one end of the Cabot Street “Restaurant Row” to the other, and then almost completely back. The myriad of choices on that stretch of downtown Beverly is impressive. It rivals Washington Street in Salem as far as the density of eateries, and easily surpasses it in length, and diversity of choices.
The arduous journey revealed more than twenty choices of a place to eat, however all but two of the standard American style places were lamentably scheduled for late openings. We wanted a burger and a beer, so the choice came down to A&B Burgers or Soma.
Entering A&B Burgers the first thing that struck, was how open and sunny the room is. The floor plan provides plenty of seating while also taking into consideration the need for space to provide for a positive experience. There is even a comfy couch conveniently located by a couple of larger, family-friendly tables. The bar is basically a square with seating on three sides. A fourth wall fronts the kitchen and there is a window allowing you a view of the cooks as they work.
Choosing a seat at the bar where five other customers sat, we were given a menu and water right away by someone who appeared to be a floor manager. The bartender was busy dealing with a couple a few seats down the way. He was also nice enough to pour a nice Notch Brewing Left of the Dial American IPA on request.
A&B Burgers has a fairly extensive menu for place that features burgers. Small plates such as Louisiana Fried Wings at $10, Veggie Tacos for $11, and even a Roasted Chicken Pot Pie at $14. The salad selection is a little smaller with the Chicken Caesar, Butternut Squash, and Southwestern salads ranging from $8 to $11.
The sandwich selection tops out at $12 and includes a Fried Eggplant with Buratta cheese and roasted red peppers on toasted french bread.
On the full dinner menu there are more selections, priced a little higher. We were intrigued by Braised Skirt Steak Rigatoni and intend to visit again one day soon for the sole purpose of sampling that dish. There is also a very tempting desert menu including a selection of alcoholic milkshakes.
Now to the burger. The “B” Burger at $12 was the selection. There are two basic options before you get into all of the complicated options that have become the standard in the current American burger wars. We like all of the gouda cheese, balsamic vinegar, arugula, guacamole, portobello mushroom, and fancy sauce covered burgers. When it comes to an initial experience however, the more basic the burger the better. So a medium-rare “B” Burger was the call. It comes with American Cheese, arugula, tomato, onion, and A&B Sauce. Well, maybe it wasn’t quite as basic as we thought.
First up, before the burger was an order of Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts for $9. Prepared with caramelized brussels sprouts, crispy bacon bits, and a sherry reduction they come served in a small skillet with a white kitchen towel wrapped around the handle. The towel is just for appearances as the pan is not at all hot. These were very good. The outside char indicated that the quick, high temperature roasting was done well, and the sherry reduction added a nice earthy compliment to the salt of the sprouts and the bacon.
Back to the burger. The key to really good burger is two-fold and simple. Quality ground beef and the proper temperature. Our desired temperature was achieved, it was as close to a perfect medium-rare as you could get. We will challenge them the next time by getting one a little closer to rare. After eating a bit of the burger, Amy, who owns A&B Burgers with her husband Thomas approached so were were able to ask some questions. There was something about the flavor of the beef that stood out, and it wasn’t because of the sauce or the cooking process. A short discussion led to the realization that it was the freshness of the beef. It really stood out with every bite, and led to chewing and savoring the flavor a little bit longer.
Overall it was a very good experience. the atmosphere is open and spacious with a room that allows for sunlight to play. The clean looking and smelling restrooms are worthy of compliment. Our service was excellent, being both timely and polite. Chatting with an experienced bartender is always a pleasure. We may have exchanged secret bloody mary tricks.
Is it the best burger in Beverly or anywhere else? We don’t make that sort of proclamation here. We either like something, or we don’t. When A&B was in Salem, we found them difficult to like. Here in Beverly it seems as if they may have found their way.
We will be back to A&B Burgers, probably with a group for a more well rounded experience and we encourage you drop in also, and after you are done drop us a note. We want hear from you.