I think it’s safe to say West Hartford is overrun with burger places. So much so, that my blogger friend Steve Wood (of CT Museum Quest) is going through 48 of the town’s burgers in the next year as a blog project.
While reading Steve’s most recent results last night, I remembered that Nick Caito and I had visited one of the town’s newest spots, BGR Burger Joint, in early December. We had just sampled a $30 tea cocktail across the street at Treva (for work, really) and needed some food in our stomachs.
BGR is a cool place to grab a quick bite. A Virginia-based chain, the West Hartford restaurant is the first in Connecticut. The Farmington Avenue space is sort of music-themed, decorated with album covers and an early-90s soundtrack to boot (at least during the afternoon we visited.) It’s very casual. There’s no waiter service; you grab your order from the counter and choose a seat.
Burgers range from classic beef (“prime, dry-aged, all natural, hormone free, grain-fed” according to the website) to alternative proteins like turkey, lamb, ahi tuna and lobster.
Sides include fries (Yukon Gold; Idaho sweet potatoes); grilled asparagus spears or thick-cut, beer battered Vidalia onion rings. To drink: extra-thick milkshakes, fountain soda (West Hartford has one of those Coca-Cola “Freestyle” machines, with eleventeen billion flavor options) and beer and wine.
I wanted a beef burger, but I was holding steady with our week of vegetarian eating and I didn’t want to be the one who cheated. So I ordered the ahi tuna version, seemingly shocking the cashier when I asked for it to be cooked rare (how else would you eat it?)
As you can see, it was a beautiful seven-ounce piece of fresh fish, seared lightly and topped with teriyaki sauce, grilled pineapple and BGR’s creamy, spicy “mojo” sauce. Like a maki roll on brioche instead of rolled in rice and nori. Probably one of the better tuna burgers I’ve had.
Nick went with the Southwestern burger, which the cashier described as less of a burger than the consistency of a packed Sloppy Joe. The meat was a bit loose, but contained plenty of flavor from chipotles, poblanos, onion and chilis, along with mojo, pepperjack cheese and black bean salsa.
I wasn’t crazy about the Yukon Gold fries (they were standard-cut and kind of bland) but I did love the array of condiments ready for the taking. Plenty of ketchup, mayonnaise, various mustards and my favorite fried-food enhancer: malt vinegar. And the fries can be topped with Parmesan, rosemary or roasted garlic for an upcharge, should you need a hit of flavor.
If you’re craving a burger in West Hartford, you can throw a rock and hit at least a dozen joints. Some are lackluster, some are wildly overpriced. BGR is in the middle; priced for a quick lunch or dinner but with plenty of quality offerings. Worth a visit.
BGR Burger Joint, 983 Farmington Avenue, West Hartford Center. 860-523-3152, bgrtheburgerjoint.com.