By: Lucy Bauer
I’ve become essentially a vegetarian after almost two years of Chartwells dining, yet still find myself craving meat, with the occasional grilled chicken breast (that smells akin to a basement) just not satisfying the omnivore in me. This craving led us to The Burger Joint in West Hartford. The simplicity of the name alludes to the straightforward menu, fast service, and relaxed atmosphere.
The menu includes just 11 burgers, each wonderfully unique and creatively constructed. The Burger Joint takes us around the world with a Cuban pork sandwich, a Greek-style burger with lamb, tzatziki sauce and feta, and an Asian inspired Ahi Tuna burger with ginger and grilled pineapple. After deliberating over the menu for quite a while, I finally decided on the Sliders. The Sliders came topped with the mojo sauce, onions, cheese and pickles. I was intrigued by the mojo sauce, and while the menu doesn’t say what’s in this orange, slightly spicy topping, it was delicious. The plate included four “small” slider-burgers, which were almost too much. One key element that is often overlooked when rating a burger is the bun. The buttery-toasted brioche bun was a great complement to the beef. The burger itself was perfectly cooked with a slightly pink inside, and was clearly taken off the grill just moments before reaching the table.
I also sampled the turkey burger, which was much more than just a piece of poultry. The patty was blended with portobello mushrooms, thyme and gorgonzola cheese, a perfect option for anyone who doesn’t eat red meat or simply wants to try something new.
Also on the menu were an assortment of sides which you can personalize to your taste. Not only does The Burger Joint have classic french fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings, but they also offer grilled asparagus fries as well, for those looking for something on the greener side. Each order of fries can be topped with parmesan, rosemary, or roasted garlic on request. I opted for french fries with rosemary and parmesan which melted in my mouth, but beware: the servings are more than plenty, so splitting an order with one or two others would be fine.
Another exceptional feature of this casual restaurant is their state of the art soda machine, that looks like it should be a prop in The Jetsons. With a touch-screen interface, the machine offers seemingly endless beverage options. Every variation of every Coca Cola product is available, even the more obscure flavors, such as Fanta Peach, Diet Coke with raspberry and Sprite Zero with grape. Who would ever think that choosing a soda could be such an interactive experience?
The original Burger Joint location is in Bethesda, Maryland, and opened in 2008. In just four short years, the chain has expanded to 20 locations all over the country. That being said, the decor would never allude to the fact that it’s a chain. Throughout our meal we enjoyed listening to rock and roll hits from greats such as Van Morrison and Pink Floyd. The classic feel of the inside was reinforced by posters and record sleeves that hang on the purple walls.
The outing was an extremely satisfying break from the typical Cave sandwich or soup, and the reasonable prices and delicious food left me hoping to come back again soon and try everything on the menu.