I was instantly hit with a shot of nostalgia the moment I walked into Plan B Burger Bar. More than eight years ago I lived in West Hartford and this was our local go-to place for beefy burgers with all the fixins’. When I heard they were opening in Stamford, I immediately grabbed a friend and headed straight to its new location on restaurant row at the Stamford Town Center. They cater to families, singles, the after-work crowd and the sobriety-seeking, after-hours set. Given this, I was happy to see their full menu of affordable appetizer and dinner options, with additional happy-hour and late-night menus.
As soon as you enter, be sure to study the daily specials on the board. On our visit, it listed the burger and bourbon of the week, as well as their fourteen constantly rotating craft beers. The space itself is split into two distinctive rooms: the main dining area and the bar. Both have dark, saloon-like red walls, mahogany furnishings, an intricate tin ceiling and modern fixtures.
We headed for a booth in the bar area, and focused our attention on the long, yet well-edited list of bourbons. On it was Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Single Barrel, Small Batch and Ryes (a very close and exceptional cousin to bourbon). Because I wanted to try something new, though my favorite Woodford Reserve was offered, the bartender sent over a tasting of three small batch bourbons: Hirsch Selection, Four Roses and Noah’s Mill. These ranged from super-smooth to spicy with a kick; a touch of ice mellowed out the Noah’s Mill to bring it to perfection.
Acknowledging that bourbon tasting with no food can lead to an unfortunate “situation,” we honed in on the appetizers. We started with the Blue Chips, crispy homemade potato chips served with warm, crumbly blue cheese sauce, tomatoes, bacon, red onions and jalapeños. The crunch of the chips and bacon, with the intense blue cheese and spicy jalapeños made this play on nachos one of our favorites. Another tasty treat was the lobster sliders, served with hand-cut, homemade French fries—these fries are part of their signature offering, but they do offer eight potato side options from which to choose. The rolls were buttery and warm, served with hunks of fresh, perfectly cooked lobster meat. While it’s one of the more expensive items on the appetizer menu, it’s well worth it for its buttery goodness.
After inhaling our delicious appetizers, we turned our attention to the beer and burger menus. Since we were on a sampling kick, we ordered a flight of five beers, ranging from pale ales to super-hoppy IPAs. If you’re looking to try something new and varied, this is the way to do it. Let the bartender or your waiter know what you usually order, and they’re happy to select for you.'
With over twenty burgers to choose from, ranging from classic beef and buffalo chicken to vegetarian options like the portabella burger, everyone in your group is sure to be satisfied. There is also a gluten-free menu, “In-the-Grass” bunless burger and wholewheat bun option. Split orders are also available for a nominal up-charge.
But we were not interested in being dainty eaters, so we ordered the Tavern Classic, simply served with lettuce, tomato, onion and a tangy aioli, a dish clearly geared toward the purist amongst us; and the Italian Job, made with a ground chicken patty and topped with warm mozzarella, roasted tomato and two sauces, roasted red pepper and pesto. The combination of smokiness from the peppers mixed with the freshness of the mozzarella on this juicy chicken burger made it a real beef challenger.
Dessert was a necessary evil to our meal and was well worth it. We tried two of them, the first of which was a seasonal, multilayered cheesecake parfait, served in this instance with warm, sugary apples. The apples seem an unusual accompaniment to the cheesecake. My dinner date enjoyed this dessert, though she had to delve all the way to the bottom of the dish for the full combination of whipped cream, fruit, cheesecake and crust. I’ll try this again when we’re in berry season.
Without a doubt, the warm Bourbon Pineapple Upside Down Cake, served with an equally toasty bourbon caramel and vanilla bean ice cream, sent me straight back home to my Southern roots. The cake soaked up the sauce, while the heat of the cake and the coolness of the ice cream left me with a huge smile and a very full, sated stomach.
With so many options to choose from for everyone in your group, Plan B Burger is an affordable restaurant with great offerings for the pickiest of eaters. And, if you really just want a great burger and some amazing bourbon, this should be your new go-to spot. It is my go-to once again.
230 Tresser Boulevard
Sun.–Thu., 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.; bar until 1 a.m.
Fri.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m.; bar until 2 a.m.