Dining

Top Choice

Plan B Burger Bar in Springfield deserves plan-A status.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Sara Pokorny photo

A ceiling-high wooden grid that houses booze bottles and serves as the bar backdrop makes Plan B the perfect setting for a guy’s night out. Dark brown leather seats and tables of matching wood give off a romantic vibe that’s just right for date night—despite the fact that there may be a steel meat hook doubling as a lighting fixture hanging overhead (a great conversation starter, to be sure). The first-come, first-served seating in the bar area full of elevated booths and high-top tables is great for people on the go, and the well-shaded outdoor seating is well-suited for large gatherings.

Plan B Burger Bar in Springfield is truly a place of possibility, an establishment that hasn’t pigeon-holed itself despite specializing in “burgers, beer, beef and bourbon.”

It not only fulfills its promise of all the above, it does it with style, providing Verified Humane beef (a natural food certification that is one of the strictest) ground in-house daily and a menu that is a culinary playground where everyone can find something to enjoy.

The Blue Chips are a strong start to any meal: a plate of house-made potato chips fried to the point of satisfying crunch, a texture that holds up even when smothered in a mix of tomatoes, bacon, red onion, scallions, jalapeño slices and warm blue cheese.

There are a plethora of burgers to peruse, and not all concern themselves with beef. The Italian Job’s focus is ground chicken; the Porta Burger dresses up a portabella mushroom; and the Cuban’s star is a patty of ground pork.

“No pink” and “some pink” are preferred ways of ordering (and keep an eye out for the phrases differentiating the bathrooms), and there are plenty of options that serve as a vehicle for the patty and its accoutrements. Choose from whole wheat or pretzel rolls or no roll at all—a burger served “in the grass,” atop organic iceberg lettuce.

The bacon cheeseburger is Plan B’s most popular, a modest sandwich of American cheese, bacon, caramelized onions and garlic mayo. Such simplicity is elevated by the garlic mayo, a rich blend of bite and creaminess that makes the bacon cheeseburger a multi-napkin experience.

Though the lobster on the New Englander could be pulled apart for easier eating (it provides the same feel as a slice of pepperoni flopping its way onto your chin when you bite into a piece of pizza—too much of a taste payoff all at once), the corn spread that makes its home under the bun imparts a burst of flavor with each bite, even if your lobster has fallen to the wayside.

The bun-to-meat ratio is on point with each sandwich, as is the amount of extra ingredients, with no one element outdoing the other. You will find that it all combines to make one hell of a weighty meal; picking up a burger is cause for pause to take in the sheer weight of the thing.

Burgers come with Fancy Fries or Organic Mixed Greens to start, but other sides are available for a small fee. There are fries of every persuasion, from truffle and parmesan to steak and sweet potato, but tradition with a twist takes the form of Disco Fries, which are as much a party of flavor as the hokey name makes them sound. (Seriously, isn’t there a less childish moniker here? It may be tradition to call such fries this in certain places, but it’s out of place on this particular menu.) Thin-cut fries are topped with layered gravy and cheese, and the cheese seems like the main component until a forkful unveils gravy underneath. Both are of a consistency that doesn’t harbor the clumps often found in such toppings.

If burgers are not on your dinner radar, there’s much to be had in the Big Plates section (Shepard’s Pie, Horseradish Salmon, and Southwest Stuffed Chicken) and the soups and salads list (California Cobb, Grilled Organic Portabella). There’s also a gluten-free menu, and the latest additions to Plan B’s arsenal are veggie plates like the Guiltless Greek burger with eggplant and a Super Salad with plenty of greens to go around.

The drink menu can be overwhelming, including over 40 bottled beers as well as brews on tap being added nearly every other day (which can be tracked via Plan B Springfield’s Twitter page, @PlanBSpring), bigger brews for two, mini kegs (rather, beer in a can), wine, mixed drinks and bourbons of many varieties.

Despite its name, Plan B doesn’t have to be just that; there’s enough there to make it top choice for the night, no matter what you’re seeking.•

 

Plan B Springfield: 1000 West Columbus Ave., Springfield, (413) 285-8296. Hours: Sun.-Thurs, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

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