Allen Burger Venture has become a staple for many. ABV is always a reliable spot to either grab a humanely sourced burger, interesting and inventive alternative, or simply a cold and refreshing beer selection off of their ever changing/constantly rotating craft brew catalog. Recently however, ABV has decided to switch things up, adding a selection of smash burgers and a”danger dog” program to their tried and true list of food offerings.
Always a creature of habit when it comes to wanting, craving actually, a reliable favorite from a familiar menu, it can be a push to get me to acquiesce and broaden my range when it comes to straying from my regular go-tos. This was no different.
My dining companion and I starting off sharing one of AVB’s revered salads, which is a meal in and of itself. Especially because you can add one of their many patties, such as beef, fowl, fish, or legume, which does a great job of rounding out the plate. One can start and stop there, feeling totally satisfied and satiated – it should be noted that ABV is a reliable spot for one of the tastiest, freshest, and most pleasant salads around. With the lack of neighborhood diners or luncheonettes still operational these days, it is good to know that they offer a reliable and filling, perfectly sized entrée salad, again with the above patty additions as a suggestion.
As for today’s salad, we instantly devoured it, with its marinated tomato and green bean selection, which consisted of avocado, radishes, shallots, feta, butter lettuce, radicchio, and some slight field mix to round things out. It was divine – simple, yet refreshing… an almost chopped salad, Greek-inspired hybrid. The salad starter provided that perfectly balanced acidic element which, stimulating the palate as consumed, was the ideal foray into our dining experience.
Next came the smash burger (a type of preparation for cooking a thinner patty). The unique offering here is that one can choose from a multitude of patties to round out the burger experience. Anywhere from a single to a quint, yes that’s up to five patties between one brioche bun. A true smash burger is simple in its approach, not gussied up with too many accoutrements. The meat, and preparation, should really shine here. This particular Smash Burger did not disappoint, nor hit a home run. First off, I would think it typically hard to get a true greasily glorified, decadently messy end product using grass-fed beef. A true smash burger is cooked at a very high temp, quickly, while being smashed down, achieving a crisp, craggily crust cooking in its own rendered fat. Therefore there obviously needs to be a high fat content to achieve optimum results, which is not usually the case in a superior, more humanely raised product such as ABVs. Also, if not cooked at a high enough temp, you’re drying our the meat verse searing and raising the internal temp in the process.
Next, the cheese. Usually you want the cheese to become almost liquid, clinging to every crevice, nook and cranny, becoming one with the patty. This didn’t spend a long enough time covered, essentially steaming itself for that luscious end result to fully come into its own. The pickles were a welcome addition, and though onions were listed on the menu, none appeared on the plate. All easy problems to fix, if you’re paying attention to the execution. I must add that the small side bowl of fresh jalapeños that I requested was the perfect way to spice up the burger.
Up next, the “original” Danger Dog (lead image) was a true masterpiece. The sum of its parts coming together forming pure perfection, bite after bite. The foundation is a wagyu all-beef hotdog, wrapped in bacon, which forms a perfectly firm and crisp crust. The “original” included an ample salad on top, made of fresh jalapeños, avocado, tomato, red onion, green and red bell pepper, and cilantro, all tossed together in a tangy mayonnaise-based sauce. Each bite building on the next, this was a true showstopper, neither one of us wanted this dish to end. This “dog” has immediately, and will permanently become, a must order for the table from here on out.
It’s interesting. On Buffalo’s first snowy day, we set out in search of a soup and salad at AVB. But they didn’t have a soup today, so we settled for a burger and a dog, as well as a salad. In the end, this was a blessing in disguise. The smash burger was on my list to try, and the Danger Dog was still somewhat of a mystery. So I got to cross off a couple of heralded AVB items off my list, while adding the Danger Dog to another list. All in all, I would have to say, mission accomplished.