The Abbey

Chris’s Review

The cuisine in the good ole’ USA often gets the proverbial “black-eye” from our international counterparts. In comparison to French and Italian cooking methods, American fare is often criticized for being uninspired. As Americans however, we can be enthusiastically proud that the humble hamburger has found an everlasting home in the U.S. – with a very loyal and loving family. We can dress that hamburger up for any event and it’ll be the envy of every diner. Let’s see the French serve a foie gras to celebrate the West Warwick Fireman’s Retirement Dinner!

As I have gotten older and grown (in many ways), my burger preferences continued to evolve. Originally, I was a strictly plain cheeseburger-with-ketchup kind of guy, and then in college an epiphany struck, and “chili” on a hamburger lit my culinary path for the next four years. Upon a move back to “The Rhode” in 2000 with my fiancé, it became apparent that my beloved Chiliburgers were no longer as exciting as I once remembered. Recently, I ventured off to a place that satisfied my craving for high-quality creatively prepared burgers.

The Abbey” on Admiral Street in Providence offers up an exciting variety of 10 oz. burgers as well as an impressive 92 beers –  need I say anymore? Don’t answer that because I have much more to say about this burger Taj Mahal. While at work, I decided to ask my colleague Jeff to join me for “Operation Burger Feast.” After looking at the extensive listing of burgers, we agreed on two burgers for which to split. With the first one, we went relatively safe with the Smokey BBQ Burger (Bacon, Cheddar Cheese and homemade BBQ sauce). Initially we needed to try a burger that was familiar and knew would excellent. With only three toppings, the quality and juiciness of the hand pattied beef was on full display. The Smokey BBQ Burger delivered on every level, and could have given any other BBQ cheeseburger a run for its money.

Our second burger choice was not for the cardiac challenged.  It was designed for a hung-over college student, or at least a chemically enhanced one with the munchies.  Although we were neither of them, it didn’t matter because on this hungry afternoon we were busy pillaging our digestive systems with the “Hair-of- the-Dog That Bit You” burger. It of the most adventurous and rewarding culinary choices I have ever made. This monstrosity contained 10 ounces of beef topped with American cheese, two strips of bacon, a sausage patty, grilled onions and a sunny-side up fried egg. With the delivery of this carnivorous delight, Jeff and I gave each other a brief look of amazement before diving into it.  Everything about this burger worked like a symphony.  The country sausage was the surprising star because of the peppery flavor that came through extremely well in the beef. The perfectly runny egg yolk provided additional moisture and mild flavor which allowed the crisp bacon, onion, and beef to stand out. The freshly toasted roll stood up well to the challenge in keeping this oversized masterpiece together. Jeff and I were so glad that we ate out of our comfort zone because we were treated to a memorable combination of deliciousness.

Not to be forgotten were the Abbey’s fresh-cut shoestring fries.  They were perfectly crisp with a strong potato flavor and some of the best fries I’ve eaten. With 92 beers from which to choose, the options for a belly wash-down were gut busting. The Abbey delivered one great burger at an unbelievable value. At the end of our meal, we discovered that their burgers were half-priced Monday thru Thursday during lunch service only. The Abbey was a pleasant surprise and I can’t wait to work my way through the rest of their menu. God Bless America!!

The Abbey 686 Admiral Street Providence, RI 02908-1442 (401)351-4346

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Track 84 Pub

Don’s Review – Spirits in the Rhode

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” we were relaxing at home watching a Star Wars marathon on Spike TV before going to Track 84 Pub in Warwick last Saturday night.

As we comfortably settled in front of a row of taps at the bar, with the television set to the very same movie, my wife and I commented how we felt like we were still in our family-room enjoying the movie.  Track 84 Pub has been making people feel welcome since 1990, and has been a microbrew hot spot for the past ten years. Although I had read about it in the Yankee Brew News for years, shockingly I had never been there before…so many beer bars, so little time! The bartender even mentioned that some devoted patrons had even driven 4 hours to get there!  

We popped in to the Kilvert Street Pub in order to kick off our evening before heading out to The Grill on Main in East Greenwich to see our friend’s band Brian McKenzie and The End of the Line. The bar was not crowded and had a relaxing and peaceful feel. Track 84 is a premeditated destination because you’re not likely to drive by it unless you happen upon Kilvert Street or someone tells you about this cool “find.” Kilvert Street used to be the main cut-through between Post Road and Jefferson Boulevard, but Coronado Street now serves that function as Kilvert is now a dead-end.

The beer choices are serious – 22 on tap and over 50 bottles including stuff I had never heard of before. It reminded me of a time years ago when I was in a French restaurant in Montreal and over-confidently asked for the wine list in order to make an informed decision. Thinking I was rather “wine savvy,” I was quickly humbled when presented with a list of wines that could have passed for the Dead Sea Scrolls! The beer choices at Track 84 Pub , while not as voluminous, were just as far-reaching and eclectic.

First up was the Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly Imperial IPA from New York, and at 11% alcohol, this stand-out beer did not leave that astringent aftertaste that some strong beers do. The delicious “Unearthly” is properly served in a 12 oz. tulip gl ass and drinks well on its own, but would work equally as well with food. It had a wine characteristic to it, and would pair well with any Italian veal or chicken dish. You may only want one or two of these, as it is not a session beer!

Next up was the Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale from Colorado.  This is a fantastic American Pale Ale clocking in at 6.5% alc. You could drink this one all day – a Microbrew drinkers drinking beer. Even though by definition a “Session Beer” has less than 5% alcohol, I would session this one.  My wife liked this one best and since I like her and I like beer – let’s just call this one a “win-win.”

Last up was the Great Divide Brewery Oak Aged Yeti Russian Imperial Stout.  This brew was simply incredible! Aged with a blend of French and toasted oak, it presented a complex flavor of oak, vanilla, coffee and chocolate yet still maintaining a robust bite of hops. Clocking in at 9.5% alcohol, it too was correctly served in a 12 oz. tulip glass.  I absolutely loved it. I’m looking for an excuse to go back just to get this again!

So, should you go to Track 84 Pub? In a word – youbetcha! Reasonably priced ($4.50) excellent micro’s and a cool, laid back homey-vibe.  Go now, and “May The Force Be With You.”

Track 84 Pub – 84 Kilvert St – Warwick, RI 02886 401-739-8484