Our Gourmet: Classy, quiet refuge amid retail chaos

June 27. 2017 10:32PM
Burtons Grill's Salmon Burger appears on the lunch menu, but is available anytime. 
Burtons Grill and Bar
310 Daniel Webster Highway, Nashua; 888-4880; www.burtonsgrill.com

Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday until 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Cuisine: American.

Dinner pricing: Sandwiches $13.95-$17.95; Apps $12.95-$13.95; Soups/salads: $6.95-$12.95; entrees $13.95-$34.95.

The scores for Burtons
Atmosphere: 18
Menu: 18
Food: 18
Service: 17
Value: 16
TOTAL: 87/100

Going on six years ago, Burtons Grill, then a growing young chain of high-end bar-and-grill restaurants, made its New Hampshire debut in a corner of the Pheasant Lane Mall.

Nashua remains Burtons’ only Granite State location, but there are now more than a dozen Burtons spread across the eastern United States, with three more in the works in addition to its established Red Heat Taverns in Wilmington and Bedford, Mass.

The company offers a classic — and classy — steakhouse-like tavern setting with high-end food and drink and a special eye for health-conscious offerings, some with no sugar, no gluten and no dairy ingredients. All of its sandwiches are available on gluten-free buns, and each section of its menu offers a vegetarian or similarly healthy choice.

The kitchen boasts that everything on the menu is made from scratch, emphasizing that wild-caught or locally grown products are favored, and we found such care quite evident in the preparation and presentation of our orders.

Many of the entrees and salads are available in half portions.

Good wine is also a feature at Burtons, along with creative cocktails and specialty beers. There are eight pages to Burtons dinner menu, four of which are devoted to drinks. Bottles of selected white wines run $30-$45, reds $40-$50, with most cocktails or martinis running $11 to $15.

It’s easy to settle in to the classy atmosphere and enjoy the wide-open dining spaces that surround the large, square central bar. Booths and tables form a spacious perimeter around the bar, where dozens of barstools are available for full meals up closer to the televisions.

We settled into a booth and started with a pair of delightfully crafted salads as appetizers.

The small-size Cobb salad ($7.95/$12.95) was as fresh as can be, and chilled nicely on a hot summer evening. It was perfectly prepared with many ingredients nicely spaced and dressed in a thin buttermilk ranch dressing. The romaine was interspersed with grape tomatoes, blue cheese, red onions, croutons, applewood-smoked bacon, chopped hard-boiled egg and nicely sliced avocado.

It really was a delicious salad, dressed just right, served thoughtfully — not with a clump of egg on one side and all of the avocado on the other side.

The Superfood salad ($7.95/$12.95) was just as presentable, with a generous serving of quinoa deftly mixed with baby spinach, dried cranberries, feta cheese, grape tomatoes, avocado, julienne vegetables and grilled lemon under a lemon vinaigrette. These are not your average salads, and we enjoyed warm fresh-baked rolls and butter with our appetizers.

We were only slightly bummed when the Fresh Catch Risotto with Scallops entree (6-oz. $14.95/9 oz. $24.95) was not available with scallops (they had run out). But with shrimp or salmon or haddock offered as alternatives, all was fine. We chose the shrimp, which came seared to bronze as promised, that were served with the creamy and hearty risotto, accompanied by corn and snap peas in a tasty lemon-butter sauce. Presentation was top-notch again, with six large shrimp perched on top, and it tasted as good as it looked.

Earlier in our evening I had been thinking of a very gourmet burger for dinner. Once inside Burtons I was drawn to the seafood, and luckily I spied a Salmon Burger ($13.95) on the lunch menu. It does not appear on the dinner menu, but our server, Cynthia, said it is always available and thus I was treated to this Burtons specialty.

The salmon for this sandwich is ground, shaped and prepared like a burger, then grilled. Slightly blackened on the outside while it bursts with seafood flavor from within. It is served on an Udi bun, which is a bit outmatched by the hefty salmon patty, but a knife and a fork solved that problem halfway through.

Served with arugula and tomatoes (red onion upon request) and homemade mayonnaise, the salmon burger can be accompanied by any kind of potatoes or cole slaw or thin-sliced breaded onion rings just slightly deep fried. An outstanding sandwich for dinner, it might be a bit on the heavy side for lunch, unless shared.

When we saw the “award-winning” Key Lime Pie ($10) at the top of the dessert menu we didn’t read any further. We packaged that to go and enjoyed a late-night snack. The granola crust is of a circular shape, with sides that are perhaps 1 1/2 inches high. It is delicate, but very well packaged in a sturdy plastic dish, with a side of whipped cream. It was sinfully sweet, tart and creamy as all Key limes should be; perhaps just a bit too sweet, but there were no leftovers, either.

Burtons treated us with class and comfort and a thoroughly enjoyable meal. Amid the commercial chaos that is the DW Highway in south Nashua, it is an oasis of calm and a dining delight.

Our Gourmet

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