Review Date: 12/21/15
Visit Dates: (12/10/15)
This one-of-a-kind (for now) offshoot of Bertucci's is a more modern pizzeria where everything—and I mean everything—is cooked in one of two ovens imported from Italy. They look identical, but the first is wood-burning and has a spinning turntable that also raises and lowers to ensure even cooking of pizzas. The second oven is gas burning, has no turntable, and maintains a temperature between 650 and 700 degrees. It is in this oven that burgers, vegetables, side dishes and desserts are baked.
2 Ovens has the look of many restaurants built in the last year or two, with an industrial vibe and reclaimed wood everywhere.
The shiny dome has brioche written all over it. Getting one of the many versions of bun called brioche is a lot like playing a roulette wheel. Sometimes it's light and airy; sometimes it's dense and heavy. This time it landed on the latter, with a little too much bread, though nothing too problematic. Freshness was OK. Nothing special, like grilling or butter, was done to the inner surfaces.
It's billed as 100% Angus beef, which used to mean something way back when. Nowadays, it means slightly better than McDonald's, but this was a little better than that. The grind was a little looser and the bite was a lot more tender than your typical high-end chain restaurant. Doneness hit the requested medium rare and juiciness was available with the slightest squeeze of the bun—not too shabby for every day Angus. The outer crust was beautifully done. Seasoning was well above average.
From my barstool I could see the oven attendant dropping pinches of salt on the patty at a few different stages of production. The flavor had a backyard barbecue feel, with smoky tones transferred from the buildup on the oven's inner walls. This was nice, but I think they missed an opportunity here. I'd love to see what the patty would taste like had they used wood (which smelled great coming out of the other oven).
But overall, no complaints. By using a pan, they get all the flavor of the oven with all of the textural advantages of griddling.
Uncharacteristically, I kept things simple by sticking with the basic burger that has cheddar,
iceberg lettuce and tomato (another burger has bacon). The vegetation did its thing without much
fanfare, but it did accomplish two utilitarian tasks. Iceberg leaves
served as a dam between bun bottom and patty, containing the juices.
The tomato added some moisture that wasn't needed so much by the beef,
but it helped mitigate the density of the bun. A thick layer of
cheese melted beautifully in the oven, forming a liquid that drifted out
to the perimeter and down the sides in spots.
The Fries (and such)
The burger is a mere $8, so before I read the fine print I thought the sides were a la carte. Turns out they're included; I chose the potatoes over the salad (shocker, I know). They're wedges, with skins on, oiled moderately and seasoned lightly. Flavor on these was much more intense than the burger. A few spots were blackened but in a good way. Just like the ideal burger, these wedges had crusty exteriors and fluffy interiors. Think of fries and think of baked potatoes; these were exactly halfway in between and very enjoyable.
I'll probably return and wind up trying the pizza. I'll ammend this review then.
The check came with a small square of a cookie (pan style like a brownie) cooked in the same oven as the burger. Good flavor and perfect texture: just like the perfect rib or burger, crisp outside, tender inside, with the full spectrum in between. More importantly, it made a really nice gesture.
The Bottom Line
2 Ovens isn't a place you'd think of for a burger, but they do a very respectable one, especially for the 'burbs. A little heavy on the bun and a little light on the beef flavor, but the char, the juices and especially those fantastic potatoes made it work.
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