The beauty of burgers lies in their simplicity, but also their potential as a blank page, simply awaiting some individual’s vision to turn it into a meaty masterpiece. Granted, the pursuit of love or power has inspired more poets through the ages than has the pursuit of the perfect burger, but that may be because not enough troubadours have crossed the threshold at Boom Burger in Westhampton Beach.
Inside the laid-back venue off Montauk Highway, as they approach their one-year anniversary, partners Anthony Catanzaro and Anthony Cicogna have created a family-friendly, fresh-comes-first oasis where the joy of food comes before any foodie pretention. The 11 tables atop the black-and-white tile floor and the chatty counter-order service impart a small-town, almost old-time soda-shop feel. Written in bright chalk on the blackboard wall, the menu pops with nostalgia for days before hamburgers went haute.
Boom Burger burgers are served single, double or triple, with or without cheese, nestled into a soft potato roll. The double offers a perfect beef-to-bun ratio, but a juicy single works just fine if you’re going to load up on toppings. And that’s an urge hard to resist in a place where under-the-bun offerings run the gamut from the classic lettuce and tomato to the fanciful fried egg to the who’d-ever-think-of-that-but-I-might-have-to-try-it peanut butter and jelly.
An indulgent go-to is a burger topped with homemade macaroni and cheese (also try it as a standalone side, with truffle oil), crispy onions and the house-made Boom Boom sauce, a barbecue-y creation that adds a swipe of heat beneath the creamy, cheesy mac oozing out the sides of the bun. If you’re sharing, one with grilled onions and mushrooms with Swiss, plus another with bacon and crumbled bleu, completes a winning trifecta.
Non-burger eaters, enter without fear. The hot dogs are Nathan’s, butterflied and grilled to give them a snap, needing nothing more than mustard and some chopped raw onions. Ground chicken burgers are moist and nicely spiced, elevated with a south-of-the-border twist of pepper jack and avocado. But the true surprise on the menu is the chicken cutlet sandwich, which brings the home-cooking spirit of Boom Burger to the fore. Lightly breaded like your momma used to make and served up on a sesame-seeded roll brought in fresh from Frank’s Bakery, it’s memorable with just lettuce-tomato-mayo or a medley of mozzarella and homemade marinara sauce for an impromptu chicken parm.
And then there are the wings, served Buffalo (bone-in) or boneless. There are plenty of places to find wings in the Hamptons, but few if any offer this much variety and veracity. In the hot-wing realm, Mild, Medium and Hot are true to their heritage, the crispy outside a perfectly vinegary-peppery foil to the moist meat within. The escalating levels of Abusive, Nuclear and Suicidal radiate like the DEFCON warnings inside a nuclear silo, the latter two not for the faint of heart nor timid of tongue.
On the nontraditional course, there’s Chipotle BBQ, Honey Mustard, Teriyaki, Dry Rub, Garlic Parmesan, Sweet and Tangy or Thai Chili. The breadier coating of the boneless wings suits the Teriyaki and Sweet and Tangy, but try the Garlic Parmesan, Dry Rub and Thai-Chili in the Buffalo style; when the East End gets to the culinary-competition level to have a wing contest, put your money on the Thai Chili to emerge as a perennial victor.
Sides are a must. The garlic-parmesan shoestring fries brilliantly hold their crisp when tossed into another stratosphere with the homemade garlic butter. Fried pickles are crunchy and dilly, while the mozzarella sticks—typically not deserving of a second thought these days—elicit a batter-boosted “wow” and answer the question of what might happen if a lone piece of string cheese and a zeppole had a love child.
As if a segue to zeppole needs rationalization, those decadent puffs of fried dough highlight Boom Burger’s dessert menu, along with fried Oreos, fried Nutella or PB&J sandwiches and the recently added shakes. As with the burgers and wings, the standards (i.e. vanilla and chocolate) are stand-out, but life is more fun on the edge. The maple variety a Vermont getaway in a cup, while the Nutella creation is the kind of dessert that will inspire not-too-far-in-the-future poets to put down their pens (and burgers) and relish having found the perfect way to end.
Boom Burger, 85 Montauk Highway, Westhampton Beach, 631-998-4663, boomburgerwhb.com