Moxy (Portsmouth, NH)

September 11th, 2013 by Richard Chudy

Yes, I’m cheating a little bit. For starters, this is Boston Burger Blog, not New England burger blog. But, from time to time I may actually (gasp) eat another burger in a different city other than my own. We found ourselves in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on a whim last weekend, and like all good spontaneous road trips with us there is always a copious amount of food involved. We found our way into Moxy, a self-described “Modern American Tapas” restaurant that had been on our radar ever since the last time we visited this lovely city. Not knowing they had a burger on their menu beforehand, we worked our way through their take on small plates, bites and snacks with the harmlessly titled, “grass-fed local beef burgers” just sitting there, mocking me because the inevitable had to happen and I was going to order them.

Since this is a review of a slider I’ll keep it brief, especially considering that the two little cuties presented to me were so tiny, a full on review seems unnecessary. Priced at sort of an absurd $12, two teeny tiny mini burgers aren’t exactly a steal at $6 each. Combined you’re maybe looking at 1/3 of the size of any normal proportioned burger (grilled or griddled) so the price isn’t quite justified. But I get it; it’s a tapas restaurant, somewhat on the higher end of one at that, so all’s fair in love and burger. You can easily work your way through each slider in a mere two or three bites, tasty bites for sure, but all too reminiscent of the classic backyard burger than anything upscale like the price-tag might have led you to believe. The beef is succulent yet slightly tough, as if it were over-worked too much, it tastes the part but when you only have a few bites to judge it, the flaws can be more magnified. It has a wonderful charred, beefy flavor however, simply dressed with quasi-bland tomatoes, cheddar and a pungent “moxy-q” sauce that is tangy and all over the rest of the menu for good reason. The char is a quick indicator that these guys are grilled, and much to my delight they are a beautiful medium-rare inside. Certainly no easy feat for burgers of this size. There are no fries to go along with the Moxy burgers, but the hasty pudding fries (made with polenta in lieu of potato) are a welcome addition as an added tapa for $5. In other words, you can have a similar burger and fries combo for $17 that yields a much smaller portion than the typical scenario at a slightly elevated price.

The big question of course is whether these burgers are worth a trip to Portsmouth. I’m hesitant to say yes, although the remainder of the menu at Moxy is fantastic. The burgers alone just miss the mark, mostly due to a high price tag that doesn’t exactly excite me in a way I’d expect it to. I highly recommend Moxy as a restaurant, but the burgers themselves aren’t worth the order.

Overall Score: 75

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