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Dave Becker, who owns the fantastic Sweet Basil in Needham (Boston's most famous BYOB) and Juniper in Wellesley, has struck again with an sexy New American spot on Waltham's restaurant row of Moody Street.
I've been twice now, and both times ordered the excellent burger:
BALANI BURGER: Double smashed prime chuck, crispy pork belly, cheddar, house dill pickles, awesome sauce, potato roll, frites ($17)
As "smash" burgers go, the patties are on the thick side, but come out approximately medium to medium well, well-seasoned and juicy. The burger is a moderately messy mouthful and the delicious sauce makes me think it was at least partly inspired by the Big Mac, which works for me. Big crunchy house pickles and what I suspect is a house-made bun. Pretty good fries, but I got a lot of little nubbins.
Also had a pear pizza, ~14 inches, which was quite good (thin crust).
Very good cocktails, although the wine list is short and not super interesting.
The space is sexy, although not particularly dark, with tables in back, a long bar and several loungey couch areas in the front and center that I'm sure the Brandeis coeds will love. On my first visit, while they were still keeping the opening quiet (apparently they were more aggressive advertising Juniper and got slammed), there was a TV crew interviewing Dave, so I had fun talking to him and his wife (and lovely newborn child) about the local restaurant scene. Free fritters were passed out to everyone at the bar.
Of course there is plenty of easy parking on Moody St, with the closest lot being on Chestnut street ($1.25 for 2 hours, free after 6PM).
A great addition to Moody Street and the exploding restaurant scene in Waltham.