Executive Chef Paul Wahlberg isn’t a movie star like his brothers Mark and Donnie, but he does know how to cook a good burger. With the help of his brother’s celebrity status and financial backing, this Dorchester native opened Alma Nove, Alma being Wahlberg’s mother, and Nove, meaning nine, as in the nine Wahlberg children she bore.
Alma Nove is an upscale restaurant a stone’s throw away from the burger joint Paul Wahlberg opened over a year ago: wahlburgers, located in The Hingham Shipyard. His intent? To offer a taste of his childhood.
“I’m just some guy from Dorchester trying to make good food,” he announces during a tasting dinner.
And taste we did.
Within the casual atmosphere (think plastic utensils) designed within a schoolyard theme, we taste medium-cooked burgers that are “all about the sear,” he says. “I don’t want to be like everyone else.”
And he isn’t.
The wahlburgers menu caters to its youth clientele, and also to those who want something a bit out of the box. My favorite, the Thanksgiving Burger, is made with turkey, orange cranberry sauce and stuffing, with roasted butternut squash spread on the bun. There is also a very tasty Jenn’s Chicken Burger with honey garlic aioli; a Portabella Mushroom Burger with cheddar cheese, small mushrooms and served on a gluten-free bun; a BBQ Bacon Burger with avocado, and the traditional “Our Burger,” which is Wahlberg’s idea of the perfect burger, with that perfect sear. He says his beef is all locally sourced and that buns may be substituted with Udi’s gluten-free bread.
If you want a salad, a good choice is the BBQ Toss ($7.95), which I deem the best on the menu. And you can wash it all down with a glass or bottle of wine, a wahlcocotion, or one of many wahlbrewski’s. Want to skip the alcohol? Try one of the specialty frappes made with farm fresh milk and Nona’s homemade ice cream. Nona’s is a signature ice cream in Hingham.
There are also hotdogs galore on the menu, with toppings that include an interesting sriracha sauce that is a “must try,” and wahlburgers makes its own pickles, which are worth a taste.
My favorite side? The potato tots in that sriracha dipping sauce. The onion rings are very, very thin, and delicious. But the burgers are where it’s at here. In fact, according to Wahlberg, on average they go through 1,000 burgers on a Saturday.
While you’re munching on a burger, you can also catch the Wahlberg movie star brothers in action on any of the 8 television sets that run montages of their films in a continuous loop.
Ready for dessert? Try the Mojo Cupcakes that have a chili sauce in the chocolate frosting. Very nice indulgence of tasty flavors.
It’s all about family here. Visit www.wahlburgers.com for more information.