Let's get real for a minute. There are plenty of places to get a decent burger in the Boston area. We came to WuBurger in Inman Square — the second location for the Woburn-based restaurant, opened last month — for the boozy milkshakes.
The spiked, frozen confections are having a moment, and why shouldn't they? What better way to soothe away a long workday, or celebrate a special occasion, than by combining the comfort of sweet, nostalgic pleasure with the edge-softening power of spirits?
These drinks do not disappoint. They are made with rich and creamy Richardson's ice cream from Middleton, with the bite of the booze masked by a not-too-sweet blend of inventive ingredients — banana chips, chocolate, and raspberry liquor in the Hummingbird; chocolate, orange, and brandy in the Orange Alexander (both $12). They are dangerously good.
And the burgers? They hit the spot too. There is tough competition these days, with the Tasty Burgers and the Shake Shacks, and a plethora of other burger chains popping up everywhere. But the WuBurger ($7) satisfies — a juicy, medium-well double patty on a soft potato roll, topped simply with lettuce, tomato, American cheese, and WuSauce, an onion-based mayo.
The accompanying waffle fries are crisp and delicious. If you opt for a salad instead ($1 charge), don't think you're getting some healthy alternative. What you do get is an addictive homemade dressing, fried onion strings, bacon bits, and blue cheese crumbles on your greens, which are a little past their prime on one visit, crisp and fresh on another.
Back to the waffle fries. If you are feeling ravenous, try them "loaded" ($7) for a shareable appetizer. The spuds are topped with a cumin-heavy beef chili (that needs a little more seasoning), cheddar cheese sauce, and green onion.
The chili also appears slathered on the Coney dogs ($10), two locally made Pearl hot dogs topped with more of that cheese sauce, plenty of chopped raw onion, and mustard. These also come with fries. Unfortunately, they do not come with Mylanta.
As much as we like those milkshakes, this meal pairs particularly well with the "not your mama's" root beer float ($10), an alcoholic root beer topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
If red meat isn't your thing, there's the South End, a fried chicken sandwich with Swiss, pickles, WuSauce, and honey-mustard that's tasty enough, but nothing to write home about.
The real sleeper is the turkey burger ($13), which is surprisingly flavorful and juicy — though texturally more akin to a flattened meatball. It's made with a spicy giardiniera and topped with provolone, lettuce, tomato, and more WuSauce.
The restaurant has a welcoming, very casual feel, with people popping in for takeout, patrons drinking beer and chatting with wait staff at the tiny four-person bar, and a couple of strollers squeezed into the narrow dining room.
It's a drastically different concept from the hip, higher-end Asian-fusion small-plates place, East by Northeast, that previously inhabited the small space. WuBurger has the feel of a local chain; it's easy to picture branches popping up all over the suburbs, and neighbors being very happy to have them.
Yes, we came for the milkshakes, but we'll be back for the juicy burgers, friendly service, and homemade doughnuts we somehow missed in our food-coma haze.
And for more milkshakes. Did we mention those?
1128 Cambridge St., Inman Square, Cambridge, 617-945-1703, www.wuburger.com
All major credit cards accepted. Wheelchair accessible.
Prices Appetizers $6-$7, entrees $10.50-$12, desserts $6
Hours Mon-Wed 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Thu-Sun 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Liquor Full bar
What to order Hummingbird and Orange Alexander shakes, WuBurger, turkey burger, loaded fries.
Catherine Smart can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.