The Back Abbey, located in our very own Claremont, has generated some noise as a top L.A. burger spot. The ongoing debate over the best L.A. burger is serious, so claims that The Back Abbey is among the elite burger joints is quite an assertion. Some students contend that The Back Abbey does not even offer the best burger in Claremont, as Eureka competes for that distinction. This spot presents something different than Eureka, though, in that it is Belgian and offers a European ambience, Belgian fries, and (most importantly) Belgian beer.
It is also pricey, as the restaurant clearly thinks it is presenting a gourmet burger. I would not go so far as to say that the quality of the burger was excellent. The Back Abbey Burger ($13) is less about the meat, though, than the accompanying aged Gouda, caramelized onions, crispy bacon, and mustard aioli. Two other burgers are offered, including a vegetable burger, which I heard was not as good. Even better than the burgers are the Pomme Frites ($4 half/$8 full). The fries are dipped in duck fat and fried with horseradish chive sauce, which give them a bit of a kick.
The best thing going for this place is its beer menu, which has over a hundred options. Everyone knows that beer and burgers go together, but The Back Abbey takes that normal assumption and refines it into a culinary science. I am not 21 years of age, so I, of course, would never imagine attempting to get a drink. I can say with reasonable certainty that the beer is an upgrade of several orders of magnitude over the typical 5C fare. Combine that with a good burger and a nice European ambience, and you’ll be left feeling satisfied.
The Back Abbey is located at 128 N Oberlin Ave, Claremont, CA 91711 (behind the movie theater).