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Karvers Grille review

Crab cakes made of lump crab meat are

Crab cakes made of lump crab meat are drizzled with a remoulade sauce at Karvers Grille in Holbrook. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Karvers Grille has carved out quite a local niche for itself. Weekends and weeknights alike, the rustically attractive pub reverberates; surfaces of wood and stone do little to muffle the din.

So, in lieu of conversation, share a jumbo Bavarian pretzel. Warm, crusty and plated with two mustards plus a spicy cheese sauce, it disappears in a flash. So, too, does chef William Morales' Buffalo shrimp, plump crisp-crusted shellfish with a side of piquant red sauce. One night, a vibrant arugula salad crowned with orange wheels, pine nuts and Gorgonzola wears a gloss of lemon and olive oil. Two hefty lump crabcakes are all about crab rather than bread crumbs. Making for easy sharing are flatbreads; the Karvers Grille signature version, with its smoky-sweet topping of caramelized onions, bacon and smoked Gouda, may make you wish for a better crust than the puffy pre-made one you get.

Since regular fries go from freezer to deep-fryer, go for the hand-cut sweet-potato fries to accompany your burger or sandwich. Here, a fine cheeseburger oozes beefy juices. But the limelight belongs to the oregano-crusted Greek lamb burger topped with diced tomato, bright chopped cherry peppers, pickled red onion and a judicious drizzle of cilantro yogurt sauce. Standard and decent: A grilled chicken sandwich with bacon and pesto mayonnaise. And a pulled pork sandwich showered with crisp onion "straws."

While available with various toppings, mac and cheese proves addictive in its own right. Fish and chips star crackly-crusted logs of cod in need of better chips. An ornate-sounding dish that may surprise you is orecchiette with chicken, kale, artichoke hearts and tomatoes in a lemon garlic sauce. With panko crumbs on top, no less. Somehow, the juicy, savory pieces of chicken (an item that doesn't usually work well in a pasta) harmonizes with all the other, seemingly random components.

Missing from the restaurant's lemongrass-infused crème brûlée is the flavor of lemongrass. But were it not for a cap of aerosol whipped cream, a house-made chocolate chip cookie sundae would be ideal. So request yours without a spritz and leave contented.

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