RSS Feed

Category Archives: bar burger

Feeling Sassy

I’d been meaning to get over to Sassafras in Old City for a while now to check out their Tuesday “Luncheon Lunacy” special: Between Noon and 5 PM, their signature sirloin burger is only $5.95! Unfortunately, I work on the opposite side of the city and Tuesdays can get pretty hectic, so I hadn’t been able to pop out and make the trip until this week. The burger comes with your standard LTO (lettuce, tomato & onion) and your choice of fries or a salad. You can also add cheese for $1 more, so I went with sharp cheddar.

The burger came out cooked perfectly medium as requested, with lots of juicy blood drippings (mmm, morbidly delicious!). The patty was quite thick and just slightly smaller in circumference than the bun. I was able to navigate and keep the burger-to-bun ratio balanced though with each bite. The cheddar cheese was oozing and gooey and kept falling off the patty, so I just kept picking it up with my fork and adding it back on. I also smeared a little of the garlic aioli on the top of the bun to give it a little extra flavor. All in all, it was the perfect bar burger. No frills, no muss and all at an unbeatable price! They also have other burger patty options on their menu (which are not included in the lunch special) like lamb, bison and ostrich, which sounds totally wild! Factor in their amazing classic cocktail list and live jazz during the week, and I’ll definitely have to make a return trip.

Burger rating: “A”

Advertisements

Third Time’s A Charm

Since I went to Good Dog during my Meatless March adventure and had a really great veggie burger, I decided it was time to give their regular burger its final chance to impress me. My first trip in 2011 warranted a “D” rating and a revisit in 2013 upgraded that to a “D+”. Would a year & a half between visits finally give their burger rating the boost it deserved? I ordered the burger exactly the same way – topped with cheddar cheese, medium temperature – and kept my fingers crossed until it arrived. To recap, the burger is a 1/2 lb ground sirloin patty topped with lettuce & tomato on a brioche bun.

At first I was concerned because of all the empty space on the bun and the lettuce was a large, limp leaf sticking out from under the bun (which I tucked back in to take this picture). But I took one bite and a smile crept across my face: We had success! The burger was cooked perfectly to medium as requested and was nice and juicy. Once I began eating, the burger to bun ratio eventually evened itself out. It turned out to be a simple, flavorful, no frills bar burger. I was glad that I had enough confidence in it to return and try it for a third time & finally got the version of this burger that so many of my friends had bragged about as being the best in town. I’m proud to upgrade this burger’s rating from a “D+” to a “B”.

Burger rating: “B”

Una Bella Burger

If you’ve ever been to Atlantic City or the Jersey Shore, then you’re probably already familiar with Luke Palladino’s various restaurant establishments, focusing on innovative Italian cuisine. His latest venture, Palladino’s, brings his talents to Philly’s booming culinary epicenter, East Passyunk Ave, and focuses on Italian food as well as wood-fired steaks and chops. And it just so happens, they have a burger on their menu! Offered at the bar and during brunch, the 8 oz. wood-grilled burger is served on a house-made snowflake roll, and comes topped with Tallegio cheese, thick cut pickles, and smoked chili ranch.

I was skeptical at first when I heard the words “wood grilled”. Would special attention be paid to my requested temperature, or would my burger come out overcooked? This is a steakhouse after all, so I really should have known better – ensuring meat is cooked to the requested temperature is their specialty! My burger came out perfectly medium and was delicious, flavorful & juicy with every bite. The house-made bun was lightly toasted, yet still soft and fresh (although I did have to keep wiping the flour dust off my hands). The cheese was gooey and the pickles had a nice crunch to them. The smoked chili ranch wasn’t overpowering, which was good; this way you could taste the freshness of the meat. The only downside of the meal for me were the accompanying wedge fries, which were too thickly cut and not cooked enough for my liking, and the house made ketchup was way too sweet. Otherwise, the burger was perfect and (especially on the 90+ degree day when I went) didn’t leave me feeling weighed down or super full.

And since Palladino’s is launching their brand new happy hour TODAY (!), you can check out the burger Monday through Friday from 5-7 PM and Sundays from 2:30-5 PM for only $10!

Burger rating: “A”

Beet That!

I’ll admit, even though last year’s Meatless March challenge proved that there’s a definitely great veggie burgers to be had, I’ve been setting my expectations pretty low. Even more so if I’m going to a place whose beef burgers weren’t that great. I’d been to the City Tap House in University City before, but they just opened a new location in Logan Square close to my job so I figured I’d check it out. Their veggie burger is a wild rice, oats, black beans and beet patty topped with aged cheddar, dijonnaisse, roasted tomato, and alfalfa sprouts on a multi-grain bun.

Honestly, a bar or a pub is the last place that I would expect myself to order a veggie burger at and I definitely was not expecting it to taste good. But this one tasted AMAZING! (Yes, I actually used those exact words when the bartender asked how everything was). All the different components – the oats, the beets, the beans – just worked together so beautifully and gave everything a great flavor. The cheese was probably what did it for me the most (I thought it was a pretty bold move to put cheese on a veggie burger since you might normally associate the typical veggie burger eater with being a Vegan). I could barely tell that I was eating a veggie burger at that point, and that’s what had been lacking in a lot of other veggie burgers I had. Also: the dijonnaisse – that gave the burger a little kick, clearing my sinuses right up! The multi-grain roll was a nice, healthy touch; soft but lightly toasted, adding some crunch (which, if you’ll remember from last week, was one of my issues with the super soft bun used at Taproom on 19th).

As my burger arrived, some guy was passing by my table and said, “Well at least the burgers look great!” Well sir, they taste pretty great, too!

A Burger Education

Full disclosure: I’ve eaten the burger at The Institute before but I didn’t write about it. Why? Because when I did, it was a sad, overcooked, double-pattied mess that I struggled through and barely finished (which disappointed the hangover I was trying to feed).

Looks great, right? Appearances can be deceiving!

But hey, everyone has their bad days! Which is why I decided to give them a second chance nearly two years later. Checking back in this week, the burger is down to a solo 6 oz patty and comes topped with your choice of cheese. I went with cheddar, as per usual. Lettuce, tomato, onion & pickles on the side and of course, The Institute’s signature side of tots.

The burger was cooked perfectly medium; bright pink in the middle and full of juicy deliciousness. The bun was a soft brioche. Everything was perfect and no-frills, just the way a good bar burger should be. I’m glad I decided to give them a second chance. It was an extreme improvement over my first visit & might just be my new favorite burger! And if you’re checking out the Craft Beer Express this year (Saturday, March 14th), you’ll need fuel for all that drinking, so order up one of these bad boys when the bus makes it’s stop here – you won’t be disappointed.

Burger rating: “B+”

Paradise By The Neon Light

“Though it’s cold and lonely in the deep dark night…”

Nestled just a few blocks off East Passyunk’s main strip lies a storefront with twin neon signs like glowing beacons enticing you to come inside. That place is Fountain Porter, home of the $5 burger. That’s right, folks. Five bucks. One Abe Lincoln. There are no frills and no gimmicks. If you want a burger, you come here (and hopefully you do, because other than some bar snacks, that’s the only item on the menu).

The burger comes on a soft potato roll topped with lettuce, tomato and American cheese (pickles on the side, ribbed for your snacking pleasure). Standard. Simple. Perfect char on the outside, delicious and juicy on the inside, just the way a good bar burger should be. Pair this bad boy with a side of crispy, hand-cut fries and you’re “gonna go all the way tonight“.

Burger rating: “B”

Suburban Burgers: MaGerk’s

When I used to commute to Montgomery County daily, I drove past MaGerk’s in Fort Washington every day. Once a month or so, the office would congregate there on a Friday afternoon for happy hour, but surprisingly, I had never eaten there before! Since it’s on my drive home and Mondays just happen to be half-price burger night, I figured I would check it out. There are about five burger options to choose from, including an avocado topped California turkey burger & a build your own Angus burger option. I opted for the build your own topped with cheddar cheese and bacon (for an additional 50 cent each) – because, hey, why not? It’s half price!

The burger was cooked slightly above medium so not completely pink in the center, and “smashed burger” style with a nice char on the exterior. The bacon was crispy but didn’t have much flavor; I couldn’t really differentiate it from the burger itself unless I happened to look at where I was taking a bite. The Angus beef was a little too greasy for my liking, but luckily a lot of that grease was caught by the shiny, soft potato roll it was perched on. The burger usually comes with chips, but I opted for fries for an extra $2 – especially when the bartender mentioned they were waffle fries! All said and done, the burger – including the add-ons of cheese, bacon & fries – wound up being less than the 8 oz pour of Southern Tier Pumpking I paired with it ($8 for the beer vs $7 for the burger). It was a pretty decent bar burger, but I was glad that it was half-price because I probably wouldn’t get it a regular night. (Never say never, though: all drafts are $3 on Tuesdays from 5-9 PM, so you may need something to soak up all that beer!)

Burger rating: “C-“

Food, Sweat, and Beers

That's what this girl's made of...

The Burgervore

- relishing life one burger at a time -

In Search of Beer

Finding all the best beer events in Philadelphia.

22nd & Philly

One Hungry Woman

bridges, burgers & beer

a gastronomical and culinary adventure in the life of a bridge engineer