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Category Archives: cocktails

Stepping Stone

If you were watching FYI Philly Saturday night, you might have seen a little piece about Brick & Mortar, a new restaurant and cocktail bar in the Loft District (Or Callowhill. Or the Eraserhood – whatever we’re calling the area just north of Chinatown this week). Well, I just so happened to be at Brick & Mortar Saturday night when they were showing their small screen debut on a big, pull down screen! It was pretty cool to see all the staff and other guests get excited about seeing the restaurant showcased on TV. While the menu blends Indian and other spices with rustic American cuisine, I opted for their burger – a patty topped with lettuce, onion, and your choice of cheddar or American cheese underneath a soft, snowflake roll (snowflake rolls are so hot right now!)

The burger came out slightly past my requested medium, but was still flavorful & juicy. It was a very well seasoned, hand-formed patty. The burger to bun ratio was perfect and the snowflake bun nice & soft, soaking up all the runoff. The hand cut fries were good and crispy, but the house-made ketchup was a little too sweet for my taste (it’s always hit or miss for me with house-made ketchup). I could have added a slice of Jersey tomato for an extra dollar (!??!) but I opted to save my pennies and spring for the Old Fashioned that’s tucked away behind the burger. With $10 cocktails, a great wine & beer list, and a super chill vibe with big comfy green mid-century booths, graffiti-ed walls, high ceilings and a long wooden bar – it’s the perfect neighborhood lounge for a “City of Neighborhoods“.

Burger rating: “C+”

A Rex-cellent burger

I’ve been meaning to get over to Rex 1516 for quite some time so I hopped in around the tail end of happy hour on a Friday night where, from 5-7 PM, they have some little bar bites for around $5. I decided to get a little cheese plate to start because cheese is delicious (duh!), but we all know I was really here to try their burger. The burger on their dinner menu has actually changed a bit since they opened; it’s currently in it’s 2nd incarnation – the previous version had onion marmalade, bacon and blue cheese – and actually, as of tomorrow (March 22nd) their Spring menu launches and will feature an all new burger topped with pimento cheese, red onion, bibb lettuce, bacon and the option to add a fried egg. (Oh great, now I have to come back and try another burger!? Kidding!)

The burger as it stands right now is an 8oz house grind, topped with pepper jack cheese, bread & butter pickles, bibb lettuce, beefsteak tomato, red onion and is tucked under a shiny brioche bun. I ordered it medium and it was cooked perfectly. The burger had a great flavor thanks to the pepper jack and was nice and juicy. I’d had a couple of burger misses lately, but this really hit the spot (And apparently I woofed it down so fast that I shocked the bartender!) My only complaint was the bread and butter pickles; they were tasty and fit in with the Southern theme of the restaurant, but I just didn’t care for them on my burger.

I also hung out for a while and had several cocktails. The atmosphere in the restaurant is very relaxed and cozy, with a nice bar and they were playing old movies on a big screen TV on the wall. The bartender, Sweet Lou, was really knowledgeable and made me a couple of fun, off-menu drinks which I really enjoyed, one of which was a Dutch Blood & Sand, made with fresh squeezed Blood Orange juice! (Top right corner in the photo below)

Clockwise from top left: Sage Advice, Dutch Blood & Sand, Rye & Amaro digestif cocktail and Pan’s Elemental.

So if you’re in the area, swing on by Rex1516, grab a burger and keep Sweet Lou company!

Burger rating: “B+”

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