Room for Improvement

I’ve been spending a lot of time in South Philly lately. Oh, not on the restaurant & shop-filled promenade of East Passyunk Ave, but on the opposite side of Broad Street; the seemingly desolate area of the city known as South Philadelphia West. What’s even over there, you might ask? Well, it’s the slow start to what will hopefully be a new foodie paradise with places like the Mexican-Japanese fusion Cafe Con Chocolate, amazing Indonesian spot Sky Cafe and even a Vegan restaurant, Miss Rachel’s Pantry.

Also situated in the area is Taproom on 19th. While the spot was a long-time neighborhood institution, the recent introduction of new owners, a new chef, and a new look are helping bring craft beer and culinary delights to Girard Estate. I opted to stop by on a Monday night when their namesake Taproom burger is half-price all day: a LaFrieda Blend patty topped with butter lettuce, tomato, pickles, tap sauce, and your choice of cheese. On a previous trip, I had split the burger with my dining partner so I couldn’t take a full burger analysis. This time, I had the burger all to myself.

The burger came out with a nice presentation: ample sized patty, lots of pickles, non-brioche bun. Things started to go downhill from here. The bottom bun was hard as a rock. I’m not sure if it was just over-toasted, stale, or toasted to cover up the fact that it might have been stale; it really threw me off, especially since the top bun was fine. The meat was juicy and flavorful, as one can expect from quality meat like LaFrieda. However, the patty itself seemed to be all over the place. Ordered my usual medium, there were random spots of pink throughout instead of being consistently cooked. And while it started out thick as in the picture above, the back half of the patty seemed slightly smashed & thinned out, and began to fall apart inside the bun.

I was really disappointed since the first burger I had, while only half a patty, was rather enjoyable, well cooked, and didn’t fall apart at all as the full burger did. Maybe it was just an off night? I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt because I think the place is a great addition to the still up & coming neighborhood. Hopefully next time I stop in for a burger, I’ll find better consistency.

Burger rating: “C-”

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