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burgers in Philly

panoz Aug 13, 2008 12:39 PM

I'm going to make my first trip to Philly and one of the many things that I'm on the lookout whenever going to a new city is burgers. I often consult an old list that was on GQ magazine "The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die" by Alan Richman. I've had some great successes in some cities (NY and Seattle) and not so much in others (LA). Philly has two on this list the Kobe Sliders from Barclay Prime and the Rouge Burger from Rouge.

I normally scoff at kobe burgers, because kobe (or wagu) is raised to be tender, fatty cuts of meat - much of this effort is wasted when ground up and cooked and most of the fat dripping out.

So that leaves Rouge. I realize that it costs about $16. How is it? How does it compare with other local places?

  1. j
    Jbird35 Aug 19, 2008 05:30 AM

    I like the Southwestern turkey burger at Race St. Cafe. It used to be on special a couple days a week. Now, I don't know how often it is offered since we moved away from the neighborhood.

    1. Chinon00 Aug 18, 2008 07:29 PM

      That's funny, I've visited both Monks and Grace Tavern hundreds of time and appreciate them both for beer, food and vibe.

      1. b
        bananafishes Aug 18, 2008 05:14 AM

        Personally, I don't see any point in a kobe burger, but that's just me. My favorite burgers in Philly:
        Monk's --but Monk's gets so obnoxious and crowded. Solution? Go to Nodding Head a few blocks away. It's owned by the same people, has the same exact burger and is a lot less difficult to get seated.
        Good Dog -- Do they still do that great "wrapping the cheese in the meat" thing? It's been a little bit since I've been, but if they still do that, it's awesome.
        Marathon Grill--not for the beef burger, but for their salmon burger.

        I guess with Rouge you get the chance to sit on the sidewalk with the Rittenhouse crowd, but is that worth $16?

        4 Replies
        1. re: bananafishes
          Chinon00 Aug 18, 2008 07:09 AM

          Monk's and Nodding Head have the same owners? Tom Peters and "Fergie" own Nodding Head?

          1. re: Chinon00
            Boognish Aug 18, 2008 07:44 AM

            They used to. Not sure what the current situation is.

            1. re: Boognish
              cwdonald Aug 18, 2008 07:48 AM

              They still do, as well as the newer Belgian Cafe and Grace Tavern.

            2. re: Chinon00
              EastCoastWineMan Aug 18, 2008 09:33 AM

              they are partners

          2. e
            EastCoastWineMan Aug 15, 2008 09:42 AM

            i had a burger Aspen (25th and Aspen) in fairmount last nite and found it to be very satisfying. Bacon, Bleu, caramelized onions...lots going on but was really good....i'm tried of hearing about good dog...i don't think that burger is all that good.....its such an arbitrary thing anyway

            7 Replies
            1. re: EastCoastWineMan
              Chinon00 Aug 15, 2008 09:54 AM

              "....i'm tried of hearing about good dog...i don't think that burger is all that good"

              State your case.

              1. re: Chinon00
                GianniB Aug 15, 2008 10:26 AM

                I'm from out of town and went to Rouge yesterday, making my way around the aforementioned 20 you must try...It was great, juicy, good bun integrety (sp?), cooked perfect MR. Good fries,although would have liked them a bit more done.

                All in all good, but not the best ever by a long shot.

                1. re: Chinon00
                  PattiCakes Aug 15, 2008 11:00 AM

                  As with everything, it's a matter of taste. Name your benchmark burger in Philly-- the one you measure others against.

                  1. re: PattiCakes
                    Chinon00 Aug 15, 2008 04:14 PM

                    My only point was that much of the Philadelphia burger eating community agrees that Good Dog serves and outstanding burger. So when EastCoastWineman begs to differ it is necessary for him to offer an explanation as to why (as I see it). We don't have to agree but again an explanation would be kind of him.

                    1. re: Chinon00
                      EastCoastWineMan Aug 15, 2008 11:21 PM

                      keep your pants of Chinon00. Is it a good burger...yes, of course. Is it usually refered to as the benchmark in Philadelphia...yes, recently...although Rouge held the benchmark up until recently.

                      I have always felt that burgers, much more than cheesesteaks in some way, are a very arbitrary food item. Maybe it's due to the endless combination of toppings, the thickness, the different forms and combinations of meat that could be used. All that aside...good dogs burger is a bit of a novelty...of five times I have had it, which in my opinion is enough to have a good idea of the consistency, it has been cooked over my desired temp. This in my opinion is that first cardinal sin of a good burger. If it's not medium and that the way i like it, its a turn off. Anyone can stuff a burger with cheese....but cook it to my desired medium temperature.

                      I have burgers that have been on par with Good dogs at the Dark Horse, Smith and Wollensky, Aspen (as recently mentioned), Moriarty's and Public House (pre english muffin, which I just don't get), and Grace Tavern.

                      Here's my beef, pardon the pun, with Good Dog lovers....many of these threads read as though if you don't have a burger at Good Dog then you are wasting your time.....thats ridiculous....its a burger....

                      Do yourself a favor...go to Grace or The Black Sheep or even go to the supermarket and buy some good ground beef, caramelize some onions, some good bleu cheese and stop at a good bakery and buy a nice brioche bun....Good Dog is not the best...their is no best.....try different spots.....you might even find something better than a burger

                      1. re: EastCoastWineMan
                        Chinon00 Aug 16, 2008 05:08 AM

                        If I'm reading you correctly then I think we just appreciate burgers differently. For you there is no "benchmark" burger. But for me and others the idea of a benchmark does exist (and we debate our opinions of which one that is while never having to agree).


                        1. re: EastCoastWineMan
                          Major504 Aug 16, 2008 05:12 AM

                          "many of these threads read as though..."

                          That's how YOU read them, and that may very well be their opinion. The thread is about where to get a good burger, so your instructions on how to build one ourselves are unnecessary. And yes, we may find something better than a burger, and if we do we promise to put up a post about it...just not under the "BURGERS in Philly" thread.

                          Moriarty's and Standard tap make good burgers....I think Monk's is the most overrated burger in town.

                2. Chinon00 Aug 15, 2008 09:41 AM

                  1) Good dog (Center City)
                  2) Royal Tavern (South Philly)
                  2a) Standard tap (No. Lib)

                  1. crispycar Aug 15, 2008 08:42 AM

                    How about Monk's? I will admit that it has been a few years since i was there, but their burger made a lasting impression on me. Besides, all of that wonderful beer only enhances the burger experience!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: crispycar
                      smackdown Aug 15, 2008 09:19 AM

                      I do enjoy the Monk's burger (just had one a few days ago) but I have to say that the bread/bun of the Monk's burger is just way too big for the patty itself. You have this modest/regular size burger and then a huge roll so a lot of the time I feel you are eating bread.
                      Good Dog has a fantastic burger - I think most people agree it's one of the best, if not the best, in the city.

                      1. re: smackdown
                        PattiCakes Aug 15, 2008 09:40 AM

                        I love the bun at Good Dog. A little like a brioche, and fits the burger exactly -- just enough there to soak up the juices and provide something to grip the burger, but not intrusive or overwhelming at all. Their burger has been voted/named best in Philly many times. I could pick at their sweet potato fries with aioli all day long. Like I said before, though: be prepared to get stuff dribbling down your chin and on your shirt. This is one juicey burger!

                      2. re: crispycar
                        hollyd Aug 15, 2008 09:35 AM

                        I like the Monk's burger but the people there are such jerks, I end up never wanting to go.

                      3. j
                        jl0328 Aug 14, 2008 01:13 PM

                        Definitely Good Dog!

                        1. s
                          SpdRcr069 Aug 14, 2008 11:58 AM

                          Sketch Burger and Shake Joint

                          413 E Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA.
                          (Next to DiPinto's Guitar Shop and across from the Canvas Coffee Company and Cafe - Girard and Columbia Aves).

                          It's small has 3 or 4 tables that can comfortably fit 4 adults and they have high stool counter along the side wall. Definately the best burger around...really juicy beef burgers, Wagyu/ "American Kobe", vegan burgers, grilled chicken sandwiches...

                          (Sorry Standard Tap...I still love you but these burgers are really good). They come with a variety of sauces (Aioli, wasabi mayo, and spicythai peanut). The shakes (dairy - chocolate, vanilla, coffee and I think strawberry...Vegan/soy: Chocolate, vanilla and raspberry, coffee).

                          Standard Tap - 2nd and Poplar (winner of 2008 Best of Philly -Gastropub and best Bartender Ron Johnson)

                          Great Standard Burger (cheese, lettuce tomato, saute'd mushrrom and onions) can order w/ toppings. The Double Standard which has extra meat). comes with the Standard Fries.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SpdRcr069
                            rabidog Aug 18, 2008 09:46 AM

                            never thought i'd find myself commenting on a burger thread. :)

                            but for what it's worth, we went to sketch yesterday and had a seitan burger, of sorts. it was good, but i could really do with some fries!!

                            still, the place is way cute and worth checking out. very colorful and the service is friendly.

                          2. hollyd Aug 14, 2008 10:23 AM

                            My bf had the Rouge burger and liked it just fine, but he's never raved about it to anyone. St. Stephen's Green has a good burger. As does Standard Tap. But nobody beats the Good Dog burger.

                            1. o
                              outsidein Aug 14, 2008 09:29 AM

                              I haven't tried it yet, but seems many are enjoying this place on the northern edge of northern liberties.


                              1. b
                                Buckethead Aug 13, 2008 12:55 PM

                                The Rouge burger is not bad, but it's not worth $16 and it wouldn't even be the best burger in that area if it cost half that. I have no idea why it keeps getting mentioned in national magazines. The burger at the Good Dog (15th and Sansom, approximately) is fantastic, and so are the fries that come with it. It's cheaper, too.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Buckethead
                                  PattiCakes Aug 14, 2008 08:11 AM

                                  Don't miss Good Dog. Wear a shirt that conceals stains & be prepared to enjoy. http://www.gooddogbar.com/

                                2. j
                                  jimc Aug 13, 2008 12:51 PM

                                  A little over a year ago the local food critic went burger hunting.


                                  I've never been to Rouge but I do like the one at Good dog Bar.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jimc
                                    SouthPhillyFoodie Aug 13, 2008 12:56 PM


                                    I have a burger list that I put together for national burger month (May) - hope this helps...also, I just had the Blue Pig burger at South Philly Tap Room made from wild boar, wild boar bacon and gorgonzola -- it was delicious!!!

                                    Amada – www.amadarestaurant.com – served at lunch only
                                    8oz. Black Angus Burger, Tomato Escabeche,
                                    Guindilla Aioli & Manchego Cheese on
                                    Homemade Brioche, Truffle Fries

                                    White Dog Cafe – www.whitedog.com
                                    Grilled Organic Portobello "Burger"- served on the bar menu only
                                    White Dog Special Sauce, farm lettuce, Amish cheese, dill pickle, grilled onions on a house-made bun with hand cut chips.

                                    London Grill – www.londongrill.com
                                    The London Burger, served on a Toasted English Muffin with 2 toppings - American, Cheddar, Provolone, Boursin, Brie, Blue Cheese, Swiss, Sour Cream, Roasted Peppers, Bacon, Caramelized Onion, Lettuce & Tomato, Raw Onion, Avocado, Caviar

                                    Fork – www.forkrestaurant.com
                                    Grilled Sirloin Hamburger on Brioche Roll with sautéed red peppers, onions and manchego cheese with crispy fries.

                                    XIX Bar at the Park Hyatt at the Bellevue – www.ninteenrestaurant.com

                                    blue cheese, A-1 potted onions $4

                                    Oyster “Po-Boy”
                                    lettuce, tomato, remoulade sauce $4

                                    Crab Cake
                                    pepper jam, tarragon mayonnaise $4

                                    Roasted Pork Belly
                                    coleslaw, grain mustard sauce $4

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