Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Philly Steakhouse on the Cheap- Butcher and Singer's burger deal
So, I know that I have been a shitty blogger for the last two weeks, but the move, coupled with 50 gallons of water in our basement in the first 6 days (that little gem was not in the sellers disclosure) has not awarded me the opportunity to post. I am, however, back to it today. A lot has happened in the last two weeks, so I have some good ammo for the next 10 posts.
I will start with this: Last week I heard something that I was not inclined to believe. Then I remembered a strange trend. Philly restaurants have been loosing revenue with each passing day. Some of the finer restaurants are resorting to gimmicks like Le Bec Fin "pay what you think the meal is worth if you get there before 4:00PM or something close." So, when I heard that Steven Starr's Butcher and Singer steakhouse was selling their 10 oz. burger (previously at $16) for a mere $5.99 at lunch, I said "shenanigans." I was wrong. I went for lunch and indeed devoured that burger, had an iced tea, and had a total bill of less than ten dollars. You can't get a sniff of burger in other top-end Philly steakhouses for $6.
I know what you’re thinking: this isn't the same burger that would be $16. Now I cannot speak to the quality of the $16 version of the burger, cause lets face it, what burger is worth $16? (Ok, I admit I have spent more than that on a burger, but it has fois gras and caviar on it.) What I can tell you is that this particular burger, the $5.99 version, was good. Notice I did not say great or outstanding, just good.
First off, both the guest I dined with and I ordered the burger. So did almost every other person at the restaurant that day, and the place was packed. I would estimate, from my days on the grill at a busy steakhouse, that the person on the meat station was doing 90% of the cooking, probably putting out 3 burgers a minute. This makes it almost impossible to ensure that each person gets the correct temperature meat. I ordered my burger medium rare to medium, but received a well done piece of ground meat that was hovering on hockey puck. My guest ordered medium well and likewise got well done. (Most foodies will agree that a little blood is a prerequisite to a "great" or "outstanding" rating for a burger.) The overdone meat aside, the burger was surprisingly juicy and tasty.
This brings me to the second issue, and one of paramount importance. The fried onions on top of the burger were so oily and grease ridden that the bun, which was unremarkable in itself, was coated with a healthy amount of grease, making the burger near impossible to eat. I felt bad, but the cloth napkin I was given was destroyed by the end of the meal. When I go back, I believe today actually, I will order mine without the fried onions, which actually did not add much to the burger to begin with.
The other accoutrements were fine. Pickles, lettuce, tomato, and a sauce, an emulsion of some sort (the damn burger was so messy that I didn’t dare take it apart to examine its individual components), were nicely complimented with a hunk of melted English Cheddar cheese. The fries were tasty, but not as crispy as I had hoped. (There is nothing in the WORLD worse than a soggy fry.) Overall, the burger was 7 out of 10 for me. The taste was great, the eatability (new word) was very low, and the fries were pretty good. The price, however, was outstanding. I am under the impression that the deal is for a limited time only, so if you are looking for a lunch spot, 15th and Walnut is the place to be. But make a reservation, cause it will be packed with 150 other people who are all ordering this cheap, well-worth it burger.