Friday, September 25, 2009

Butcher & Singer : Philadelphia

After trying out the burgers at Rouge 98, Monk's, Good Dog and the now-gone Loie Bistro, I was curious to try out the Butcher & Singer burger, especially while they were running their $5.95 burger lunch special.

We ended up going on the last day that they were running the special. I will note that the continuing price is still fairly affordable at $9.95.

I get that it's a bad economy and Starr probably wanted to attract new business. I also get that this may have been in response to a challenge from Tommy Up.

But it was rather jarring seeing the prices of the other entrees in comparison to the burger. Also some of the very casually dressed customers (one young lady in particular came in a revealing tank top and incredibly short denim shorts), who I can only assume were attracted to the burger special, seemed at odds with the business crowd, who I assumed were the regulars.

As for the burger itself, it was pretty solid. There's a wonderful initial burst of juices when you first bite into it. Like the Rouge burger, the thing is pretty tall and the trick to eating it was to squish down hard on the burger and simultaneously unhinge my jaw. (Seriously, what the hell is up with these huge vertical burgers - have the chefs not tried eating these things themselves or do they just have gigantic mouths?) Unlike the Rouge burger, however, in which the beef is the central flavor, the main taste was mostly that of mushrooms and some of the pickle and lettuce. The beef, bun, cheese, tomato played a far secondary role. In terms of texture, it's somewhat of a loose patty, a bit of the granularity of the ground beef coming through, but it doesn't fall apart. While I'm on topic of the patty, despite asking for it medium rare, there was very little of the pinkness in the center.

The fries didn't really do much for me, it being surprisingly unsalted and very well potatoey/starchy in flavor.

I also got a Sidecar, feeling a bit bad just for getting $6 burgers, which I enjoyed, but won't go into detail, since I'm nowhere close to being capable of critiquing a mixed drink.

I should note that luck of the seating process had us sitting next to a couple of college aged kids, one of whom was somewhat loudly and passive aggressively critiquing *our* dining choices. In all fairness, he ordered more than just the burger, but I distinctly remembered an old Chowhound thread, complaining about loud obnoxious youths at the revamped Le Bec Fin and now better understanding where old crotchety folk get their frustrations from.

Anyhow, Butcher & Singer has a quite lovely space, its high ceilings, reminiscent of old banks and its decor and drinks matching its 1920's Prohibition steak house image aims. And if the quality of the burger is any indication, if I had the money and time, I wouldn't mind returning to try out their steak.

In the meantime, I like burgers that emphasize the beef flavor and thusly prefer the Rouge burger and even the Good Dog traditional burger over this one. But that's not to detract from the quality of this burger, with its burst of juices. It's a steal for $6 and certainly still a good value for $10.

Butcher & Singer
1500 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19102 (Map)
(215) 732-4444‎
($Burgers / Hot Dogs, $Philadelphia, $Steak)

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