after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Bobby’s Burger Palace: Hype Meets Hamburgers

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t says: Bobby Flay came to town, as k had foreshadowed and the end of our Ladder15 review.  He was opening up a new burger joint.  For $7-8, Bobby’s Burger Palace (BBP) promised some semi-fancy, semi-fast-food burgers that are made-to-order.  What makes them semi-fancy?  k already told you: unique topping combinations – not uber-fancy stuff like at Village Whiskey or Ladder15, just good stuff like avocado, bacon, hot peppers, etc.

g and cm were at work on the day that BBP was to open.  And you know … when g and cm are at work … t and k go and have adventures!  k absolutely had to catch a sight of the man, the myth, the legend … Bobby Flay.  Personally, I just wanted to taste me some good, cheap burgers (Ladder15 totally did me in with their over-the-top meat-and-fat-fest).

So, at 3pm, k and I cut out of work to head to West Philly for the opening.  This was actually k’s second attempt at visiting BBP – she’ll tell you more about that visit, her impressions of this visit, and her one-on-one encounter with Bobby later … after she and cm have had time to visit BBP multiple times (I’m far quicker to pass judgement … does that make me a bad person?) …

3/2010, Friday 3pm, Party of 2. So … I arrived at BBP before k and there’s a line.  A very long line … a very long line that extends out the door by about 20 people.  Fortunately, it was a nice day, so I stood and waited for k to arrive.  As I waited, I found that the line refused to move.  There was a BBP employee at the front of the line, so I imagined she was trying to hold us back so we wouldn’t mob the place?  After all, Bobby was inside (I saw him through the windows, shmoozing with the customers).  It became apparent that I wasn’t allowed to go inside … or at least … not if I waited in this line … When k arrived, I explained to her the situation and that we might not be able to make it during our lunch breaks.  Just then … the BBP employee disappeared, and then the whole line waiting outside shuffled into the restaurant … including us!  k has magical powers of non-verbal persuasion …

As we picked out our burgers, we saw him … Bobby.  And you know what … he’s skinnier in person that I imagined.  No, he’s not scrawny, but he’s not “normal American sized male” – he’s leaner, not super-tall, and has pretty highlights in his hair …  We didn’t get a chance to talk to him before we ordered, but we did talk about what k should say as an icebreaker.

I ordered a pistachio milkshake and the “Philly Burger”, which featured beef, hot peppers, provolone (my choice instead of cheese whiz).  Also, k and I ordered sweet potato fries to share.  We paid and were seated at the long curvy-counter – we kept a lookout for Bobby (but he was standing right behind us the entire time, talking to some older gentlemen in suits and ties).  My burger came first – it looked pretty good!  Not as fancy as pictured here, but for $8, who cares?  I saw a sesame bun, a burger topped with hot peppers and topped with melted cheese.  How’d it taste?  Not bad!  The peppers were actually hot!  No, they weren’t fancy hot peppers or anything, but they were still good.  The provolone could have been sharper (as is the style seen in Philadelphia cheese steaks) to compete with the heat.  The meat was cooked well-done instead of medium-well as I had ordered, but it was still juicy.

The sweet potato fries were very good.  They weren’t too sweet potato-y, which is a common flaw in sweet potato fries – they’re often just too sweet!  These were good.  The milkshake was also tasty but not what I was expecting.  I expected it to hit me in the mouth with pistachio – but it didn’t.  It was a sweet vanilla at first, later followed by a hint of pistachio.  The pistachio wasn’t as vivid as CapoGiro’s gelato, but it’s supposed to be a milkshake to go along with what you’re eating, so that might be excusable – and there really isn’t anything wrong with a pistachio-vanilla combo.  I’d get it again!

Overall, I was happy with the result.  How happy?  Well, if I got these at a real sit-down restaurant, I wouldn’t send it back, but I don’t think I’d come back, either.  However, at a fast-food-esque setting like BBP, I think it’d be a tough call between Chipotle and BBP – BBP might have an edge due to delicious milkshakes and not charging a whole extra $2 for adding guacamole to a  burrito (that’s outrageous!).  Of course, BBP has humungously long lines – so long that when I tried to take g there, we stepped out of line and went to Chipotle instead.  Actually – to be honest – I think BBP’s opening was the best thing to happen to Chipotle in a long time – there were several BBP menus scattered about in Chipotle, evidently from people who couldn’t wait for Bobby.  I will say that if I go back, I wouldn’t order the same thing again …  I’d go for chicken and either the Napa Valley Burger (crunchified) or the Sante Fe Burger, the plain fries, and the Black and White milkshake.  I think it’d be another satisfying meal.  But after that – I dunno – 500-degrees is a little closer to home … and we’ve never been!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

26 April 2010 at 10:14am

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