after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Posts Tagged ‘Burgers

Devil’s Alley: Why So Many Fans?

leave a comment »

t says: When we originally heard that Garces’s new Village Whiskey was “the” place to get a burger in Philadelphia (supposedly trumping Grace Tavern, which is well-known for their burgers), we were excited to try it.  Unfortunately, on one of our earlier attempts, we were dissuaded by the hour wait.  So we put our name on their list and started looking around for ‘other’ burgers and ended up at Devil’s Alley.  Neither of us could remember who it was that told us that they had great food despite being a bar, but if “we heard good things”, then surely it’d be a safe place to order some burgers.  We were mistaken.

11/2009, Friday Dinner, Party of 2.  We were seated without a wait, so we figured that it wasn’t that busy.  However, in retrospect, maybe it was a ridiculously busy (is there ever a Friday night that’s not busy?), because the service was nearly non-existant and abysmal when present (e.g. messed up order, a long wait to get her attention to correct the problem, a longer wait for the correction to occur, and another party of 2 was brought over to our table even before we had finished standing up to put on our coats to leave).

The food was either mediocre (g’s burger was “fine, but a little dry”; it reminded me of the standard overcooked burgers I ate at home bbq’s in my youth) or bad (turkey burger was dry and insipid – I’ve honestly had better in a hospital cafeteria – seriously – no hyperbole).  At least the fries were crispy.

After I told others of my experience at Devil’s Alley, they informed me that I didn’t order any of the “creative dishes” (?something about a PB&J?).  Well, now here’s the quandry – do we risk going back for a second try?  Maybe we should try out non-Friday, non-dinner time?  But at these times, it’d also be easier to get into all of those “other” restaurants we want to try (or at least the ones we’ve had good experiences at).  I guess maybe if some of our friends wanted to go, we’d give it a whirl – good company makes up for bad food/service any time …

Sadly, after we had already returned to our apartment, some 2+ hours after we had originally tried our luck at Village Whiskey, they called to tell us that they had a table ready.  Unfortunately, we were full on not delicious food …

Written by afterdinnersneeze

21 February 2010 at 11:32pm

Bold Flay-vors Coming to Philly

leave a comment »

t says: Some people love Bobby Flay.  Some people love to hate Bobby Flay (often referencing the epic Morimoto vs. Flay battle on the original Iron Chef).  Regardless of which you are, surely you’d be interested in the spring opening of Bobby’s Burger Palace in West Philly.  As a Flay-hater, I know that I’ll definitely go and try one of these burgers in the hopes that it will single-handedly change my mind about him.  Additionally, surely my patronage will make up for all of those hurtful, sarcastic comments I’ve made about him over the years (e.g. I’m sure that “what these burgers lack in appearance, they’ll make up for in flavor”).  But, if/when the flavor doesn’t make up for it, I’ll just have to comfort myself by writing a scathing review (and visiting Capogiro that’s right around the corner … you know … the one that serves gelato and alcohol – why aren’t there more of these?) …

P.S. Yes, I do love that Tony Luke beat him in the cheesesteak throwdown and that Morimoto beat him in the recent Iron Chef America battle.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

17 February 2010 at 10:16pm

Village Whiskey: Best Fries in the City?

leave a comment »

g says:  After months of trying to find a time when there was not a 2 hour wait at Jose Garces’ latest venture, we finally made our way there for lunch today– we were at the bar, but we still made it! At last, we would be able to taste for ourselves the storied burgers and duck fat fries, and even try a little whiskey.

We were surprised by how narrow the place is; I guess it seemed larger from the outside in warmer months when they have outdoor seating to accommodate the throngs of folks wanting to check out how the newest Iron Chef makes a burger. But no matter, we were in and not moving until our mission was accomplished.

To drink, we shared  a classic old fashioned, which was refreshing and had a nice balance of bitter/sweet. For our lunch, we split the following: deviled eggs, Village Burger with cheddar and caramelized onions, and short rib and cheddar fries.

Our deviled eggs were decent — unlike any that I have experienced before, as they seemed to include chopped pickles in the filling. I did feel that the batch served to us were oversalted, so not the best I have eaten. But, I am a bit of a deviled egg snob, so I wouldn’t discourage anyone from trying them out for his or herself at some point.

The Village Burger is aptly named, as this thing could have fed an entire village. The couple seated to my left actually exclaimed when they received theirs, “This is the biggest burger I’ve ever seen!” Luckily, we saw a few come out of the kitchen before ordering so we knew that splitting one between us would be just right for us. Our medium burger was cooked nicely, and definitely made it into my top 5 list of best burgers ever. I know that t is still talking about that Supper burger from a few months ago, but I feel that is an unfair comparison, as that was a brisket burger, and the Village Burger was made of a ground beef more familiar to my classic burger taste.

The short rib and cheddar fries were delicious! See further comments by t below.

The verdict — I would absolutely come back, especially with friends who have not been before (and I will have to make up for the fact that we went without my mom. Sorry, Mom — I promise to make it up to you). Every once in a while I have a classic burger craving, which I believe VW could handily satisfy on any day. However, I think that I would more frequently come in just for the short rib fries, some dessert (the three on their menu sounded incredible, though we were both far too full to try) and a drink. It made for an amazing Saturday afternoon, and I was really pleased with our lunch as a whole.

t says:  2/2010, Saturday Lunch, Party of 2 [at the extension of the bar, facing a wall].  Yes, it was time to experience what the infamous food critic Craig Laban (of the Philadelphia Inquirer) claims is the best burger in Philadelphia.  Now, g and I are not huge burger eaters, so we don’t [yet] have a huge repertoire with which to compare/contrast the food at Village Whiskey – but we have had one remarkable burger (and deviled eggs and fries) at Supper on South Street.  Given my competitive nature (thanks, mom), it should not surprise you that I [not so] secretly modeled our selections to mirror what Supper had offered.

While I completely agree with g’s description of the burger and eggs, in the end, someone has to be the bad cop; I’m the bad cop.  My conclusion: VW’s burger just can’t compete with the sheer flavor and texture of Supper’s burger (VW’s was a little “crumbly”).  Personally, I also preferred Supper’s outside-the-box deviled eggs (we STILL put Sriracha sauce in our deviled eggs) to VW’s take (I’m not a huge fan of dill/pickle).  Keep in mind that while I praise Supper here, our dinner there wasn’t flawless, either (you can see my critical analysis in the page “Oh the places we’ve gone”).

We also had VW’s short rib cheddar fries.  They were amazing (why didn’t -I- think of such a dish – I love short rib!).  I feel that they were the saving grace of the meal (not that the rest of the meal was bad – it was quite good – it just didn’t blow me away).  The short rib and cheddar fries were served to our [tiny] counter next in a hot Staub cast iron platter.  It looked amazing: big, beautiful chunks of tender short rib among well-cheesed (i.e. not just on top), golden fries.  The meat was tasty, and the cheese wasn’t overwhelming.  The contrasting textures between the cheese, short rib, and potato was fantastic – this was no puddle of mush.  I don’t think I’ve seen fries prepared with short rib before, and the result was the most delicious homage to potato that I have ever encountered.  That said, an order of these fries is substantial enough to stand alone – this ain’t no side dish.

Finally, I do want to mention that after eating 3 deviled egg halves, 1 burger, and 1 dish of fries (and that old-fashioned), g and I were stuffed from 2pm all the way until 9:30pm.  I was uncomfortably stuffed for at least 3 hours, and by our 9:30 reservation at Sampan (see our review for details of that meal), I still wasn’t starving.  So my advice is don’t be fooled by this gourmet “burger joint” – it’s easy to get full.

Written by afterdinnersneeze

14 February 2010 at 9:26pm