Friday, March 26, 2010


1504 Sansom St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 568-5000

Well, there is a new burger joint in town, run by the owners of Rouge, and it's all the rage. How does it stack up? Even taking into consideration that it hasn't been open long, they need to step up their game. Talk is that the burgers are supposedly a miniature version of the Rouge burger. I have had the Rouge burger, however, and it's way above what 500º has to offer. The line is out the door at this place, which really doesn't mean anything in a city of lunchtime suburbanite commuters (no offense to anyone, but I mean people will stand twenty deep in line for some of the carts that are just plain gross). So the burgers are 5.5 ounces, and grilled to order. Well, in theory they are. In my opinion, if a place makes a big deal about the temperature at which you order your burger, it should be two things: consistent and spot on. Neither were the case.

The 500 burger has bibb lettuce, tomato, cheddar, bacon & special house sauce. The sauce is served on the side. Which is annoying to me, because I then have to attempt to pick up my medium rare burger and smear sauce on it, when it should be ready to go straight from the wrapper. The pickles were also on the side. Hmm. Anyway, while the brioche buns were certainly a delight, they make the burger patty seem, well, small. It was also a bit dry. The ingredients were pretty much lost in the bun, and didn't really have much flavor going on. I was disappointed. What's more, the burger was strangely cooked. They recommend medium rare, and I obliged, but it was a heavy handed medium, and the bottom third was the only pink part. I think they left it on too long after the initial flip. It was strange seeing only a third of the burger pink. It SHOULD have been that eighty percent of the inside was pink to red. The additional toppings (I had the works: mushrooms, jalapenos, and sauteed red onions) were pretty much a waste. The jalapeno gave a flicker of heat, but basically contributed to the overall mediocrity of the burger. The additional 500 burger purchased was ordered medium rare and came out a charred well done. Nothing will ruin a true burger lover's appetite more quickly and effectively than a dry hockey puck on too much bread. The tomato (I know this is not the season, but it's do-it-well or don't-do-it-at-all in my book) was mealy, and flat. Overall, I was pretty disappointed, and I had such high hopes. They may come around when they get all of the kinks worked out, and I will certainly give them another try, but they are by no means cheap, and they really need to figure out those consistency issues in the kitchen. All of that being said, there was still some good to come of it...

Below you will see the truffle oil fries. These were no joke. Although they were cold from sitting while the burgers were being over cooked, they smelled incredible, and were some of my favorite fries I have eaten in a while. They had a nice, thin, crispy crunch, and the truffle oil was addictively earthy. The spicy fries, not so much. They were the same fries, shaken with old bay. Come on now, it's Center City in 2010, not Chickie and Pete's in the nineties. I guess it works for some people, but for me, it just doesn't cut it. I would definitely eat the truffle fries again, given the opportunity, and that might become a reality, as they are apparently going to be open until 3am on the weekends. I also tried the black and white shake, but it was just okay. Definitely won't be taking the shake throne anytime soon.

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