Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spot Burger

33rd and Arch
Philadelphia, Pa

Well it's kind of unfair to follow the Shake Shack post with another burger post. But, I have been hearing lots about Spot Burger, a unique cart that boasts burgers with freshly butchered and ground sirloin beef. Although it's usually at 33rd and Arch Monday thru Friday, they travel for special events.

It's a two person operation, with one guy in the kitchen and one working the "front of the house" and taking orders and money.

Everything is made fresh, from slicing avocado off of the pit, to par-frying their fries, and then finishing them when ordered, to order.

I went with a Spot Burger, a Santa Fe burger, and an order of cheese fries. As they were at a "special event" I guess they jacked their prices. Which is kind of understandable, and also kind of bullshit. I mean, the 'event' was the Frankford Hall Beer Week closing festival, and they happened to be about a block north of the gate. See here for the regular menu prices. I paid $8 per burger, and $4 for cheese fries. Which is pricy for a food truck, in my opinion.

See below for the Spot Burger. Now, I am not sure if the lines got crossed or what, but the Santa Fe was advertised as coming with Tapatio hot sauce, while the Spot Burger was supposed to come with Spot sauce. Unless Spot Sauce is also Tapatio, I am pretty sure I got Tapatio on both.

Anyway, the Spot Burger came with bacon, cheddar, dill pickle chips, coleslaw, and Spot Sauce. It was cooked to medium, which was fine (though ordered medium rare), but the issue was that the bacon and cheddar pulled a disappearing act. I had no idea they were even on there, as the main events were hot sauce, pickle, and slaw.

When the burger was almost gone, a piece of bacon fell out. It tasted just fine, but was non-existent in the main event.

Next up was the Santa Fe burger. This variation boasted lettuce, onion, avocado, sun-dried tomato, jalapeno, my old friend Tapatio, and pepper jack cheese. Again, for $6 this would not have been a bad burger, but $8 was pushing it.

This burger was much more enjoyable than the first. Although the bread was too big, the ingredients came together nicely. Of course, I am a sucker for Tex-Mex, so it's no surprise.

The cheese fries were freshly fried and had a great clean-fry flavor. I would have prefered them to be crispy, but they were still pretty tasty. Not to mention they were served with these awesome wooden toothpick/fork hybrids that brought me back to the chip wagons of my youth (I also noted the use of same said stick in Shake Shack's cheese fries).

The guys who run this truck are really great. They have a commitment to freshness, and quality. I need to try this place again on a regular weekday when they have their normal menu and are putting out their best work. There is a lot of potential here, it's just too bad their Fishtown mark-ups really threw me for a loop.


jamie said...

I appreciate your honesty in this review!

Unknown said...

Sorry your experience was mediocre. Perhaps I can shed a little light. As for the, "bullshit" price point. Often times when a food truck is at an event, the vendor is charged a fee or percent of sale to vend at the event. Producing a quality product and keeping the price-point/food cost low is a challenge enough. Factoring in a "fee" and hoping the event pays off is a risk. Take a stroll through any of the Night Market events. There you'll see either higher prices, or smaller portions.
As for the med-rare. When meat is resting it is known to still be 'cooking.' Most burger joints will use fatty ground beef that hold very little residual heat, thus a med-rare most likely will still be med-rare. With single-cut ground beef, like sirloin, (containing less fat), the meat will still retain residual heat,(especially if wrapped to go).
"crispy" fries. I too enjoy a good crispy fry, unfortunately, fresh cut fries are more starchy than processed, frozen or mass produced french fry potatoes. They will get soggy, especially when DRENCHED in whiz. Boardwalk fries are not soggy because of the moist ocean mist.
As for the SPOT burger, SPOT sauce, and bacon; there is where the fuck-up is. I check the ticket, it read "tapatio" under SPOT burger. Was the order placed that way or did my front man misinterpret the order? The bacon part baffles me. I usually put 3 strips of bacon on every burger.
Look man, I really wish your experience at SPOT was better than it was. I hope you come visit us at
33rd & ARch and let us make it up to you.