Thursday, August 25, 2016

Split Rail Tavern

15 N Walnut Street
West Chester, PA 19380
(484) 999-8805

Split Rail is a good place to stop in West Chester for a decent beer selection, and so I decided to try the "Split Rail Commonwealth Burger" that was talked up by the bartenders the last couple of visits I made.

On the menu, it had all of the right components. "All burgers are 6oz Dutch Meadow Farms 100% Organic Grass-fed Beef accompanied by a Russian dressing, shredded lettuce, tomato, red onion, choice of sharp cheddar, American or Swiss, a spicy pickle and house-cut french fries, served on a Big Marty's sesame seed bun." Sounds like a high-end fast food burger to me. Lovely. I ordered it with sharp cheddar, and caramelized onions ($1.50 up-charge on the onions). Which put it at $13.50. Still, when it arrived, it looked quite good, and the fries were tantalizingly golden brown.

The problem with the burger was flavor. It was bland city, the burger meat tasted like watery beef juice that had never heard of salt (and there was a hair on my vegetable toppings served on the side). The hair, well that sometimes happens, but the woeful under-seasoning, that should never happen.

I really wanted this to be awesome, look how good it looks, and is a nice medium (strong medium) which was close enough (I guess) to the medium rare I ordered so as not to offend. But I truly tasted nothing. I asked a dining mate to try it (having given no indication of my thoughts), and the immediate response- "wow, that is incredibly bland" followed by- "is that a hair?". I have been back and tried it again to be sure it was not a one off experience. And it was the same conclusion. Great components, poor execution.

Not to mention the unexpectedly dry bun. Usually these babies are soft and supple, but this bad boy was D-R-Y and crunchy, but not because it may have been toasted (it wasn't), it was stale. Even if the burger had come out medium rare and potentially dripping with jus, the crumbly bun still would have been noticeable.

The fries were the saving grace (I think they mistakenly used the burger salt on THEM). Perfectly fried, nicely seasoned, and pillowy inside, I loved them. Next time I would steer away from the burger, but perhaps try something else that was accompanied by these crispy potato dreams. That is if I venture back during dining time.

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