Skeptics swooned when Snackbar’s Johnny Mac left to assume the head-chef position at Dan Clark’s recently opened UK inspired, Pub & Kitchen. I however, am a huge fan of the chef’s work and assumed that he could do no wrong, especially if he brought along the brussel sprouts.
There has been some scuttlebutt in the form of whispers and blog posts claiming that P&K is now offering the best burger in the city. Being a self-proclaimed authority on Philly burgers, I decided it was time to investigate these charges. The fabled ‘Windsor Burger’ is simply written on the menu with the sub-text ‘Pork belly and English cheddar’ and costs a somewhat average $12. I found the use of the term ‘pork belly’ to be strange, because typically in the UK, bacon is made from the side or back meat of the pig.
After settling in and choosing some local microbrews from the ten or so on draft, we ordered the burgers (one cooked to medium, the other medium-rare) and a side of onion rings. The food took about 15 minutes to arrive and the burger was presented in perfect open-faced fashion with bottom bun and patty covered with melted cheese and three strips of bacon, and the top bun with bibb lettuce, caramelized onions and tomato. The accompanying fries were fresh cut and seasoned, delicious but nothing to write home about.
Great presentation aside, the artistry of a perfect cheeseburger lies within the meat itself. The first bite reveals a flawlessly crafted patty, moist and fluffy and literally dripping with juices. We were slightly disappointed after realizing that both burgers were cooked a bit past the temperature we ordered (the medium-rare had only very little red) but the consistency and flavor of the natural, vegetarian fed cattle used just blew us away. Add the perfect crunch and saltiness of the pork belly, sweetness of the caramelized onions and soft, gooey cheddar and you will realize two bites in that this IS the best burger in Philly.
The onion rings were also some of the best I’ve ever tried, seemingly tempura battered, and knowing Johnny’s knack for a slightly eccentric spin, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. I definitely recommend getting over to Pub & Kitchen to take the challenge, and let me know in the comments if you think it’s the best burger in the city. The rest of the menu reads like a gastro tour de force, including Fish & Chips, Lobster BLT and Fried Chicken with biscuits and gravy. I’m thinking a return trip will be happening real soon.