After March’s meeting (at Grace Tavern) sponsored by Google Philly, it was a nice surprise to have another semi-sponsored event at Perch Pub. Located above the long-standing Italian-focused Varalli, we’ve never really considered Perch as a place to grab some eats- we’re glad we’ve been properly introduced now! For the meeting, they graciously offered all members a $5 discount on any of their burgers, AND allowed members who couldn’t make it to the Wednesday meet-up the same discount any other day that week (thanks, Perch!).
We were greeted by the hostess and led to the space reserved for the Club– a few tables located in the same general vicinity. Unlike at Grace, the set up didn’t encourage as much conversation and interaction between the entire group, but we made it work. The restaurant is perfectly situated for great views of Broad Street, and is displaced a bit from the busy bar at the other end of the room, giving us plenty of breathing space.
The waitress serving us was a little spacy, and while others commented on the great service they received from other servers, I thought she could have stepped it up a notch. Too much time elapsed between drink orders/bringing drinks/taking food orders– and considering we were all there for a burger, we really didn’t need much time to ponder the menu.
Their burger selection, in our opinion, is great– lots of interesting toppings as well as a rotating special. Four everyday options include the French (Gruyere/onions/arugula), the Wake and Bacon (fried egg/cheddar/bacon jam), the California Cobb (avocado/blue cheese/bacon), and the Vino (pesto/onions/goat cheese, all prepared in wine). The special of the day was topped wtih roasted red peppers and pancetta, again representing a creative mix of gourmet options. You can also construct your own with any of the above toppings of your choice.
A LOT of members chose the Wake and Bacon ($11)- probably the most popular choice. However, there were definitely mixed opinions on it. It should be noted that all of their burgers are generously portioned, with 8 ounces of quality beef (Steph noted that it was a LaFrieda mix) stacked high with toppings and served on a soft, fluffy sesame-studded brioche LeBus bun- making both of the most important components just right.
Thus, the burger experience came down to the toppings. The Wake and Bacon was a mess to eat, which was completely expected and actually kind of enjoyable. Put a fried egg on anything and you’ve pretty much got us sold- the rich egg yolk soaked into the meat and the bun was our favorite part. Unfortunately, the apple-smoked bacon jam, which sounds great in theory, was extremely salty and in my opinion, also too sweet, overwhelming the other flavors. There was also a layer of wilted lettuce at the bottom of the burger, which I thought for sure was an error in the kitchen, but apparently it’s not!
Many of the others who tried this burger had differing opinions– the lettuce didn’t weird them out, and the bacon jam wasn’t overwhelming. We wouldn’t say no if offered the chance to try it again!
Two things common to all of the burgers stood out to us– the bun and the side salad. The bun was perfect- brioche and beef are really meant for each other. For our second burger, the bun wasn’t quite big enough to contain all of the toppings, but many of the other burgers around us seemed better proportioned. The salad is a nice little mix of greens, carrots, tomatoes, and onions, which acts as a light balance to the burger. A little cup of sweet-and-sour pickle chips was also a fun addition, although the bread-and-butter variety is personally my least favorite.
Our second burger choice was the California Cobb ($12), which as mentioned was overflowing from its bun. My first ever burger ordered rare (eek!) came out perfectly cooked– plenty of pink (the waitress also stopped by to ensure each of our burgers was cooked to our preference). The meat is well-packed and obviously of good quality, but was a bit underseasoned. The combination of flavors and textures on the Cobb were superb- a blue cheese dressing, pecan-smoked bacon (so fancy!), spicy arugula, a thick slice of fresh tomato, and the best part, huge chunks of soft avocado. Again, put avocado on anything and I will eat it– Perch Pub certainly knows how to reel you in with all your favorite comfort foods… on a burger.
For those who weren’t enamored with the side of greens, you can upgrade to a side of fries or onion rings (which are a favorite of reviewers on Yelp) for an extra $1.50. We didn’t try these bad boys but we did get a good look. Some commented that the breading to onion ratio was a bit low- a thinner cut on the onion would have been better- but enjoyable none the less.
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