Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Burger Challenge Round 6 - Oyster House

One of the best places for seafood in the city? Let's get burgers! Seriously, we kind of felt like jackasses ordering four burgers at a place known for their lobster rolls, oysters, fish, and crab cakes. But I had several recommendations to include this burger on the challenge list, so I decided to bear the strange looks from fellow diners and our server at our order. The great thing about Oyster House is that burgers are just one of the many things they do exceedingly well.

Easily one of the best happy hours in the city, this Sansom street bar is more popular than ever with the after work crowd. Running Monday through Friday 5-7pm and Saturday 9-11: $1 Buck-a-Shuck oysters, $3 drafts, $3 oyster shooters and $5 cocktails. The oysters alone are worth the trip. Beautiful, huge mollusks shucked right before your eyes at the raw bar, still cold and tasting of the sea, served with house made cocktail sauce and a light mignonette. At $12 for a dozen during happy hour, you might not even need to be seated for dinner.

James River oysters, Kenzinger beer

On to the main event though. The Oyster House "Oh Burger" - a grass fed beef patty, topped with melting blue cheese, a fried oyster and grilled onions.The bun is somewhere between whole wheat and brioche, lightly toasted and full-on tasty. No weak potato rolls here; this brioche picks up everything the burger is putting down. On the side are hand cut fries, perfectly crispy and slices of house-pickled cucumbers that had a faint hint of all-spice and, is that, ginger? Why yes, it is, confirms the server. Not a very classic pickle taste profile, but one of the best and most unique I've had, ever. They should serve these as a side in their own right. 

The Oh Burger was very, very good. Not Royal Tavern good, but definitely in the ballpark. The patty was formed perfectly - with no Dirk Diggler type bulge in the center - allowing it to cook evenly all the way across. Mine was actually cooked beyond what I ordered, so that there was almost no pink left, but it still tasted great. I'd love to give them another shot at it and see what medium tastes like. 

Oh Burger! 
The blue cheese was fantastic. Such an indulgent, rich taste to bring this burger up another level. The onions were super caramelized and sweet, fighting a losing battle to balance out the richness of the cheese. The fried oyster on top was barely noticeable - it's subtle flavor being more than overwhelmed by the strong tastes that make up the rest of the burger. I think this is more of a gimmick to make their burger unique, but it would have been better served raw on the half shell with some cocktail sauce.

At $14 the Oyster House burger falls right in the middle of the price scale. Add in the $1 oysters and $3 beers, and you've got one of the best values in center city dining. I will happily come back here to sample more of the seafood menu, devour a couple dozen Cape May Salts and get that perfect burger, cooked medium. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get in here.


Food Baby Rating: Triplets!

Oyster House
1516 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA
(215)  567-7683
Mon-Thurs 11:30-10om
Fri-Sat 11:30-11pm
Closed Sunday

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