Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Does TJs make the best burger?

(The Wasabi burger at TJs in Paoli, PA)
Main Line Dine recently took up the challenge to compare Paoli's TJs and Philadelphia's Village Whiskey at something they both do very well, make delicious burgers. The headline certainly caught my eye, especially considering TJs as "my local"...and, considering that Village Whiskey has been on my short list for what seems like forever. I've read countless articles about VW's burgers from the more "simple" to the more decadent (e.g. toppings like blue cheese, foie gras, bacon, and so on) and they've got me to the point of where I needs must--has anyone used that phrase in, like, 500 years?!--find myself to 20th and Sansom Streets as soon as possible. This article may finally have been the tipping point. Hooowwwever, it is an interesting and perhaps unlikely conversation to have...pitting Village Whiskey against TJs. My usual choice of burgers at TJs is ordered medium-rare and with wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella. I find that this burger has a wide range of beers that it will pair just nicely with, from the hoppy to the malty. I wander occasionally into the Boursin Burger and the Rauchbier Burger and enjoy them almost as much. The other night I finally gave into temptation and ordered up the Wasabi Burger. Cole Slaw and wasabi mayo on a burger always looked tempting from afar but never enough to pull the trigger and order it. Frankly, deep in conversation with tablemates while I was eating it, I don't recall what I was drinking at the time, but I do recall thinking something like: "hot diggety, another fine burger on the list here at TJs." Apart from the interesting toppings and the usual grilled-to-my-liking (by the way, I didn't mention, did I, that to work the grill at TJs, one must pass a test of preparing a burger perfectly to specification, including internal temperature; they demand consistency), I find that one of the most appealing things across all of these burgers on the menu is the LeBus brioche roll that houses the burger and all of its fine toppings. Reminds me of the early days of LeBus on Main Street in Manayunk...but that's sort of an unnecessary tangent at this point. Speaking of points, my final point was that this particular roll has enough substantive structure to keep everything together between the buns, gives just enough of a bready flavor to the sandwich, but then gets out of the way to let the meat and the toppings shine. Frankly, I don't know how bread does that, but this particular bread from LeBus on a TJs-made burger does just that. I think I've put in enough research at TJs with their burgers. Now, how about that dinner at Village Whiskey? How about you? Have you done a contrast and compare between the two?

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